John Jakala’s discovery of the Bleach musical, beyond being conceptually delightful for its own sake, fills me with cross-nerd wishes. (I love musicals, too.) And I can’t think of a likelier source for an evening of song and dance than the works of Fumi Yoshinaga.
Her stories, particularly Antique Bakery and Flower of Life, are practically musicals already. They’re packed with intriguing characters with distinct voices, they shift in tone from ballad to patter, and they have a quirky improbability that would make for an easy transition from one form to another.
I can’t really think of a composer/lyricist right off hand. Sondheim seems too dark, though if he were in A Little Night Music mode, he might be just right. (Speaking of that, how come we have 7,000 revivals of Gypsy and none for Night Music? Is it because the lead in Night Music doesn’t really need to sing?) The creative team from Avenue Q might be closer to the mark, if they could tone down their satirical tendencies and accentuate their warmer, more humanist tendencies.
Of course, Kaoru Mori’s Emma is at an advantage, already having dancing girls. But surely there’s room on Broadway for both. And you could probably produce about four of Yoshinaga’s contemporary pieces for the cost of a costume epic like Emma.
And you could hardly go wrong with the work of Ai Yazawa. Paradise Kiss has “pop opera” written all over it, and Nana could draw in the Wicked crowd with its strong female friendships, but with a rock score.