Photo Flash: First Look at ANIME MOMOTARO at Imagination Stage

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Anime Momotaro is a staging of a famous Japanese folktale that teaches powerful lessons about inner strength and the ability to stand up against bullying. Created and premiered by the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Imagination Stage is bringing Eric Johnson (adaptor/director) and Alvin Chan (adaptor/choreographer) from Hawaii to develop an expanded version for Imagination Stage audiences. BroadwayWorld has a first look at the show below!
Set in ancient Japan, an elderly couple longs for a child. Their wish is granted when a huge peach floats down the river and breaks open to reveal a baby boy. As Momotaro (momo means peach; Taro is a common Japanese boy's name) grows up to be the strongest young man in all the country, he realizes he must take a stand against his village's one small problem: giant ogres. Ogres have been bullying the villagers for years, and with the help of his friends - the dog Inu, the monkey Saru, and the bird Kiji - Momotaro meets his foes face-to-face. Thus, an action-packed adventure is born.
Anime Momotaro was adapted from the traditional Japanese folktale by Alvin Chan, Eric Johnson, and Honolulu Theatre for Youth. Honolulu Theatre for Youth was founded in 1955 and is one of the oldest and most respected children's theatres in the country. Imagination Stage and Johnson first worked together in 2004 when he directed Liang and The Magic Paintbrush, and then again in 2005 with Callisto 5.
Jacob Yeh will perform the title role of Momotaro. Jacob was most recently seen at Imagination Stage in P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical and Wake Up, Brother Bear! He has also performed at Ford's Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Adventure Theatre MTC, and Discovery Theater.
Phillip Reid and Tia Shearer will play the old couple. Phil (also playing Monmon and Inu) has performed in several productions at Imagination Stage, including Dr. Dolittle, Wind in the Willows, and Pirates! A Boy at Sea. Tia (also playing Nakoman and Kiji) performed in Imagination Stage's production of Bunnicula. Rafael Untalan (Daimon/Saru) is new to Imagination Stage. Rafael received his MFA from Shakespeare Theatre Company's Academy for Classical Acting at the George Washington University. Ryan Sellers will perform as the koken, a puppeteer dressed in black who manipulates objects to create special effects and is unrecognized by the actors onstage.
The creative team for Anime Momotaro includes Set Designer Natsu Onoda Power, Costume Designer Debra Kim Svigny, Sound Designer Chris Baine, and Lighting Designer Zachary Gilbert. Terry Hong is the Cultural Advisor, and is on board to ensure that cultural references translate properly for mainland audiences. Terry is a media arts consultant for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program and was an Artistic Advisor for Imagination Stage in 2009-10.
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.

Photo Credit: Margot Schulman

Photo Flash: First Look at ANIME MOMOTARO at Imagination Stage

Photo Flash: First Look at ANIME MOMOTARO at Imagination Stage
Tia Shearer as Old Woman, Jacob Yeh as Momotaro, and Phillip Reid as Old Man

Photo Flash: First Look at ANIME MOMOTARO at Imagination Stage
Tia Shearer as Nakamon, Rafael Untalan as Daimon, Jacob Yeh as Momotaro, Phillip Reid as Monmon

Photo Flash: First Look at ANIME MOMOTARO at Imagination Stage
Phillip Reid as Monmon and Tia Shearer as Nakamon

Photo Flash: First Look at ANIME MOMOTARO at Imagination Stage
Rafael Untalan as Saru the Monkey, Jacob Yeh as Momotaro, Phillip Reid as Inu the Dog, Tia Shearer as Kiji the Bird

Photo Flash: First Look at ANIME MOMOTARO at Imagination Stage
Tia Shearer as Old Woman and Jacob Yeh as Momotaro

Photo Flash: First Look at ANIME MOMOTARO at Imagination Stage
: Jacob Yeh as Momotaro (Ryan Sellers as Koken in the background)

Photo Flash: First Look at ANIME MOMOTARO at Imagination Stage
Front: Tia Shearer as Kiji the Bird, Jacob Yeh as Momotaro, Phillip Reid as Inu the Dog. Back: Rafael Untalan as Saru the Monkey.

Photo Flash: First Look at ANIME MOMOTARO at Imagination Stage
Phillip Reid as Monmon and Tia Shearer as Nakamon

Photo Flash: First Look at ANIME MOMOTARO at Imagination Stage
Phillip Reid as Koken, Rafael Untalan as Daimon, and Ryan Sellers as Koken. Front: Jacob Yeh as Momotaro.

Photo Flash: First Look at ANIME MOMOTARO at Imagination Stage

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