New York: Hello, Dolly!, etc.

New York

  • Indecent, 5/9/17 (Tue), Broadway,
  • Groundhog Day, 5/10/17 (Wed), Broadway
  • A Doll’s House Part 2, 5/10/17 (Wed), Broadway
  • The Emperor Jones, 5/11/17 (Thurs), Off Broadway,
  • The Golden Apple, 5/12/17 (Fri), Encores!
  • Hello, Dolly!, 5/13/17 (Sat), Broadway
  • Oslo, 5/13/17 (Sat), Lincoln Center
  • The Great Comet, 5/14/17 (Sun), Broadway
  • Sleep No More, 5/14/17 (Sun), Off Broadway

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The Rat Burglar (鼠小僧)

  • Kabuki: 鼠小僧  (The Rat Burglar)

3/6/15 (Fri), film

I managed to get myself switched to an All Nippon Airways flight to New York when my United flight was suddenly cancelled. One advantage was a good selection of Japanese films, and I was surprised to see some Kabuki selections. I had avoided this particular 2003 production before since I didn’t want to spend money on Noda Hideki, who wrote and directed it. But it was a big hit, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to know what was out there. And at free, the price was right.  Continue reading

Kabuki: Bancho Sarayashiki, Kurozuka (番町皿屋敷, 黒塚 )

  • Kabuki: 番町皿屋敷, 女暫、黒塚 (Bancho Sarayashiki, Onna Shibaraku, Kurozuka)

1/16/15 (Fri), Tokyo

Bancho Sarayashiki is based on a famous ghost story where the evil samurai Aoyama Harima, having been rejected by his young servant Okiku, tricks her into thinking that she has lost one of the family’s ten valuable Korean dishes, a capital crime. She frantically counts over and over, but only finds nine. He then murders her and throws her down a well. She comes back as a ghost to haunt him, always counting up to nine and then shrieking. That story was evidently adapted into Bunraku puppet theater, where the cruelty factor was upped considerably, and that version was then turned into a short-lived Kabuki piece.

The version this month, though, is a New Kabuki adaptation by Okamoto Kido in 1916, which takes a significantly different approach to the ghost story – for one thing, it has no ghosts. Continue reading

Concert: Buena Vista Social Club

  • Concert: Buena Vista Social Club

1/1/15 (Thurs), Havana

There were several venues advertising shows with BVSC members, who seem to form a large but loose group of son/salsa musicians. These shows have boomed since my last visit 15 years ago, maybe a sign of the expanding tourist trade. Locals didn’t know much about it, so I asked the hotel, which recommended this one. I had imagined a small, smoky, dodgy club, and the location, a decidedly un-touristy and yet-to-be renovated part of the old city, felt appropriate. But the theater was actually quite new and more like a fancy nightclub, with a large proscenium stage and runway. Dinners and snacks were available along with drinks, all of which were served throughout the show by waitresses in retro short lacy skirts.  Continue reading