The highly anticipated adapted stage performance of Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning animated feature Spirited Away has wrapped its debut run at the Imperial Theater in Tokyo, bringing in a full house of attendees. The production is now set to tour four additional cities in Japan over the next few months:
- April 13-14 – Osaka, Umeda Arts Theater
- May 1-28 – Fukuoka, Hakataza theater
- June 6-12 – Sapporo, Sapporo Cultural Arts Theater hitaru
- June 22-July 4 – Nagoya, Misonoza Theater
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 Spirited Away theatrical production was brought to life by the acclaimed performances of Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi double cast as the lead, Chihiro. Mari Natsuki, who voice starred in the original film, and Romi Park, both play Yubaba the sorceress — whose stage interpretation requires as many as five puppeteers.
Koharu Sugawara and Tomohiko Tsujimoto, who are double-cast as No Face (Kaonashi), perform the role with solely their own 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. The boiler room operator is played by Tomorowo Taguchi and Satoshi Hashimoto.
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 longtime Miyazaki collaborator Joe Hisaishi with orchestration by Brad Haak and Conor Keelan, the stage production earned both commercial success and critical acclaim.
The cast also features Kotaro Daigo and Hiroki Miura as Haku, Miyu Sakini and Fu Hinami as Lin and Chihiro’s mother, Kenya Osumi as Aniyaku and Chihiro’s father, Sunao Yoshimura as Chichiyaku and comedian Obata no Oniisan (Kazuki Obata) as the frog spirit Aogaeru.
The original 2001 masterpiece by Studio Ghibli co-founder Miyaazaki, Spirited Away has enjoyed worldwide success since its release and earned the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The story of a young girl put to work in a magical bathhouse for spirits and demons continues to enchant fans around the world.
Spirited Away is part of Toho Co., Ltd.’s 90th anniversary celebrations this year. Visit tohostage.com to learn more about the production.