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John Caird Directs Concert KNIGHTS' TALE Featuring Tokyo Phil

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The concert has just completed two sold-out runs at Tokyo Metropolitan Theater and Tokyo Opera City.

John Caird Directs Concert KNIGHTS' TALE Featuring Tokyo Phil

The 2018 critically acclaimed stage musical A Knights' Tale - written and directed by John Caird (LES MISERABLES, Jane Eyre, Nicholas Nickleby, Daddy Long Legs), music and lyrics by Paul Gordon (Jane Eyre, Sense and Sensibility, Daddy Long Legs), Japanese translation by Maoko Imai Caird, and music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Brad Haak (Mary Poppins, An American in Paris, Daddy Long Legs) - has just completed two sold-out runs at Tokyo Metropolitan Theater and Tokyo Opera City concert halls in a brand new concert version directed by Caird.

A Knights' Tale in Symphonic Concert featured the premiere 2018 stage production cast, as well as its original leading men: Japanese pop icon Koichi Domoto (star of Endless Shock at the Imperial Theatre since 2000) and stage theatre star Yoshio Inoue (Miss Saigon, Daddy Long Legs, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.) The production also debuted several brand new songs penned by Gordon and Caird and translated by Imai; as well as brand new symphonic orchestrations by Haak - played by the renowned Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra as well as a complement of traditional Japanese instruments.

In the current uncertain climate drastically impacting the creative arts the world over, the opening of A Knights' Tale in Symphonic Concert felt like a particularly momentous achievement for producers Toho Co., Ltd as well as for the socially-distanced 21-member cast and 50-member complement of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Even at a reduced audience capacity, Japanese theatre fans were thrilled to attend one of the very few large-scale live performances presented in Tokyo since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March. At the opening performance, stars Domoto and Inoue issued a few remarks from the stage; noting that the triumph of A Knights' Tale in Symphonic Concert will usher in a new era of creative performances throughout the country and also hoping that the achievement would offer some hope to performers and audiences around the world.

Indeed throughout the planning and rehearsal process for the concert, the goal of actually reaching opening night was never assured as around 150 actors, musicians, stage crew and production team members navigated the new reality of live performances in a world still greatly impacted by Covid-19. Working closely with local health officials, the Toho producing team implemented hitherto never attempted health and safety protocols for the entire company that included staggered rehearsal calls, adjusted performance times and length, frequent Covid testing, social distancing for all the performers and musicians as well as increased attention to personal hygiene, mask-wearing, and frequent fumigation of the rehearsal spaces.

Due to international travel restrictions put in place by most governments, the 3-week rehearsal period was conducted live via 3-way video conferencing between Tokyo, New York City and London.

Toho plans to remount the stage version of A Knights' Tale in 2021.

"The fact that the concert version of this musical, originally showed at the country's prided Imperial Theatre, with a world class orchestra, in a world class opera house, was truly fantastic. Where usually the celebrated musicians descends upon, the celebrated writer, Shakespeare descended upon us. This piece created by the modern writer and director John's work, along with the Paul and Brad's music not only gave courage to the audience, but the entire Japanese theatrical world. During these hard times, I am extremely delighted that we are able to give the world the message of 'peace and equality' through this show." - Atsuo Ikeda, Managing Director of Toho Co., Ltd.

"It made me so happy to be able to work on Knights' Tale over the last few weeks. Despite the lockdown and having to conduct all the rehearsals from 6000 miles away through zoom, it was such a pleasure to be virtually united with my dear friends Koichi and Yoshio and all the rest of our lovely Japanese cast. The thought of all being for-real-together-again for the revival in Tokyo next year fills me with glee." - John Caird, Director and Book Writer

"I'm grateful to be part of this thrilling concert production that has shown the world how durable we are as artists and how important it is for art and music to thrive during these challenging times. Bravo to the entire Knight's Tale team for their perseverance and dedication to this production." - Paul Gordon, Music and Lyrics

(Based on Teseida by Giovanni Boccaccio, The Knights' Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer, and Two Noble Kinsmen by John Fletcher and William Shakespeare, Caird and Gordon's Knights' Tale centers around Palamon and Arcite, two cousins serving as knights in Thebes with the shared value of pride, honor, and friendship. Imprisoned by Athens through a war, the two knights find Emilia, a beautiful sister to Theseus, the king of Athens, through a window in a jail, and both fall in love with her. A twisted fate leads the two knights to become rivals in love, eventually forcing them to enter a duel with their love, honor, and lives at stake.)

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