Tel Aviv: Kazablan, Cabaret

  • Kazablan, 11/15/14 (Sat), Cameri
  • Cabaret, 11/16/14 (Sun), Cameri

I didn’t look at the theater columns until a few days after arriving in Tel Aviv, and realized too late that I had missed a Hebrew version of Fiddler on the Roof. Drats. It only played 2-3 performances before making way for the next show, which sounds like a waste of a lot of rehearsals (presumably they keep the sets in stock). Anyway, I wanted to see something Israeli, and the next weekend offered a show called Kazablan, a 1966 musical based on a play and movie – not Casablanca, but a 1954 Israeli play and its highly popular 1964 screen adaptation about a kid of Moroccan heritage struggling to fit into Israeli society. It was performed in Hebrew with English subtitles. I’d never heard of it, but I was evidently the only one judging from the reactions of all the Israelis I talked to. So it seemed a good choice.  Continue reading

On The Town (オン・ザ・タウン)

オン・ザ・タウン (On The Town)

9/28/14 (Sun), Tokyo

At long last, On The Town reached Japan. It featured three pop stars from the super-popular music group V6 (managed by the legendary Johnny’s Office), which was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, the show’s success was ensured from the minute it was announced: apparently, getting three of these guys together for this period of time is a near miracle given their sundry activities individually and as a group, and the show was sold out for the entire run before it even opened. So commercially this was a gold mine. On the other hand, this was clearly a Johnny’s crowd, with an audience that was 95% young and female. I haven’t seen such a female-heavy auditorium since Takarazuka. There was no room whatsoever for fans of Broadway musicals who may have wanted to see this Bernstein classic for the first time. It didn’t matter to this audience what they were seeing as long as their idols were there. So it pretty much establishes this show as a star vehicle, a very different approach from the US. Whether it will enter the repertory, and whether anyone would risk doing it now with normal musical actors, is an open question. Continue reading

Noh: Tsunemasa (経政)

Noh: 経政 (Tsunemasa)

9/14/14 (Sun), Karasumori Hachiman Shrine

This was an evening show being performed at a neighborhood shrine as part of an annual festival. I had hoped for candlelight rather than artificial lighting, especially since it’s called for in this case in the script itself, but I guess fire laws (and common sense on a wooden stage) prevailed.  Continue reading