Aya Hirano to Take the Throne as "Lady Bess"
Voice actress turned stage star Aya Hirano has made an amazing new career for herself after studying abroad in New York. Recent roles include a turn as the Lady of the Lake in Monty Python’s Spamalot. And starting today, she will be one of the actresses taking the lead in the latest Tokyo staging of Lady Bess.
The musical, created by Sylvester Levay and Michael Kunze, traces the story of Elizabeth I just prior to her taking the throne. Many historical characters appear alongside Bess; but of note is the fictional Robin, a minstrel who embodies the culture of 16th-century England and with whom Bess falls in love.
Levay and Kunze have had many of their musicals performed around the world (including their 1992 Elisabeth, about Franz Josef I’s wife literally courting Death — a Takarazuka hit). Previous Tokyo productions of Lady Bess have included new numbers written in to suit local culture, with many going on to be adapted back into the Austrian stagings later.
Hirano will be alternating as Bess with former Takarazuka actress Mari Hanafusa. Alternating in the role of the minstrel Robin will be actors Ikusaburo Yamasaki and Kazuki Kato.
Lady Bess starts tonight and will run until November 18.