Back Stage Report: Big River

The Tokyo International Players present the award winning musical “Big River – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

*Photos & Translation by Rodger Sono


Look to this segment of MET Entertainment for the latest and hottest news of what’s happening all around Tokyo.

MET recently had a chance to sit in on a rehearsal for Tokyo International Players (TIP) latest production, the Tony Award-winning musical, “Big River” The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn staged at the Sun Mall in Shinjuku May 19th-the 22nd.
Readers may remember our report last month on TIP’s production of “The Language Archive” The Tokyo International Players, founded in 1896 is the oldest volunteer-run English Theater company in Japan, already into their 119th season and still going strong with several productions planned out for this year.



I was kindly invited to observe the makings of the show I found ourselves no longer in a confined rehearsal space, but rather, whimsically whisked away to the banks of the Mississippi River loafted by the music and lyrics to the time and place of Huckleberry Finn and the Deep South. The stage was filled with a marvelous cast of singers who have worked diligently at perfecting their dialects and verbatim.


Nowhere is this commitment to authenticity more evident than to watch the shows director, Hannah Grace, move about the rehearsal hall from one end of the stage to the other tuning lines and guiding her cast in the biggest production of her directorial career. Her previous directorial accomplishment having been TIP’s production of “Night Must Fall”. Hannah is a board member of TIP and is most well known for her portrayal of Scott-sensei in NHK’s popular series “Hanako and Anne.”


Notable performances are expected from Martin Leroux as Huckleberry Finn and Ra Weir as the runaway slave, Jim. In my mind I saw the entire cast’s depiction of the play is as good as the original book and exactly how the author had intended it to be seen.


Deep into their sixth week of rehearsals I’m sure their efforts will pay off on opening night when audiences are sweep away into the theater magic that is “Big River”.


Tickets are on sale but going quickly. Be sure to reserve your seats early because you will not want to miss this adventure! Japanese subtitles will also be displayed at each showing.


“Big River – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

Date: May 19 – 22, 2016
Location: Theater Sun Mall
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo Shinjuku 1-19-10 Sun Mall Crest B1
(Nearest station: Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line Shinjuku Gyoen-mae Station) *Click here for map
Ticket handling: Tokyo International Players
Entrance fee: adult 4,500 yen, student 2,500 yen
※ 3,800 yen Advance Purchase until April 30
※ Performance is in English, but please be assured that you marked with Japanese subtitles

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