Anime and manga and the bright lights of Broadway don’t typically mix, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be exceptions to this. There are obvious barriers to bringing anime to Broadway, the most obvious being that the audience consuming Broadway musicals and the one consuming anime and manga are far removed from one another. Still, that’s not to say there aren’t some properties that have the broad appeal necessary to bridge that divide. On that note, it was today announced that Moyoco Anno’s Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen would be receiving the American Broadway treatment thanks to Tony Award-winning stage director and choreographer Rob Ashford.
For those less aware of the series, Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen is set in a brothel in 20th century Paris targeted towards clients with perverted desires and headed by Colette. The series glimpses into the lives of Colette and the customers of the brothel, as well as the relationship Colette has with a gigolo named Leon who’s seeing another woman. The series ran from 2013 until 2018 in Feel Young magazine and the series has been made available in English through Crunchyroll.
This adaptation of Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen is the first time a Japanese manga has made it to the Broadway stage, something that Moyoco coupled the announcement by saying she was proud of this and excited to see what the final result would be. Why adapt this manga, though? Rob Ashford gave his own reasons.
This manga is really beautiful. The characters are powerful and vibrant and the story is full of surprises. The protagonist Colette is writing about her hopeless reality in a notebook and rewriting it as a story that will save her from it. There’s a wonderful story for today’s world in here: ‘You have to create your own life’.
An unannounced composer is already creating music for the Broadway adaptation of Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen, which will open sometime after the Broadway theatres have re-opened. In the meantime, in celebration of this announcement, the Studio Khara-developed 2015 anime short film directed by Hideaki Anno has been released on YouTube, which should hopefully tide you over until the musical hits the stage.