National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced November 27, 2012, that Imagination Stage is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. Imagination Stage is recommended for a $30,000 grant to support Anime Momotaro, the largest grant the theatre has ever received from the NEA.
Imagination Stage is bringing Honolulu Theatre for Youth Artistic Director Eric Johnson and his colleague, Alvin Chang, to expand upon their original production of Anime Momotaro, which premiered in Honolulu in 2011. While incorporating the bright colors and pop music sound of Japanese TV, and the multiple perspectives used in anime film and cartooning, the play stays true to the ancient folk tale about a boy who is magically born from a giant peach. This production is part of Imagination Stage’s initiative “Youth Speaks to Age,” consciously turning to youth culture as a source for new material.
Children may be attracted to this theatre piece because of the love of anime-inspired toys and cartoons, but they will leave Imagination Stage with great excitement for the live theatre that gives them new insight into one aspect of their own youth culture as well as the Japanese context from which it derives.
"I'm proud to announce these 832 grants to the American public, including Imagination Stage’s Anime Momotaro," said Chairman Landesman. "These projects offer extraordinary examples of creativity in our country, including the creation of new work, innovative ways of engaging audiences, and exemplary education programs."
“What I admire most about Eric’s staging in Anime Momotaro is its striking theatricality,” said Janet Stanford, Artistic Director of Imagination Stage. “While the piece consciously references the imagery, language, and film-angle techniques of the screen, the storytelling on stage in this production forces children to suspend their disbelief and to enjoy how the story in being told, as well as the story itself.”
In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works requesting more than $74 million in funding. The 832 recommended NEA grants total $22.3 million, span 13 artistic disciplines and fields, and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.
Anime Momotaro runs in Imagination Stage’s Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Theatre January 30 through March 10, 2013. Best for ages 5-10, tickets are $12 to $25, and may be purchased online at www.imaginationstage.org, at the Imagination Stage box office, or via phone at 301-280-1660. Group rates are available.