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Kabuki in New York, 1900-1969: the developing American interest and response Thornbury, Barbara Ellen


American acquaintance with Kabuki began before World War II, although sustained interest did not begin to develop until after the war. In fact, Kabuki became known in the United States largely because a number of influential American authors and theatre people responded enthusiastically to this Japanese theatre form, which they had seen during the Occupation. On returning to America, these people wrote about Kabuki and made efforts to bring a troupe on a visit to New York City and other parts of the country. Subsequently, the Azuma Kabuki Dancers and Musicians came in 1954 and again in 1955-56, and the Grand Kabuki visited in 1960 and 1969. Focusing on New York, the paper outlines the history of Kabuki performances in America and traces the development of interest, mainly by showing how those writing in newspapers and popular magazines responded to Kabuki over the years. Despite problems of diplomacy and the technical difficulties in transporting a" full-sized troupe abroad, a wide base of interest had been established by the time of the last troupe's visit in 1969.

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