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Takarazuka Revue, Cole Porter’s Can-Can, and the Integrated Broadway Musical

Takarazuka Revue, Cole Porter’s Can-Can, and the Integrated Broadway Musical ELIZABETH YORK Takarazuka Revue, Cole Porter ’s Can-Can, and the Integrated Broadway Musical This is a study of the Japanese all-female Takarazuka Revue Company’s transformative 1996 production of the 1953 Broadway musical Can-Can. On Broadway, Can-Can’s star performances, hit songs, and Guys and Dolls–like story made it the audience favorite of the 1952–53 season, running 892 performances. However, critics resented the fact that Cole Porter ’s score and Abe Burrows’s book failed to conform to midcentury Broadway’s critical ideal: integration, that is, an artistic unity of music, lyrics, book, and all production elements. In Western scholarship, Can- Can is considered a mediocre, unrevivable, star-centered work. There has never been a successful Broadway or West End revival. Takarazuka Revue challenges this assessment by successfully reconfiguring Can-Can for its own stars while simultaneously resolving its integration problems. Takarazuka Revue is almost entirely absent from Anglophone musical theater discourse, which concentrates on Broadway and West End pro- ductions, privileges original English texts, and distrusts earnest romanti- cism as a performance aesthetic. This study, by analyzing Takarazuka’s Can-Can and locating its significance within the performance history of the midcentury musical, points to a broader, cross-cultural understand- ing of the musical theater work not http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

Takarazuka Revue, Cole Porter’s Can-Can, and the Integrated Broadway Musical

American Music , Volume 37 (3) – Nov 11, 2019

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349

Abstract

ELIZABETH YORK Takarazuka Revue, Cole Porter ’s Can-Can, and the Integrated Broadway Musical This is a study of the Japanese all-female Takarazuka Revue Company’s transformative 1996 production of the 1953 Broadway musical Can-Can. On Broadway, Can-Can’s star performances, hit songs, and Guys and Dolls–like story made it the audience favorite of the 1952–53 season, running 892 performances. However, critics resented the fact that Cole Porter ’s score and Abe Burrows’s book failed to conform to midcentury Broadway’s critical ideal: integration, that is, an artistic unity of music, lyrics, book, and all production elements. In Western scholarship, Can- Can is considered a mediocre, unrevivable, star-centered work. There has never been a successful Broadway or West End revival. Takarazuka Revue challenges this assessment by successfully reconfiguring Can-Can for its own stars while simultaneously resolving its integration problems. Takarazuka Revue is almost entirely absent from Anglophone musical theater discourse, which concentrates on Broadway and West End pro- ductions, privileges original English texts, and distrusts earnest romanti- cism as a performance aesthetic. This study, by analyzing Takarazuka’s Can-Can and locating its significance within the performance history of the midcentury musical, points to a broader, cross-cultural understand- ing of the musical theater work not

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Nov 11, 2019

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