Rosemary Sutcliff’s Blood and Sand by Japanese 宝塚歌劇団 (The Takarazuka Revue) as musical | Sutcliff Discovery of the Day

Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical fiction Blood and Sand was made into musical theatre by 宝塚歌劇団 (The Takarazuka Revue). It was called ‘Love and Death in Arabia‘ and combined with a ‘fantasy’ Red Hot Sea (see here). Stars were Matobu Sei & Sakurano Ayane and it was advertised as a ‘musical romance’ about ‘love and death’ and ‘ a noble British arab warrior’.  I never saw the show – a strange departure for the author of the classic The Eagle of the Ninth – but I have now  found again some video material I once tracked down.

Fascinating although a mystery to me, with no Japanese.  One clip – the star speaking of the show? – has text under it: 花組主演男役「真飛聖」公演紹介 Google translator makes this ‘Hanagumi starring butch “Holy flying true”  about performance’ which is only slightly illuminating! And most of the page text below is actually an image, so Google translator will not help! Can anyone translate? In the Takarazuka Revue (宝塚歌劇団 Takarazuka Kagekidan),  based in the city of Takarazuka (Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan) women play all roles in lavish, Broadway-style productions of Western-style musicals, and sometimes stories adapted from shōjo manga and Japanese folktales. Rather bizarrely, to my English mind but probably not at all bizarre in context in Japan, the name of the troupe comes from the Hankyu Takarazuka Line in suburban Osaka: The company is a division of Hankyu Railway Co., and actresses are employees of the company.

Author: Anthony Lawton

Chair, Sussex Dolphin, family company which looks after the work of eminent children’s & historical fiction author Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-92). Formerly CEO, chair & trustee of various charity, cultural & educational enterprises in UK.

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