Queen-Inspired Theater Performance Opens in Japan as 'Q: A Night at The Kabuki'

Q: A Night At The Kabuki
Katsumi Omori

Q: A Night At The Kabuki

A play inspired by Queen's A Night at The Opera called "Q": A Night at The Kabuki by Japanese theater troupe NODA MAP opened Tuesday (Oct. 8) in Tokyo.

Starring award-winning young stars Suzu Hirose and Jun Shison, the play written and directed by veteran playwright Hideki Noda isn't about the rock legends themselves but a reworking of the Shakespearean tragedy Romeo and Juliet.

The feuding Montague and Capulet families have been replaced by the Heike and Genji clans, warring factions in Japanese history, and the plot is based on the premise that Romeo and Juliet survived their ordeal. Shison and Hirose are cast as the lovers in their youth, while Takaya Kamikawa and Takako Matsu play the starring roles in their older days.

Already an accomplished actor in film and television, 21-year-old Hirose commands the stage as Juliet in her debut theater performance. Breakout heartthrob Shison also brings the love-struck Romeo to life, supported by a solid cast including such names as Naoto Takenaka, Satoshi Hashimoto, Kayo Ise and Aki Hano.

The play came about after the publisher of Queen's catalog in Japan, Sony Music Publishing, approached the band about creating a play visualizing the world depicted in A Night at The Opera. Noda drew inspiration from the album to write the first new NODA MAP production in two-and-a-half years, combining the seemingly incongruent components of 12th century Japan, Queen, and Shakespearean tragedy in a convincing and entertaining way.

All 12 tracks in A Night at The Opera are effectively featured in the production to enhance the understanding of the storyline, while the costumes juxtapose the styles of the band members when the album was first released and 12th century Japan.

"We are thrilled and honored that legendary playwright and director Hideki Noda has chosen to expand on the theatrical aspect of Queen's album A Night at The Opera and actually make it into a real live play," Queen's Brian May said. "How wonderful to be a part of Japanese culture after all these years with what promises to be a new chapter in theatre history in this first year of the new Reiwa era."

"Q": A Night at The Kabuki promises an experience that satisfies both longtime fans of the band and new listeners who discovered their legacy through last year's hit movie Bohemian Rhapsody, albeit in a completely novel fashion. The initial Tokyo run continues until the 15th, then will travel to Osaka and Fukuoka before returning for a month-long engagement in Tokyo again. 

NODA MAP's "Q": A Night at The Kabuki schedule
Oct. 8-15: Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Theater
Oct. 19-27: Osaka, Shinkabukiza
Oct. 31-Nov. 4: Fukuoka, Kitakyushu Performing Arts Center
Nov. 9-Dec. 11: Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Theater