Last year, the beloved animated film Spirited Away (2001) made its live-action debut on the stage of Tokyo's Imperial Theatre. Adapted and directed by two-time Tony Award winner John Caird and Maoko Imai, the play had a month-long engagement in Tokyo before touring all over Japan. Now, American audiences will have a chance to see this unique play, as filmed performances of Spirited Away: Live on Stage will be getting a theatrical release later this year.
Gkids, the North American distributor of the Studio Ghibli Collection, as well as other anime works like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Belle, announced the acquisition of the rights to the Spirited Away stage play. The company will release two different performances, featuring the play's two different casts, led by Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi, who play the main character, Chihiro.
While a recorded version of the stage play is as close as American audiences will currently get to seeing a live-action version of Spirited Away in the States, the theatrical release is still better than nothing, and it allows the performance to reach a wider audience. This is also common practice to record live theater and then release it to international viewers. In fact, London's National Theatre records its performances and then distributes them around the world. With dedicated camerawork and careful editing, filmed productions allow spectators to marvel at details that sometimes go unnoticed even from the best seats in the house.
Considered Studio Ghibli‘s magnum opus, Spirited Away tells the story of Chihiro, a 10-year-old girl who must save her parents after they are turned into pigs by a witch named Yubaba. From there, Chihiro goes on a magic-filled adventure featuring a cast of enchanting characters. While translating a visually complex animated film to the stage sounded like a daunting endeavor, the creative team brought it to life with the help of a talented team of production and set designers, 32 performers, and more than 50 puppets designed by Toby Olié, whose work on the National Theatre's production of War Horse revolutionized puppetry for live theatre.
Spirited Away: Live on Stage is slated to arrive at movie theaters in the U.S. this spring. To stay up to date with release dates and theaters that will be showing it, be sure to follow Gkids on Instagram and Twitter.
The filmed version of the Spirited Away stage play will get a theatrical release in the U.S. this spring.
GKIDS is proud to announce the acquisition of North American rights to SPIRITED AWAY: Live On Stage.
GKIDS will release two filmed performances of the production in theaters, featuring both of the show's main casts, this spring.https://t.co/7zqcQYmE9n pic.twitter.com/ULMbQzxJIF
— GKIDS Films (@GKIDSfilms) February 8, 2023
Gkids, the North American distributor of the Studio Ghibli Collection, acquired the rights to Spirited Away: Live on Stage, and will be releasing two separate performances showcasing the play's two different casts.
Gkids: Website | Instagram | Twitter
All images via Toby Olié.
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