Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi) is getting a stage production. It will premiere its stage production in Tokyo in 2022. This will be followed by a tour through Japan—Osaka (April 2022), Fukuoka (May 2022), Sapporo (June 2022), and Nagoya (June, July 2022). Toho’s Imperial Theatre is where it will be presented.
This production has been brought to creation by Toho (best known for Godzilla) and John Caird, who is a Tony and Olivier Award-winner and an Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Caird is responsible for working on plays like “Les Misérables,” “Nicholas Nickleby,” “Daddy Long Legs”.
This adaptation is part of Toho’s (which has previously presented and licensed many plays in Japan) 90th anniversary.
Here’s what Caird had to say: “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 must have spent a thousand hours working on Sen To Chihiro and look forward to spending many thousands more.”
“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. I could tell how much he adores this story from his delighted face when I gave him a No-Face (Kaonashi) piggy-bank.” commented Studio Ghibli’s Toshio Suzuki, who worked as a producer on Spirited Away.
Protagonist Chihiro will be played by two actresses—Kanna Hashimoto (Gintama, Kaguya-sama: Love is War, Kingdom) and Mone Kamishiraishi (Your Name, live-action Chihayafuru) in alternation performances. Caird said that this would give him “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.”
The 2001 movie is probably the most well-known Studio Ghibli production, and its most successful. It was the highest-earning movie in the Japanese box office, until Demon Slayer: Mugen Train dethroned it in 2020.