Cast and Staff
Seiko Niizuma
Seiko was born in Aichi prefecture, Japan. From the age of eleven, she spent nearly seven years in Thailand. After graduating from International School Bangkok, she entered Sophia University in Tokyo to study International Relations and Law. While a student at Sophia, she was discovered by a talent agency while singing in a live performance. Her career in show business began in January 2002, as a reporter in the TBS TV program, “The King’s Brunch.”
In summer 2003, among 5000 others who auditioned, she was chosen to play Eponine in the Japanese production of the musical, “Les Miserables.” This marks her stage debut. It was an extremely rare case, as she had no formal training in singing and had no acting experience. Her second stage appearance was in the four-month-long-run production of “Miss Saigon,” where she played the lead role, Kim. Other stage credits include the Ongakuza musical “21C: Mademoiselle Mozart,” in which she played the lead role, Mozart. She also performed Renee, the lead role in Yukio Mishima’s play, “Madame de Sade.” She was awarded the 31st Kazuo Kikuta Drama Award for her excellent performance in the above two shows.
Currently, she is playing Margrid Arnaud, the key character in the world premier musical, “Marie Antoinette.” Her highly acclaimed acting and singing lead her to receive the 2006 Award for Excellence in the field of Dramatic Performance at the Agency for Cultural Affairs Arts Festival.
Her Official Web Site address is:'
Yuka Takara
YUKA TAKARA is originally from Okinawa, Japan. She is currently on Broadway in the revival of A Chorus Line playing the role of Connie! Original Broadway Casts: Pacific Overtures directed by Amon Miyamoto (2004 revival), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival u/s Mei-Li), Mamma Mia! (u/s Lisa). National tour: Flower Drum Song (Mei-Li). Also FDS Workshop, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Hair and Bye Bye Birdie at City Center Encores!, The Fantasticks (Luisa) at Sacramento Music Circus, ACL (Connie) at Geva. Television; "Law & Order:SVU" and "Ed." In 2005, Yuka launched her recording career as a singer/songwriter in Okinawa releasing her debut single "Imanara sunaoni nareruyo." Her first album "Goin' Home" was released in the summer of 2006. Yuka would like to thank her family and friends. For more information please visit (English site) and (Japanese site).
Peter Matthew Smith
Guest Singer
Peter Matthew Smith is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He was last seen on Broadway as Motel the Tailor in Fiddler on the Roof with Harvey Fierstein. Other Broadway credits include: Hairspray (Corny u/s), Rent (Roger, Mark u/s), and Mamma Mia (Sky and Eddie u/s). Peter would like to thank his friends and family for all of their love and support.
Caori Covayashi
Lyrics / Conceptualization / Direction
Lyricist and Director of Concerts
Caori was born in Kyoto in 1977.
At age eighteen, she founded the Kyoto Philomusica Orchestra, which gained public attention in the region as the youngest civilian orchestra in Japan. Due to recognition of her outstanding achievements, in 1997, she was granted a scholarship to study as an intern at the New York Philharmonic.
In 2000, after graduating from Doshisha University, she moved to Tokyo to be a stage director. At first she became the assistant of director/choreographer, Tamae Sha. In 2002, she joins Toho and since then she has been involved in the creation of musicals, shows and straight plays.
Since 2003, she has been active as a lyricist and director of concerts. Her main projects are the 2005 production of “The Prayer III (performances in Tokyo Globe Theatre and Osaka Nanba Hatch)” of which she is responsible for the lyrics, conceptualization and direction. In the same year, she wrote the lyrics and put together the classical musical “Nemuranai Oto (Sleepless Sound),” starring Asato Shizuki. The musical was performed in Tokyo Aoyama Theatre, Nagoya Meitetsu Hall, Osaka Drama City and Fukuoka Mielparque Hall. She also wrote the lyrics for the CD “Nemuranai Ai (Sleepless Love)/ Andante Cantabile” (Columbia Music Entertainment).
Since 2006, Caori has been increasingly active as a lyricist, and she has written lyrics for singers, and is now spreading her range of creative work from the theater industry to the music industry.
GiHieh Lee
GiHieh Lee (Composer) is a composer and translator from Seoul, Korea. She won a 2004 Jonathan Larson Award and was a Musical Theatre Fellow in 2001-2002 at The Dramatists' Guild of America. Her musicals include: Shakespeare: The Remix (Book/Rap/Lyrics by Aaron Jafferis, commissioned by TheatreWorks, Palo Alto), Tock Tick (Book and Lyrics by Tim Nevits, which got a workshop at Second Stage Theatre in June 2002 and won a NYU Frederick Lowe Theatre Reading in October 2003, both directed by Graciela Daniele), Dreamland (Book and Lyrics by Robert Frisch, developed with Scott Schwartz.) Spamlet (Book, Lyrics and Direction by Anton Dudley). Other works include: Vocal Arrangement for Elegies: A Song Cycle by William Finn and incidental music for plays including Enchanted Pig, Greater Messapia, and Cuchulain Cycle. Her work as a translator of musicals from English to Korean includes the current Korean productions of Man of La Mancha and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, as well as upcoming Korean productions of Pippin and The Producers. Current composing projects include an upcoming musical Leaving Neverland (with Heejun Lee) in Seoul, Korea, and a song cycle with William Finn. Her work has been performed in various places from Carnegie Hall, NYC to some nameless tiny venue in Seoul, and by many people, from Betty Buckley to herself. M.F.A: The Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.
