New York based actor/singer/dancer Riza Takahashi can currently be seen as “Sophie Kawachi” in the ensemble of “Mean Girls” at the August Wilson theatre. With a book by Tina Fey, and directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, she couldn’t ask for a more incredible Broadway debut!
Originally from Itami, a small town outside the city limits of Osaka in Japan, Riza fell in love with musical theatre at a young age. The idea of someday performing on Broadway quickly became an all-encompassing dream. After years of hard work and exhausting all the performing opportunities in her hometown, she realized if she wanted to make her dream a reality she would have to learn English and eventually make her way to North America.
At the age of 16 she said goodbye to her family in Japan and landed in Langley, British Colombia. She was accepted into a Canadian Performing Arts High School where she taught herself English and was able to concentrate on her training. After high school, she went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from The Hartt School in Connecticut.
Her favorite regional credits since then include The MUNY, TUTS, Music Theatre of Wichita, 5th Avenue Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, and the National Theatre in Washington DC, where she originated the role of “Sophie Kawachi” in the out of town tryout for “Mean Girls.”
When she’s not on stage, she can be found exploring the unique coffee shops throughout Manhattan. She has quickly developed a passion for coffee culture in New York and has gained quite a following through her coffee blog!
She is a proud Japanese with a great love and appreciation for her homeland! It remains a part of her to the core! Keep your eyes peeled during the “Mean Girls” classroom scenes. She spends the majority of them folding paper cranes, an homage to Japan!