The Jim Henson Company is ready to bring My Neighbor Totoro to life! Based on the Japanese animated fantasy movie by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, a stage adaptation of My Neighbor Totoro is set to run October 8-January 21, 2023 at London's Barbican for a 15-week engagement. The West End production will feature puppets designed by Basil Twist (Broadway's The Pee-Wee Herman Show and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and built at Jim Henson's Creature Shop in Los Angeles.
"The Jim Henson Company is synonymous with imagination and childhood. I have been building puppets since I was a young boy, and to me, there is still nothing more magical than when a seemingly inanimate object comes to life before your eyes," shared puppeteer Twist. "When I accepted this challenge and needed a team who could build my designs and bring Studio Ghibli’s treasured characters to life, I knew it had to be Henson. I truly believe we are creating something extraordinary."
The LA-based workshop, co-founded by two-time Emmy winner Jim Henson (creator of The Muppets and Fraggle Rock), created puppets seen in The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and Sesame Street.
Featuring music by Joe Hisaishi and a script by Tom Morton-Smith, the coming-of-age adventure story takes place in a fantasy world driven by childhood and imagination, and follows sisters Satsuki and Mei who move to the countryside with their father to be closer to their ill mother. Mei explores the new area, meeting magical creature and the ancient protector Totoro.
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My Neighbor Totoro will be presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Hisaish (executive producer), in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV. Mervyn Millar, designer of the puppetry for the RSC’s The Magician’s Elephant.
The production is directed by Phelim McDermott with production design by Tom Pye, costumes by Kimie Nakano, lighting by Jessica Hung Han Yun, movement by You-Ri Yamanaka, orchestration by Will Stuart, and sound design by Tony Gayle.
For more information, visit RSC.com.