In this On Stage report, we go behind the scenes of the all-female, all-Japanese take on the Tony winning revival of "Chicago."
For this weekend — and this weekend only — 2 productions of "Chicago" will be playing in New York just blocks away from each other; one on Broadway and the other at Lincoln Center.
The all-female Takarazuka Revue is performing "Chicago" as part of this year's Lincoln Center Festival. It’s an exact replica of the long running Broadway production, but with two exceptions.
First, it's done entirely in Japanese. And second, "the male roles are played by women,” according to Ronnie Lee, the Executive Producer for Kyoto Tokyo.
Lee helped bring this Japanese entertainment tradition to New York. "In the 19, I think it’s the 1920s, this railroad magnate came up with Takarazuka and they’ve done many American musicals, but "Chicago" has flourished," said Lee.
To help welcome the Japanese company to New York, the Broadway production opened the doors of The Ambassador Theater to the ladies, where both companies exchanged gifts earlier this week.
Actress Yoka Wao plays the character of Velma. "I did this Chicago 2 years ago in Japan. That time we never thought about this, so it's just amazing," she said.
You can catch The Takarazuka production of "Chicago" this weekend at The Lincoln Center Festival. For more information, visit www.ny1.com/onstage.