Audiences in Tokyo have been flocking to see the stage adaptation of Disney's animated film Beauty and the Beast for more than two years. But now the play by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice will be moving on.
The production has already been extended past the original closing date of Jan. 31, and is now expected to finish on March 21. This 2-year 4-month run sets the Japanese record for the longest production in a single location. The record for overall longest running musical in Japan still belongs to Cats.
Shinki Theatrical Company, which is managing the Japanese production, said a proposed Nagoya production is likely to begin sometime after the beginning of April but was unable to confirm rumors that it may be staged at the newly constructed theater next to the Aichi Arts Center. Lloyd-Webber's The Phantom of the Opera is currently being staged there.
While Beauty and the Beast has been translated to the Japanese stage and is completely in Japanese, those who normally shy away from productions in a language foreign to them will find the plot and action are easily followed, especially if one has seen the film or the English language stage production.
The musical is also still being staged in Fukuoka at Fukuoka Koen. The Tokyo production is being staged at the Akasaka Musical Gekijo,5-332-1, Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Tel. (03) 3589-5350. Nearest subway is Akasaka station (Travellers look for the big Ultraman statue). Information and tickets for both the Tokyo and Fukuoka productions are available by calling 0120-489444 (toll free number)
For Tokyo Production Information, the curtain times are : Weekdays 6:30 PM, Sat.1:00 PM & 5:30 PM. and Sunday 1:00 PM, (Curtain times may vary).
Tickets are S ¥11,550, A ¥9,450, B ¥6,300, C ¥3,150, and the show is closed- Dec. 15,16,22,29,30, 31 and Jan. 1.