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Reading drama “Love Letters” Keito Okamoto x Mayumi Wakamura, Shogo Sakamoto x Nako Yabuki, Akira Ishida x Emi Ogata “Legendary” couples also perform | ORICON NEWS

Reading drama “Love Letters” Keito Okamoto x Mayumi Wakamura, Shogo Sakamoto x Nako Yabuki, Akira Ishida x Emi Ogata “Legendary” couples also perform | ORICON NEWS
Reading drama “Love Letters” Keito Okamoto x Mayumi Wakamura, Shogo Sakamoto x Nako Yabuki, Akira Ishida x Emi Ogata “Legendary” couples also perform | ORICON NEWS
The cast of the reading drama “Love Letters ~2024 New Year Special~” to be performed at Tokyo’s PARCO Theater in January 2024 has been announced, including Akira Ishida x Emi Ogata, Shogo Sakamoto x Nako Yabuki, Keito Okamoto x Wakamura Mayumi’s combination has been revealed. There are only two characters, a man and a woman. The love story of two childhood friends, told over 50 years of exchanging letters, will be performed as a two-hour reading drama.

Keito Okamoto and Mayumi Wakamura appearing in “Love Letters ~2024 New Year Special~”

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This work, which was a forerunner of reading dramas, was first performed in New York in 1989, and while it was creating a quiet boom around the world, it premiered in Japan at the PARCO Theater in August 1990. Since then, it has been performed continuously for 33 years. During this time, a total of 518 couples (including reenactments) of various ages and personalities have been reading the same script.

Yoji Aoi, who had been a driving force behind this work as a translator and director since its premiere, passed away in 2017, and Shuntaro Fujita has taken over the direction from 2018. Mr. Fujita, who has created a new chapter in “Love Letters” while valuing Mr. Aoi’s direction, says, “This work is sure to bring a miracle to any couple.”

On January 19th, Ishida, who is known for his roles as Kaworu Nagisa in “Neon Genesis Evangelion” and Kotaro Katsura in “Gintama”, will appear as Shinji Ikari in “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, Kurama in “Yu Yu Hakusho”, and “Bishoujo”. Ogata, who has played the role of Sailor Uranus in “Senshi Sailor Moon”, will appear as a repeat couple. When it was performed in 2014, it attracted a lot of attention and tickets sold out immediately.The legendary couple, who have had the highest number of requests for a repeat performance, will finally be revived for the first time in 10 years.

On the 24th, Sakamoto, who is active in a wide range of 2.5-dimensional genres, including the role of Kunihiro Horikawa in the hit musical “Touken Ranbu” and the lead role (as Tanjiro Kamado) in the popular stage play “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” in the red-light district infiltration, will be appearing. A fresh couple appears, with Yabuki appearing in many works as an actor after graduating from HKT48.

And on the 29th, he will appear on the stage after studying abroad at a drama school in New York.He has mainly been active on the stage, and in 2013 he has also appeared in the dramas “Rhythm” and “Ooku Season 2”, and the stage play “Chocolate Donut” (PARCO Theater). Okamoto, who still remembers his enthusiastic performance in “Children” (18) and “The Decapitated Prince and the Foolish Woman” (21), and Wakamura, who has appeared in many Parco-produced performances such as “Children” (18) and “The Decapitated Prince and the Foolish Woman” (21). This is a combination of two people who have a close relationship, having co-starred in many plays, including Okamoto’s first solo starring role in “Le Fils” (21) and “Hamlet” (23).

Mr. Fujita said, “I’m really looking forward to working with wonderful couples wrapped in love.” A leading drama called Love Letters. We would like to deliver a story to our customers. Andy and Melissa lived in America in the 20th century. The power of love that these two communicate through letters transcends time, and conveys their feelings for others, their imagination, and their kindness. I think it will give us a great feeling. At the beginning of 2024, we will spend two hours with a timeless masterpiece. We look forward to seeing you at the PARCO Theater.”

■Performer comments.

▼Akira Ishida

I was asked to perform on the LOVE LETTERS stage for the second time. When I performed last time, Yoji Aoi, who was directing at the time, told me that it would be okay if the performers cried on this stage, and as expected, I was absorbed in the story and appeared on stage as Akira Ishida instead of as Andy. I remember crying at that. Nine years have passed since then, and I am now older than Andy in the final scene. I don’t have the experience that Andy and Melissa have, but I’ve lived a long life, so I hope I can act with a strong sense of emotion this time.

▼Emi Ogata

Just once. But I remember it.
50 years as Melissa. There were four standing ovations that didn’t stop even when the door opened.
Just thinking about it brings back the heat that ran through my body that day with a huge swell – I am truly happy to have had the opportunity to perform on such a stage once again, and I feel so relieved.
After the performance, the words of Mr. Aoi (previous director), which I received on my sleeve, served as my guideline from then on.
With those words in my heart, I wonder how my heart will move on the day when I can face the new group again.
I’m excited but scared. It’s scary, but I want to face that day quietly.
Once in a lifetime. Thank you very much for your support.

▼Shogo Sakamoto

I’m very excited to take on the challenge of playing Love Letters, which has been loved by everyone for a long time, but I’m also nervous at the same time, but I’m looking forward to seeing how I perform this love story in the form of a reading drama.
We look forward to seeing you at the theater.

▼Nako Yabuki

First of all, I am very happy and honored to be involved in this historical reading drama “Love Letters.”
This will be my first time co-starring with Shogo Sakamoto, so I’m really excited. He is active in many fields, so I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of chemical reactions will occur.
The first PARCO theater.
A one-time performance.
I’m still a little nervous, but I’ll do my best to have fun and deliver the drama written in letters to the hearts of the viewers.
thank you.

▼Keito Okamoto

Dear everyone,
I will be playing the role of Andrew Makepeace Rudd III in a production called “Love Letters.” This is Keito Okamoto. My partner, Melissa Gardner, will be played by Mayumi Wakamura, who has been with me since I first appeared on Straight Play. When I previously watched “Love Letters,” I was struck by the power of love in her story. And I thought with pride that I wanted to perform this work with Mr. Wakamura. I never thought it would come true so quickly…it’s like a dream. It’s both an honor and a pressure to be able to appear in this work, which has brought so much emotion beyond history, with so many famous and wonderful actors, but most of all, I’m really looking forward to being able to bring this story to the theatergoers. That’s what I’m thinking! A stage performance that can only be performed once per day. As Andy, I will do my best to deliver the words created by AR Gurney to Melissa and to everyone’s hearts. We look forward to seeing you there.
With respect

Keito Okamoto

▼Mayumi Wakamura

Is it only one practice? Holding a book in front of a customer? Stay seated? The starting point was my shocking first reading experience of “Love Letters” 30 years ago, which evolved into my life’s work of storytelling, “The Dramatic World of Mayumi Wakamura.” This is a special work for me. The previous director, Yoji Aoi, had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to live a different Melissa each time, with the sincere Andy Masanobu Takashima and the intelligent and charming Andy Nomura Mansai, who were full of love for theater. This time, the fifth time, we will be directing Shuntaro Fujita for the first time, and Andy will be played by Keito Okamoto, who played the role of father and son in “Le Fils Son”! This is the skill of reading aloud. I want to enjoy my current Melissa without looking like my mother (lol)

The article is in Japanese

Tags: Reading drama Love Letters Keito Okamoto Mayumi Wakamura Shogo Sakamoto Nako Yabuki Akira Ishida Emi Ogata Legendary couples perform ORICON NEWS


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