Ever since she played a princess in Roman Holiday Audrey Hepburn has been considered royalty in Japan. Her popularity was if anything strengthened by her death and today she is an idol every bit as fixed into the popular mind as Marilyn Monroe or Diana Princess of Wales. Her movies are regularly rented out in Tokyo video stores, and postcards and books bearing her likeness continue to sell briskly.
This enduring allure among the Japanese is no doubt among the many reasons that a musical adaptation of the Paramount Pictures film that brought Hepburn to the attention of moviegoers around the globe is coming to the Tokyo stage.
Roman Holiday is generating a buzz among dedicated fans of Japanese Theater even though opening night is still more than 10 months away.
The production, by Toho [Japanese Theatre Company] will star Daichi Mao as Princess Ann and Yamaguchi Yuichiro as Joe Bradley. Both are featured in other upcoming Toho productions. Yamaguchi will play Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and Mao has been cast in The Sound of Music and Irene.
Toho has not announced an exact date for the opening night but the production will begin sometime in October 1998 at Tokyo's Aoyama Theater (03)3797-5678. Roman Holiday will also be staged at the Hakata-za in July of 1999. Bookings are not yet being accepted for either production. For more information contact Toho Teleserve at (03)3201-7777. --By Carter Witt