Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki Theatrical Production

mllNY

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This didn't really fit anywhere but any members based in Japan may be interested in this!

Toho Co., Ltd. is delighted to announce the world premiere of a new theatrical production based on Studio Ghibli’s Oscar-winning film SPIRITED AWAY (original title: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi). This production will be the first ever stage adaptation of the 2001 animated masterpiece by Hayao Miyazaki which became a massive box office hit in Japan and earned worldwide acclaim including Academy Award for Best Animated Feature of 2002. The Tony and Olivier Award-winning director and Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, John Caird (Les Misérables, Nicholas Nickleby, Daddy Long Legs), who has been an admirer of the film for years will write and direct the stage adaptation.

Chihiro, the heroine of the story, is a 10-year-old girl moving with her parents to their new home. They lose themselves in a mysterious world of fantastic spirits, ruled over by the sorceress Yubaba, who turns Chihiro’s parents into pigs. After a series of bizarre and dangerous challenges, including the loss of her identity, Chihiro must use all her wits to survive in this strange place and return to the human world. The story of her struggle and resilience is a timeless gift to all of us, but especially to those striving to live through these present difficult times.

“I feel so excited and privileged to be working on the first ever stage adaptation of Sen to Chihiro. I have for many years now regarded Miyazaki Hayao as one of the pre-eminent geniuses of world cinema and the greatest ever proponent of the anime form.

I share a belief in all the most dominant themes of Miyazaki's work, themes that are at the core of the Sen to Chihiro world - care for the environment, reverence for nature, a belief in the force of the good spirits within us and the empowerment of young women and men to change the world for the better.

I am looking forward with great pleasure to deepening my partnership with my dear friends at Toho through a new relationship with Studio Ghibli and Suzuki Toshi0, their most generous and inventive lead producer.

The double casting in the part of Chihiro will give me the chance to work again with the brilliant and charming Kamishiraishi Mone, with whom I had such an exciting collaboration on Knights’ Tale, and now affords me the same opportunity with the greatly talented, vivacious and moving young actress Hashimoto Kanna.

I must have spent a thousand hours working on Sen to Chihiro and look forward to spending many thousands more.” said John Caird.

“We, Hayao and I, both liked John’s vision. He is a person we can trust. I am looking forward to seeing Chihiro grow on stage under his direction,” said Studio Ghibli’s Toshio Suzuki, the film producer of SPIRITED AWAY. “I could tell how much he adores this story from his delighted face when I gave him a No-Face (Kaonashi) piggy-bank.”

Chihiro will be double-cast by Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi. Kanna, who has starred and appeared in many films, will be making her long-awaited stage debut. Mone, known internationally for voicing in the film ‘Your Name’, has been delighting Japanese audiences with her versatile acting and singing talents.

SPIRITED AWAY will be presented at Toho’s Imperial Theatre located at 3-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo from February through March, 2022. The production will then tour to Osaka (April), Fukuoka (May), Sapporo (June), Nagoya (June and July).
 

mllNY

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The highly anticipated adapted stage performance from the film “SPIRITED AWAY” was brought to life at the Imperial Theater in Tokyo, bringing in a full house of attendees. This timeless masterpiece was recreated by the director of Les Misérables, John Caird, who brought iconic scenes to the stage with amazing performances with 32 performers and over 50 puppets designed by Toby Olié. The production is now set to tour four additional cities in Japan: Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo and Nagoya:

· April 13-24, 2022 at Umeda Arts Theater (Osaka)
· May 1-28, 2022 at Hakataza Theater (Fukuoka)
· June 6-12, 2022 at Sapporo Cultural Arts Theater hitaru (Sapporo)
· June 22-July 4, 2022 at Misonoza Theater (Nagoya)

Turning “SPIRITED AWAY” into a theatrical production was achieved through the acclaimed performances of Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi both playing the same lead role as Chihiro. Similarly, Mari Natsuki, derived from the original film, and Romi Park, are double-casted as Yubaba, the sorceress who play as many as five performers. Koharu Sugawara and Tomohiko Tsujimoto, who are double-cast as No Face (Kaonashi), play the role with solely body movement until No Face runs wild and the character is magnificently represented by as many as 12 performers. In an iconic scene, Kamaji's arms span 19-feet long and are beautifully performed by as many as six actors.

Due to Covid-19 restraints, all rehearsals were conducted remotely at Toho Studios, which was developed for film shooting. With impressive set design by Jon Bausor, expressive performances and live orchestra for beautiful original scoring by Joe Hisaishi with orchestration by Brad Haak and Conor Keelan, the stage production earned both commercially and critically acclaimed success as the performances have been well-received and is continuing to run with incredible excitement.

“SPIRITED AWAY” is a timeless masterpiece by director Hayao Miyazaki and has enjoyed worldwide success since its release in 2001, subsequently winning the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature. The blockbuster film has been applauded as a spirited masterpiece full of magical moments, immersive characters and brilliant storytelling by critics and fans around the world.

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All above photos used with permission; (c) Toho Co., Ltd.
 
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