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Tuesday, 26th July 2011
In Events In Japan, Japan Entertainment News,

Main casting announced for Tokyo's Dracula musical

The actor who is to play the title role in a new Tokyo-based musical production of Dracula has been revealed - and traditionalists are in for a shock.

That is because Yoka Wao, a performer who has picked up prizes for dramatic turns in productions of Gone with the Wind and Wuthering Heights, has been chosen for the role. The unorthodoxy here comes about when you realise that Yoka Wao is female.

Having just finished a long stint in the all-female Japanese musical theatre troupe the Takarazuka Revue, Wao has already been rehearsing for the role for quite some time, and is enjoying the process.

"I get to suck the blood of various people when rehearsing. It’s fun. It might become a habit," she said.

While in the Takarazuka Revue, Yoka Wao was widely-lauded for her performance in strong male roles, such as Heathcliff in the group's 1997 production of Wuthering Heights.

This production of Dracula, the Musical will run from August 20th until September 11th at the Tokyo International Forum. It will also star Mari Hanafusa and Natsumi Abe in other major roles.

However, the show has a long and illustrious past; it was written by Don Black and Christopher Hampton with music from Frank Wildhorn (who also wrote the score for a musical version of Jekyll and Hyde, as well as Whitney Houston's smash hit Where Do Broken Hearts Go?).

The first performance was made in San Diego in 2001, while it had a spell on Broadway in 2004. However, as a truly international show, Dracula, the Musical has had two spells in Austria and one in Canada.

The latest production of the piece is the first one to be held outside of Europe and is also monumental because Yoka Wao is the first woman to play the role of the dark Transylvanian aristocrat.

Written by Kimberley Homer 

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