Japanese-Language Production of Chicago to Open in Tokyo in October

By Andrew Gans
13 Feb 2008

The first Japanese-language production of the Tony-winning revival of Kander and Ebb's Chicago will debut in October at the Akasaka ACT Theatre in Tokyo, Japan, followed by an engagement at Osaka's Umeda Art Theatre.



Presented by Barry and Fran Weissler is association with Tokyo Broadcasting System, Inc. and Kyodo Tokyo Inc., the production will star Ryoko Yonekura as Roxie Hart, Yoka Wao as Velma Kelly and Ryuichi Kawamura as Billy Flynn.

Although the touring production of Chicago was first presented in Japan in 1999 it has since toured the country three times this will mark the first production of the hit musical to be heard in Japanese.

In a statement, Kyodo Tokyo Inc. president Yoshito Yamazaki said, "More than 150,000 people in Japan have fallen in love with the English-language production of Chicago. And while English-language productions have visited Japan repeatedly, it was always our dream to be able to present a Japanese-language production of this wonderful, record-breaking musical, and make Chicago available to millions of Japanese who can now enjoy it fully in their own language. I'm happy to announce that in a few months, that dream will become a reality."

Producer Weissler added, "What a thrill it is to see that Chicago continues to reach new audiences all over the world. To know that Kander and Ebb's fantastic songs continue to be performed by actors in a variety of languages across the globe is truly phenomenal. We're delighted to now be able to introduce the excitement of Chicago to millions of Japanese theatregoers in their native language."

Chicago, which is currently celebrating its 11th year on Broadway, has also been performed in Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.

Chicago won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical in 1997 as well as awards for actors Bebe Neuwirth and James Naughton, director Walter Bobbie, lighting designer Ken Billington and choreographer Ann Reinking. The original production was directed and choreographed by the late Bob Fosse.

In New York Chicago plays the Ambassador Theatre, located at 215 West 49th Street.

For more information, visit www.ChicagoTheMusical.com.