All stories by Nobuko Tanaka on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

“Yabuhara Kengyo” Shows Audiences that Justice isn’t Always Blind by Nobuko Tanaka

Colorful graffiti marks the facade of a shuttered shopping mall. People navigate their way around chain partitions and orange traffic cones. It’s a scene that looks familiar to anyone who …

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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Secrets of the Oslo Accords Come to Light on Stage by Nobuko Tanaka

He may live in New York, but playwright J.T. Rogers has spent a lot of time in Japan over the past few years, and it’s not just because he loves the food there (“especially the white sli…

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Saturday, February 6, 2021

Expect Revivals and VR from the Stage as Theater Continues to Deal with the Coronavirus by Nobuko Tanaka

In his 1964 anthem, “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” Bob Dylan sings: “As the present now / Will later be past / The order is rapidly fadin’…” At the time, he may have had soci…

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Friday, December 11, 2020

“Knife” Critiques Human Nature Through Mime And Dance by Nobuko Tanaka

Sometimes a gesture of gratitude comes in the form of a carte blanche. Akira Shirai, the departing artistic director of Kanagawa Arts Theatre (KAAT), decided to show thanks to his long-time …

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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Contemporary Performing Arts Festival Stays Open to New Possibilities Despite COVID-19 by Nobuko Tanaka

Maybe 13 is an unlucky number? Contemporary theater’s annual Festival/Tokyo is known for its focus on young artists and edgy productions, but, for its 13th edition, it has had to deal wit…

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Saturday, November 7, 2020

Noh Theater Struggles To Survive The Pandemic by Nobuko Tanaka

Kennosuke Nakamori’s sonorous voice fills a small room as he practices the lines of a traditional noh play, even though he hasn’t performed before a live audience in months. He moves gra…

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Friday, November 6, 2020

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Conjures Dark Fantasies by Nobuko Tanaka

A Midsummer Night’s Dream has the makings of a fairy tale: a forest full of meddling fairies, magic potions that spark romantic fancies, a series of comedic errors and a happy ending. And …

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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Contemporary Performing Arts Festival Stays Open To New Possibilities Despite COVID-19 by Nobuko Tanaka

Maybe 13 is an unlucky number? Contemporary theater’s annual Festival/Tokyo is known for its focus on young artists and edgy productions, but for its 13th edition it has had to deal with…

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

“Twelve Angry Men”; 1950’s Courtroom Drama about Confronting Prejudice Still Rings True by Nobuko Tanaka

Back in January, when English director Lindsay Posner visited Tokyo for preparatory meetings to stage the iconic courtroom drama Twelve Angry Men at Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon in Shibuya Ward,…

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Toyooka Theater Festival Brings French Flair to Japan’s Theater Scene by Nobuko Tanaka

Performing arts festivals and opportunities to enjoy live entertainment have been few and far between this year due to the ongoing pandemic, but dramatist Oriza Hirata, 57, has hopes for his…

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Saturday, August 8, 2020

To Be (Online) Or Not To Be (Online), That Is The Question For Japan’s Theaters by Nobuko Tanaka

This past week, health officials called for more than 800 theatergoers to be tested for COVID-19 after at least 59 cases were traced back to performances of a play titled Werewolf in Tokyo…

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Friday, July 24, 2020

Live-Stage Performances Are Taking Roads Less Traveled With Trucks And Virtual Reality by Nobuko Tanaka

As the new reality of daily life amid a global pandemic settles in, many people are getting accustomed to somewhat isolated lifestyles as they abide by social distancing measures and work re…

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Monday, June 15, 2020

Japan’s Acting Troupes Turn Your Home Into A Stage by Nobuko Tanaka

Troupes turn to telework in a bid to keep audiences entertained The performing arts are built on interactions between live audiences and artists — whether ballet dancers, circus performers…

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Thursday, June 11, 2020

World Theatre Festival Shizuoka Heads Online In Desperate Times by Nobuko Tanaka

On April 3, Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC) announced the cancellation of this year’s edition of its annual World Theatre Festival Shizuoka, which was due to be held from April 25 t…

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Must the Show Go On During the COVID-19 Outbreak? by Nobuko Tanaka

Responses to the spread of the COVID-19 virus have varied widely from country to country and are changing from one day to the next. So, while Broadway shows in New York have shut down for at…

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Ken Watanabe: A Conquistador in “Pizarro” by Nobuko Tanaka

Ever since his Oscar-nominated Hollywood debut as Lord Katsumoto in 2003’s The Last Samurai, Ken Watanabe has been the best-known Japanese actor in the world. Along with other memorable s…

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Updating “Romeo and Juliet” in a Bid to Fight Prejudice in Japan by Nobuko Tanaka

With William Shakespeare’s iconic use of English lost in translation, bold and reimagined versions of his works have long blossomed in Japan, as dramatists have mainly taken inspiration fr…

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Monday, February 24, 2020

The Art of Condensing Shakespeare’s Oeuvre by Nobuko Tanaka

In theater, as in daily life, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Such was the case with Tempo 12-nen no Shakespeare (Shakespeare in Year 12 of the Tempo Era) by dramatist and w…

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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Bringing Haruki Murakami’s “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” to Japan’s Stages by Nobuko Tanaka

Haruki Murakami is probably Japan’s best-known living writer — a worldwide bestseller with novels translated into at least 50 languages. Yet, despite that, dramatizations of the 71-year-…

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Friday, January 24, 2020

“Fortune” Updates Faust’s Devilish Deal by Nobuko Tanaka

Japanese theater gets off to a flying start in 2020 with a collaboration between leading British and Japanese creators on the world premiere of a major new play being staged in Japanese. Pos…

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Year That Musicals took on Japanese Stages by Nobuko Tanaka

As the curtain falls on 2019’s theater scene in Japan, a continuing rise in the popularity of musicals now sees them clearly positioned at the center of the country’s entertainment mains…

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Friday, December 27, 2019

Bringing a Greek Tragedy to 21st-Century Japan by Nobuko Tanaka

What is it about stories from the ancient world that attracts contemporary dramatists? One person well-placed to address that question is 37-year-old Japanese theater director Kunio Sugihara…

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Dr. Hoffmann’s Sanatorium: Delving Deep into the Weird World of Kafka by Nobuko Tanaka

The starting point for Dr. Hoffmann’s Sanatorium was, according to the play’s Japanese creator, Keralino Sandorovich, the idea that “someone found an unpublished novel by the great Fra…

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Capitalizing on the Pull of Experimental Japanese Theatre by Nobuko Tanaka

Shuntaro Matsubara’s first contact with live theatre was in 2014, when he saw a production of German dramatist Bertolt Brecht’s 1930 play Fatzer (aka Downfall of the Egotist Johann Fatze…

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Sep 14, 2021: Chicago - Ambassador Theatre