Bored with Ishikawa life? Need a little… zing? A little something that you can’t do anywhere else in the world? Like, perhaps seeing an all female musical theatre troupe?
Well, if I’m judging your feelings, which I cannot but assume I am, I have exciting news! There just happens to be an all female musical theatre troupe, and it’s not too far off!
Takarazuka started in 1914 as a way for the Hankyu Line (the cheap, other train line in Kansai) to attract tourists. At the time, Western musicals, were gaining populairity, but were too wild for Japanese modesty. So, in a brilliant marketing move, they cast only females so they could get away with the racier scenes, and have the mystique of an all female musical.Since its creation, girls from all over Japan try for the covetted 40 spots to become potential Takarazuka stars.
The parts are split into musumeyaku and otokoyaku, or girl and boy parts. The male parts are always the most popular with fans. Once parts are decided, an actress cannot switch. If she is cast as a boy, she must dress and speak like a boy for the duration of her stay in Takarazuka.
Every play (with the exception of Elisabeth) consists of an hour and half long musical, a short intermission to eat, and then a Revue. A Revue is unrelated to the play, and is an extended dance number with a theme. My favorite is Red Hot Sea, which is a series of dances and songs abou the sea, complete with interesting costume design and fantastic sets.
“That sounds great, but where is this fairyland?” you ask. Well, Takarazuka is a small little city on the south side of Hyogo about a half hour from Osaka by train. Here is where the shows are put on first. It’s best to see them here, while they are fresh! At least in my opinion. After a play is finished here, it willbe shown in Tokyo.
The English Website can be found here.
If you have questions on obtaining tickets, please leave a comment.