KIKKI & GRANDPA & BABY Begins 1/5 at ATA's Chernuchin Theater
Okada Productions in collaboration with Yuji Takematsu present Kikki & Grandpa & Baby, a new musical written and directed by Yutaka Okada beginning January 5th at the Chernuchin Theater (American Theater of Actors 314 W. 54th Street). Music is by Shizuka Iwabuchi and includes traditional Japanese songs. Lyrics are by Yutaka Okada with additional lyrics by Julie Holtzman and Kuni Mikami. Musical direction is by Kuni Mikami.
Taking place in a dreamlike riverside shanty town, Kikki & Grandpa & Baby is a tale of virtue and vice that portrays strangers living on The Edge who risk their lives to save each other. The story revolves around Kikki, a rebellious 16 year old leading a perilous homeless existence. She is befriended by a kind elderly man who saves her life and offers her shelter whom she in turn adopts as her "grandpa". When winter arrives, Kikki discovers a baby that has been cruelly left to die and her life is suddenly galvanized in an effort to rescue him and become his surrogate mother. A parade of colorful characters begin to inhabit the lives of Kikki and her new family until their existence is nearly shattered by a petty official who threatens them with eviction...and then offers them an enterprising way out of it.
Yutaka Okada started his distinguished theatrical career by joining The Actors Theatre in Tokyo. Since then he has directed more than 50 plays. A versatile playwright, his work ranges from straight plays to musicals and includes one opera. He is the recipient of the AG Prize, Japan's highest theatrical honor. His first New York engagement was at the famed La MaMa Experimental Theatre Company. After that his musical Tokyo Can Can opened Off-Broadway at the Theater at St. Clements where it garnered positive press attention and was reprised several years later at ATA. He also presented a musical benefit for the UN titled Asia to Africa that was conducted by Lorin Maazel.
Music Director Kuni Mikami came to New York to pursue a jazz career and ended up performing with the Lional Hampton, Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway Orchestras. He has also played for vocalists Melba Joyce, Queen Esther Marrow and Dakota Stanton, among others and has written four books on music including the recent "Living in New York As A Jazz Pianist".
The cast of Kikki & Grandpa & Baby includes Karin Crighton, Ryan NeAl Green, Alex Kafarakis, Geoff Lee, Chevy Kaeo Martinez, Vicki Oceguera , Jalah Williams and Chiho Araki as the Narrator. Music will be performed live by Mihoto Goto (accordion), Evan Schnoll (percussion) with Kuni Mikami on piano and features singer Tomoko Hayakawa.
Kikki & Grandpa & Baby opens at the ATA'S Chernuchin Theater (314 W. 54th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues) on Saturday January 5th and plays through Saturday January 26th. The performance schedule is as follows: Sat. Jan. 5 at 8PM and Sun. Jan. 6 at 3PM, Tues. thru Sat. Jan. 8 thru 12, Jan. 15 thru 19 and Jan. 22 thru 26 at 8PM with matinees on Sat. Jan. 12, 19 & 26 and Sun. Jan. 6, 13 & 20 at 3PM. Tickets are $15. For tickets contact Smart Tix at (212) 868-4444 or go to www.smarttix.com. Go to www.kikkigrandpababy.com for more information.