GKIDS announced today that it has acquired the North American audiovisual distribution rights for Spirited Away: Live on Stage, filmed during the hit production’s 2022 run at the historic Imperial Theatre in Tokyo, Japan. GKIDS will release the filmed stage production theatrically in spring 2023.
The stage play is based on Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning animated feature and is adapted and directed for the stage by Tony Award-winner John Caird, Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, who gained international acclaim for adapting and directing the world premiere of the landmark production Les Misérables.
GKIDS will release two separate filmed performances of the production, starring Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi double-cast as the lead heroine, Chihiro. Character actor Mari Natsuki, who voiced the sorceress Yubaba and her twin sister Zeniba in the original motion picture, returns to her original role, double-cast with voice actor Romi Park.
They are accompanied by a star-studded cast in the key roles: Kotaro Daigo and Hiroki Miura as Haku, Koharu Sugawara and Tomohiko Tsujimoto No Face, Miyu Sakihi and Fu Hinami as Lin/Chihiro’s Mother, Tomorowo Taguchi and Satoshi Hashimoto as Kamaji, Kenya Osumi as Aniyaku/Chihiro’s Father, Sunao Yoshimura as Chichiyaku and Obata no Oniisan as Aogaeru.
“We are thrilled to offer this unique opportunity for Studio Ghibli fans in America to experience the stage production that wowed Japanese press and audiences last year,” said GKIDS’ President David Jesteadt. “This imaginative stage adaptation by the legendary John Caird, featuring two wonderful performances by lead actors Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi, helps bring to life one of the greatest films of all time in a dazzling new way.”
Synopsis: Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award®-winning animated feature film comes to life in this first-ever stage adaptation, full of dazzling sets, captivating musical numbers, and wondrous puppets of beloved characters. Adapted and directed by Tony Award®-winner John Caird (Les Misérables), two unique casts and performances were filmed during the show’s acclaimed 2022 run at Tokyo’s historic Imperial Theatre, featuring Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi as Chihiro.
While traveling to their new home, Chihiro and her family stumble into a world of fantastic spirits ruled over by the sorceress Yubaba. When her parents are turned into pigs and she is put to work in a magical bathhouse, Chihiro must use her wits to survive in this strange new place, find a way to free her parents, and return to the normal world.
Maoko Imai helped with the adaptation of Miyazaki’s original film. The stage production also features the music by film composer Joe Hisashi, orchestrated and arranged by Brad Haak with associate music supervision support from Conor Keelan. The magical story is brought to life with sets designed by Jon Bausor, costumes by Sachiko Nakahara and over 50 puppets, designed by Toby Olié (The Little Mermaid 2012 for Walt Disney Theatrical, Pinocchio 2017 for the National Theatre, Animal Farm 2022 U.K. Tour).
Spirited Away: Live on Stage was created in association with Studio Ghibli, and presented by Toho Co., Ltd. The NorAm distribution deal was negotiated between GKIDS and Toho.