We were VERY excited when it was announced a few years ago that they were producing a LIVE stage version of acclaimed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s classic film, SPIRITED AWAY. It’s the 2001 Oscar winning animated film about a young Japanese girl named Chihiro who finds herself in a magical spirit world after her parents make a wrong turn in route to their new home. Chihiro’s parents are transformed into pigs and she’s the only one who can save them with the help of a few new spirit friends. For fans of Japanese animation and the films of Miyazaki in particular, Spirited Away is usually at the top of the list when it comes to favorite films.
It was also a film that seemed both right and challenging for any kind of live stage adaptation…recreating a world of spirits, magic and beautiful cinematic imagery isn’t easy (or cheap). But apparently no expenses were spared because when the stage production debuted in 2022, Miyazaki fans from around the world were stunned by the amazing images that faithfully recreated the look of the film. It was a huge smash hit and wisely, it was filmed and now that film is making its debut in cinemas around the world…but only for a limited series of screenings.
GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, announced 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. 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, accompanied by voice actor Romi Park. They are accompanied by a star-studded cast of Japan’s finest actors.
Fortunately for Seattle fans, this film will screen in Seattle area theaters in April/May. Go to https://gkids.com/films/spirited-away-live-on-stage/tickets/ to snag tickets!