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A J-Pop Star Goes From Music to Musicals

by Robert Michael Poole

She only just left one of Japan’s most popular girl groups, but Ai Takahashi hasn’t wasted any time embarking on a solo venture.

Until Dec. 24, the 25-year-old plays the lead female in “Dance of the Vampires” at Tokyo’s Imperial Garden Theater. The play marks the 100th anniversary of the first Western-style theater in Japan and a return to the stage for the 1997 musical production of Roman Polanski’s original 1967 comedy-horror film. In the story, Professor Abronsius and his young sidekick Alfred set off to the Alps to try to prove that vampires exist, but find themselves in trouble when a local girl Alfred falls in love with is visited by a vampire.