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2011 Japanese Production 
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Post 2011 Japanese Production
The full casts and dates for this year's run of the Toho Organisation's on-going production of Les Miserables have been announced and a promo video released.



I've fulfilled my dreams of seeing the London production...Japan, HERE I COME! :mrgreen:

If I read the dates correctly, it's playing April through June, and I'm guessing it's at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo, although I could be wrong. It usually tours a few major cities then settles for a Tokyo run. Aside from the London production, Toho's faithful production of Les Miserables (right down to our good ol' friend, the DX7 sounds!!) is the last remaining of the original.

I'm telling myself not to get ahead of myself because *I think* I just read something on their official site saying this will be the last ever season of Les Miserables in Japan in its original production. My heart stopped when I read the Chrome translation, which could very well be wrong.

I NEED to keep telling myself that. I NEED to keep telling myself that. I NEED to keep telling myself that. I NEED to keep telling myself that.

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Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:47 am
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Post Re: 2011 Japanese Production
OMG Mme Thernardier! I've never heard some of those harmonies so emphasised! Looks totally epic.

Hope this means there will be another (at least) 2 recordings. :P

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Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:07 am
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Post Re: 2011 Japanese Production
I'd love another pair. The tri-color and Mauve Taupe casts? Can't have enough. :mrgreen:

Oh, my Japanese friends, please don't chuck original Les Mis! I beg on hands and knees!! You're my last hooooooope!!!

*grovel*

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Last edited by Quique on Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:25 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:27 am
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Post Re: 2011 Japanese Production
Oh, noooooooooooooooo...my Japanese frieeeeends!!!!

http://www.tohostage.com/lesmiserables/

It's a curse I tell you. Just today I was researching airfares and hotels for what was to be the absolute last time I would ever get to see the original production in all its glory.

I guess London, 2010 was it. But it can't be. I'm not ready to say gooooooodbyyyyeee. :shock:

*dies forever*

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Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:24 am
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Post Re: 2011 Japanese Production
Sort of off topic but......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCs_vXRZUjc

:wtf: The awesomeness is too much to handle.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:27 pm
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Post Re: 2011 Japanese Production
Why would they trade that for the meager mash up anniversary tour? I'm not too surprised though since the Japanese tend to place a heavy focus on following U.S. entertainment trends, but I had hoped they didn't see a need for what is not even a fraction of an "improvement." Changes, yes, but sadly, a lot of people don't realize that changes aren't the same as improvements. This is why people cream themselves over stuff like Valjean crinkling his forehead at a certain point where he used to wrinkle his nose in the pathetic old 1985 version. It's just so refreshingly deep and emortional and 2025, apparently. Quiz them about it, and they will respond calling you a purist as if being unobservant and easily fooled makes for "progressive." Very small, and only distracting and not so much effective things like that are what makes this new tour "SO MUCH MORE POWERFUL".

In a forum that shall remain nameless, I read a thread recently in which a member creams themselves detailing Ramin's Valjean (whom I adore as a performer) and listing all the FRESHNESS he inserted into the tired relic of days gone by.

I snorted my Vanilla latte and shot it out again through my nose when someone responded saying everything listed had already been done before by those cast members of that AWFULLY dated 1985 (OLD) gross yuck sh*t version that blinds many a West End theatre-goer with its nauseating gimmick of a giant lazy susan.

Oh, my Japanese friends, how you've disappointed me so.

I can only hope they will gather their talents and satisfy their desire for change, while actually improving over the lackluster anniversary tour, with their OWN anniversary edition.

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Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:44 am
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Post Re: 2011 Japanese Production
The revised 25th anniversary staging will be performed at the Imperial Theater in Tokyo from April - July 2013 and in Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka between August - October 2013.

http://www.tohostage.com/lesmiserables/

Unfortunately, the information in the above link is contained entirely in a jpeg, so Google Translate will not help you much.
Basically it says that the show will be performed with a "New Cast" and "New Direction". This is followed by a bunch of random quotes from reviews of the new production around the world. At the bottom is the standard blurb by Cameron Mackintosh about how he felt the need to renew the show for its 25th anniversary.

Anyways, the original staging was likely retired by the insistence of Sir Cameron himself and the 2011 staging was heavily advertised as the farewell run for the original staging. I've lived in Tokyo since 2004 and I've seen the show about 20 times in the 3-4 runs that have played here since then. I will definitely miss the original staging in Japan as John Caird always came back to direct the show personally (whereas in the US, I believe it was mostly done by an associate director). (Also, his wife is Japanese - a former Fantine in the Japanese production)

In 2011, I saw the show 4 times in Tokyo (original direction), once in London (more or less the original staging) and once in Washington DC (25th anniversary staging). I've always been impressed by the strong ensemble work in the Japanese production, but the London production was outstanding in terms of individual performances. To be honest, I was not impressed at all by the American 25th anniversary physical production and direction at all.

Incidentally, Japan was also the last country to show Miss Saigon in it's original staging (revived twice in 2004 and 2007, well after the other productions closed). I had the chance to see the revised staging of Miss Saigon in Tokyo last month (also by Laurence Connor) and it was actually pretty good for the most part. This means to say that I was not disappointed at all as I was when I saw the revised Les Mis staging. But that's for another posting.


Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:25 am
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Post Re: 2011 Japanese Production
sekibun wrote:

In 2011, I saw the show 4 times in Tokyo (original direction), once in London (more or less the original staging) and once in Washington DC (25th anniversary staging). I've always been impressed by the strong ensemble work in the Japanese production, but the London production was outstanding in terms of individual performances. To be honest, I was not impressed at all by the American 25th anniversary physical production and direction at all.


