Susan Kikuchi passed away on November 14 in Manhattan. She was a former dancer in Martha Graham’s company and was well-known both domestically and abroad for her superb stagings of Graham’s dances and her revivals of the Jerome Robbins musical “The King and I.” She was 74.
Ms. Kikuchi also organized, directed, or choreographed 15 renditions of “The King And I” over the years, including one that was performed in the round at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Yuriko was cast by Robbins in the original production of “The King and I” to play the part of runaway slave Eliza in “The Small House of Uncle Thomas,” a faux-naf dance adaptation of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that is presented to King Mongkut of Siam during the course of the musical. Ms. Kikuchi and her brother Lawrence both performed in the musical when they were young. She portrayed Eliza and other characters as an adult.
She is survived by her brother and daughter, Cassey Kikuchi Kivnick, in addition to her husband.
On October 4, 1948, Susan Lynn Kikuchi was born in Brooklyn to her parents Charles and Yuriko (Amemiya) Kikuchi. After being liberated from different federal internment camps where Americans of Japanese descent were held during World War II, her parents met in New York City.
The Kikuchi Diary: Chronicle From an American Concentration Camp, a memoir by Mr. Kikuchi, a psychiatric social worker, details his experiences. In 1944, Yuriko, who had training in modern dance, joined Graham’s company. Graham passed away in 1991.
Susan Kikuchi was married to her husband Eric Kivnick. The couple has a daughter named, Cassey Kikuchi Kivnick.