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24° Good Afternoon

‘Chicago’ version has a distaff Tokyo twist

"Takarazuka Chicago," the all-woman Japanese version of "Chicago" has its North American premiere at the Koch Theater in Lincoln Center. Credit: Maiko Miagawa and Nobuhiko Hikichi

Since the hit revival of “Chicago” opened 20 years ago, it has seemed that enough stars, semi-stars and demi-stars have passed through the revolving-door casts to populate a small city. When it comes to newsworthy casting, however, Broadway producers may find it hard to top “Takarazuka Chicago,” the all-woman Japanese version that has its North American premiere July 20 through July 24 at the Koch Theater in Lincoln Center.

Part of the Lincoln Center Festival, the import is created by the Takarazuka Revue Company, a popular troupe that practices the art of otoko-yaku—roughly considered the counterpart to female impersonators in Kabuki. The promotion promises “All Female, All Japanese, All That Jazz.”

Bob Fosse, lyricist Fred Ebb and composer John Kanter were eerily prescient about celebrity, justice and politics when they conceived of their 1975 hit about murdering flapper floozies. It is likely that even they, however, did not foresee this one.


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