Japan's Ryoko Yonekura Cancels Return Engagement in Broadway's Chicago | Playbill

Broadway News Japan's Ryoko Yonekura Cancels Return Engagement in Broadway's Chicago

The Tony-winning revival will soon celebrate 26 years on Broadway.

Ryoko Yonekura

Japanese actor Ryoko Yonekura, who was scheduled to play a limited return engagement in the Broadway production of the Tony-winning revival of Chicago November 7-20 at the Ambassador Theatre, has canceled that stint under doctor's orders due to a lower back injury.

Yonekura will also be unable to star in the upcoming Japan tour of the musical, which will be presented December 14-31 at the Tokyo International Forum Hall C. The tour will feature principals from both the West End and cast members who continue to tour worldwide.

In 2008 Yonekura portrayed Roxie in the Japanese production of Chicago; she subsequently made her Broadway debut in that part in 2012 and returned in 2017 and 2019. She has had an extensive career on stage and on screen, including playing surgeon Michiko Daimon in the Japanese TV series Doctor X.

The Broadway company currently features  Angelica Ross as Roxie Hart,  Amra Faye-Wright  as Velma Kelly,  Brandon Victor Dixon  as Billy Flynn, Charity Angel Dawson  as Matron “Mama” Morton,  Evan Harrington  as Amos Hart, and  R. Lowe  as Mary Sunshine. 

The ensemble includes David Bushman, Jennifer Dunne, Jessica Ernest, Jeff Gorti, Arian Keddell, Mary Claire King, Joseph London, Barrett Martin, Sharon Moore, Drew Nellessen, Celina Nightengale, Brian O'Brien, Denny Paschall, Jermaine R. Rembert, Rachel Shur, Michael Scirrotto, Christine Cornish Smith , and  Brian Spitulnik.

The revival of Chicago, which will celebrate its 26th anniversary on Broadway November 14, began life as one of the three annual Encores! presentations offered by City Center. The musical opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in November 14, 1996, where it remained through February 1997. The musical transferred to the Shubert Theatre, and played that house through January 26, 2003. The revival reopened at the Ambassador Theatre January 29 that year.

Since its debut in 1996, Chicago has played in 36 countries and been seen by 33 million people worldwide. It is now the second-longest running show in Broadway history (after The Phantom of the Opera).

READ: How the Chicago Costumes Have Evolved Over 25 Years

With a book by the late Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander, and lyrics by Ebb, Chicago features direction by Walter Bobbie, choreography by the late Ann Reinking, set design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design by Ken Billington, sound design by Scott Lehrer, and casting by Stewart/Whitley.

The current production, produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical in 1997 as well as awards for actors Bebe Neuwirth and James Naughton, director Bobbie, lighting designer Billington, and Reinking. The original production was directed and choreographed by the late Fosse.

See Photos of Angelica Ross, Amra-Faye Wright, and Brandon Victor Dixon in Chicago

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