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Friday, May 18, 2012

Tale of two men tickling the ivories couldn't be funnier — or more true


By HAN ZHANG
Staff writer

Ted Dykstra, one of the two creators of the musical play "2 Pianos 4 Hands," once joked that he and partner Richard Greenblatt's greatest fear was to one day be recognized as actors who are "quite good" at piano, and pianists who are "fair" at acting. It's safe to say that either way, they're entertainers.

For the past 16 years the production has toured more than 100 cities around the world, including a stint in Tokyo in 2004.

But in "2 Pianos 4 Hands," the piano arguably plays the lead role both in terms of theme and instrumentation. In fact, Dykstra and Greenblatt aren't always the ones up on stage, sometimes leaving it to other actors. On their upcoming Japan tour, though, the two will reprise their roles.

The story is a semi-autobiographical tale of the pursuit of stardom, the hard work that comes along with it, and coming to terms with not being able to achieve your dream. The production's popularity across different borders suggests that pushy parents and crazy teachers exist in every country.

"2 Pianos 4 Hands" features music by artists such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Billy Joel, and also includes an original piece by Greenblatt.

"2 Pianos 4 Hands" runs through May 20 at Nissay Theatre in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (ticket prices and show times vary). The play moves on to Denryoku Hall in Sendai on May 23 (7 p.m.; ¥6,300); Meitetsu Hall in Nagoya on May 26 (12:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.; ¥8,500) and Osaka Shochiku Za from June 1 to 3 (ticket prices and show times vary). For more information, visit www.2pianos4hands.com or www.2pianos4hands-japan.com.


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