YUKA TAKARA was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan. At the age
of 5, after being invited to a friend's dance recital, Yuka was "bit by
the bug" and began her formal training in classical ballet. Yuka
continued to dance and teach ballet in her native Okinawa until she
left for college, to Virginia, where she studied as a dance major.
1998, Yuka moved to New York City to pursue a career in dance, which led her to the world of theatre. Her big break came in the
summer of 2000 when she was cast in the pre-Broadway workshop
for the revival of "Flower Drum Song." That fall she was cast in the
Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the following year would make her
Broadway debut as an original cast member in "Mamma Mia!" the hit
musical featuring the music of ABBA. In 2002, Yuka left "Mamma Mia!" to
join the Broadway cast of "Flower Drum Song" where she understudied Lea
Salonga in the lead role of Mei-Li, a role Yuka would take on for the
First National Tour to rave reviews. In 2004 Yuka was cast in the
Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's "Pacific Overtures"
celebrated Japanese director Amon Miyamoto. In 2006, she starred as
Connie Wong as an original cast member in the current Broadway revival
of "A Chorus Line." She was most recently seen on the Broadway stage as Alexi Darling in the Tony winning musical RENT.
was also in
2004 that Yuka would venture into persuing her music career. She had
toyed with the idea for quite some time and had been writing songs for
years but the project finally came to fruition with the
collaboration of friend, fellow actor and musician, Richard Ogawa
(who she coincidentally met as a fellow cast member during the New York workshop of "Flower Drum
Song.") In early 2005 Yuka was selected as a finalist to perform in a
talent search/showcase by YWA Music Inc. and Amedori at the infamous
CBGB Lounge. She took the grand prize, performing songs co-written by
Yuka, Richard Ogawa and Cristal Snow.
Later that year Yuka
released her first single in Okinawa, imanara sunaoni nareruyo, which
was used locally in a commercial for a wedding hall. In November she performed
along side some of Okinawa's most celebrated bands including BEGIN and
Mongol 800 in Sound Rainbow, an outdoor charity event celebrating 60
years after the war, proceeds going to tsunami victims and their
In 2006, Yuka released her first full-length album 'Goiní Home'. In 2007, she was the recipient of an Outstanding Individual Performance award at the 2007 NYMF Awards for Excellence for her role as Gwen Davies in the New York Premiere of The Yellow Wood.
IN 2008, her sophmore album 'free to fly' was released in Okinawa and is currently available at the U.S. iTunes store, along with her a capella cover album, 'naked voice'.
In spring of 2010, Yuka organized a benefit concert entitled "Okinawa for Haiti" in her native Okinawa featuring 15 celebrated local artists. Later that fall she released her latest album 'universal u', an acoustic
album she recorded with guitarist Toshiro Kumaki, which features the "Okinawa for Haiti" version of 'free to fly and the anthem, 'Stand Up, Okinawa!!'