Mmmm... That's interesting...
Could you tell us if you saw some noticable differences between the "Original" staging redirected by John Caird and the one in London ?
I mean: We all know that a stage version always evolve and changes as the cast change, but also as the staging assistant introduce the new performers to the show. Some very little differences can turn little by little into more important changes.

Could you notice some ? :think:


Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:49 am
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Post Re: 2011 Japanese Production
Yes, please tell us, if you can!

I remember seeing the Broadway revival, which Caird directed, and being struck by the ways that Adam Jacobs' portrayal of Marius had changed from his 2004/05 stint with the 3rd National Tour. It was nothing big, but his Broadway Marius did seem a little less naive, more level-headed, and ever-so-slightly closer to Hugo's character than his 3NT Marius was. E.g. by being visibly uncomfortable with Éponine's flirting instead of totally oblivious to it, and by trying to calm the others when Javert was outed as a spy, protesting "Don't waste a bullet!" rather than joining in the bloodlust.

Do you think that was just Adam's characterization evolving on its own, or do you think Caird played an important role in it?


Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:17 pm
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Post Re: 2011 Japanese Production
So sad that a Japanese institution is to be retired and replaced with something that doesn't provide the same compelling storytelling experience. Spine-tingling stage pictures such as those below will no longer materialize upon the Imperial Theatre stage in Tokyo and across Japan.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Regarding Caird, I knew he had developed a strong rapport with the Japanese after he had spent several months in Tokyo directing the first production there in 1987. His continued close relationship with the various Japanese casts and his direct involvement over the years was one of the reasons why I did not see it coming; I really felt confident they'd continue on with the original production and Caird's association. It makes sense that the revised version was imposed on them by Cammack but I didn't realize he maintained that much control over their production. I wonder what type of contract and special terms were included in the initial agreement? All I know is that in Behr's book, Les Miserables: History In the Making it says executives of the Toho Organisation had seen the show in London, loved it, and "bought it." I had always assumed that meant they essentially owned the show and were given the full rights to stage it within their country. I also knew there was a degree of control over limiting the incorporation of any changes without the original creatives' consent. I had no idea Cammack could dictate which version could be staged and when. Saying they "bought it" is misleading as they appear to have had no more control than those who rent the rights from MTI to perform the show.

It makes me less disappointed at my Japanese friends, hehe. <3 I had no idea Caird is married to a former Japanese Fantine. That's so cool. Dude has been romantically linked to Eponine and Fantine now, so he is a Marius and Tholomyès of sorts, minus the blindness and a**holism, respectively. :mrgreen:

*Recoils in horror over possibly giving rabid fanfic fiends any ideas*

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Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:44 pm
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Post Re: 2011 Japanese Production
One of these days, I will get back to the questions about my original post regarding some of the differences between the 3NT staging, and the Japanese production (up to 2011). I need to really think and dig deep into my memory to make an accurate list. (There was time when I managed to see both the 3NT and the Tokyo production in the same week...) There were some minor differences in the set as well. For example, there was a little section in the middle of the revolve (where the pimp and the lovely lady whores have their table set up) that doesn't move. From what I remember from the 3NT, the middle part also revolved...

Quote:
I had always assumed that meant they essentially owned the show and were given the full rights to stage it within their country. I also knew there was a degree of control over limiting the incorporation of any changes without the original creatives' consent. I had no idea Cammack could dictate which version could be staged and when. Saying they "bought it" is misleading as they appear to have had no more control than those who rent the rights from MTI to perform the show.


I know that the Japanese production was revised several times, implementing the post-10th anniversary cuts (as evidences in the 2003 recordings) as well as some minor changes to the orchestration (Dog eats Dog around 2007), but the revised Christopher Jahnke orchestrations have never been implemented until this year. So it seems that a degree artistic control has always been kept with Cammack. Incidentally, the billing has always been "Toho Company, Limited by arrangement with CAMERON MACKINTOSH (Overseas) Limited Presents Les Miserables", so I assume that Cammack always retained the actual rights. All is good for me, since it keeps getting restaged every two years or so.

I saw the *revised* production Friday evening here in Tokyo and was actually impressed. To summarize, I don't mind the changes so much from Paris onwards. There seems to be some small changes in direction from what I saw in Washington DC.

One significant change is that Gavroche now dies trying to climb back onto the barricade, and Enjolras hands Grantaire his body which he then lays down stage right. Seems to work better for me than Grantaire just yelling "Noooooooooooo!" Anyone know if this direction has been implemented in the US tour as well? After the barricade falls, Javert yells at the gendarme pulling the cart with Enjolras' body to stop and puts Gavroche's body on top.

More on this topic soon!


Sat May 18, 2013 11:59 pm
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Post Re: 2011 Japanese Production
sekibun wrote:
One significant change is that Gavroche now dies trying to climb back onto the barricade, and Enjolras hands Grantaire his body which he then lays down stage right. Seems to work better for me than Grantaire just yelling "Noooooooooooo!" Anyone know if this direction has been implemented in the US tour as well? After the barricade falls, Javert yells at the gendarme pulling the cart with Enjolras' body to stop and puts Gavroche's body on top.


Does Javert seem remorseful over Gavroche's death as he does this? If so, it sounds like the movie's influence has crept a little bit into the Japanese production!

I like the idea of Gavroche dying on the barricade, though. That's just how I would stage it if I ever directed a production with no revolve.


Sun May 19, 2013 12:31 am
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