Hijiri Kuwano
Since graduating from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Hijiri has been active as a leader of the strings section, a solo violinist studio musician, and support musician of top artist.
In 1991, he offered his music to the concept album of Kenji Ishikawa’s photo collection “Moon Light Blue,” and was well received. Since then, he began working as a composer and arranger. He has arranged music for various artists, and has offered his music to concept albums, films, commercials and TV dramas.
In 2002, he released his first solo album, “Toho-Genbunroku (Fiddler's Philosophy)” from KICK UP Label.
In 2004, he collaborated with Yoshikazu Suo in composing the music for the TBS animation “Bokyaku no Senritsu (The Melody of Oblivion),” and released a soundtrack from Victor Entertainment.
Hibiki Inamoto
Hibiki was born in Osaka in 1977, and debuted on stage at the age of five. Since he was a young child, he has given more than 100 on-stage performances in a year. At eighteen, he went to study at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich, Germany. His concert was broadcasted live throughout Europe and was critically acclaimed. In 2000, he encounters the incredible New York Steinway model and begins to carry his special order piano to concert halls across the nation. In 2002, along with actor, Masachika Ichimura, he put on the play, “Umi no Ueno Pianist (The Pianist on the Sea)” in which he was the music director, composer and performer. The play had sixty successful runs and caused a considerable stir. He also performed for the “Benishidare (Red Weeping Cherry Blossom) Concert” at Heian Jingu Shrine in Kyoto, and drew 5,000 audiences creating a record high. Hibiki has also composed the theme songs for the World Expo Japan’s Female Statue Exhibition Hall and the Mori Art Museum Picasso Exhibition. Since 2004, he has performed with top musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic and has received recognition with his accurate technique.
His appearance in mediums such as TV and newspapers are increasing rapidly.
Last September, he took part in a duel live, against tap dancer, Kazunori Kumagai called “Tapman×Pianoman×Movieman.” And just at the perfect timing when the two young and energetic artists’ duel was the talk of the town, he released the album, “Pianoman.”
He will be the music director, composer and performer for the film “Nagai Sanpo (A Long Walk)” by director Eiji Okuda, starring Ken Ogata.
Christopher D. Littlefield
Music Director / Piano
New York: The Screams of Kitty Genovese (NYMF 2006), The Yellow Wood (York Theatre), Unlock'd (York Theatre), Earthlings. Off-Broadway: Shout! The Mod Musical (sub). Worked with Malcolm Gets and Cyndi Lauper. Accompanist at The Juilliard School and New York University. Regional: Millbrook Playhouse, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Jason Robert Brown masterclass. Thanks to CC and HK.
Akio Miyazaki
Born in 1956, Akio started to play the piano at age six, and the clarinet at age twelve. In 1978, he entered the Miyazaki University’s Special Music Course specializing in clarinet. He then takes up the saxophone. In 1981, he entered Berklee College of Music and after graduating from the saxophone department, returns to Japan and begins a career as a studio musician.
He has produced the following CD albums: Carl Flyvberg’s “Going Home”, Yuko Uno’s “Coffee wa Ai no Kaori (Coffee has the scent of Love)”, Akiko Okuda’s “Jinsei wa Sugiyuku (Life Passes By),” “Aisuru Toki (When I Love),” and “Kaeri Konu Seishun (The Non-Returning Prime),” the soundtrack of “The Wild Bird,” and “River,” both of which were for NHK and “Miracle Shadow.”
Akio has played the saxophone in numerous CD recordings.
He has also produced (composed and arranged) CM songs and appeared on TV on many occasions.
Chieko Matsunami
Chieko was born in Tokyo, in 1978. She started to play the piano at age four. She was a member of the Tokyo Broadcasting Children Chorus Group for ten years. Her interest in music increases as she engages in various forms of musical experiences, such as appearing in concerts and on TV, playing with orchestras, and performing modern music. She studied harmonics and music composition, and in 1997 entered the Toho College of Music where she majored in composition. She graduated in 2001, and from in 2002, she went on to study at Berklee College of Music with a scholarship. At Berklee, she majored in Jazz composition and film scoring, and learned various styles of music composition, film scoring and composition using computers. While a student, she actively performed her own and others’ new compositions, and was granted the George Delerue Scholorship. In 2004, she graduated with a diploma in film scoring. In 2005, she returned to Japan and began her career as freelance musician. In 2006, she released and album with members of the chorus group, Little Carol, of which she is the performer and arranger. Currently, she is mainly active in composing and arranging classical style based music, and at the same time engages in music sheet preparation and producing film and theater music.