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HTY Launches 62nd Season with Re-imagined Blockbuster ‘Anime Momotaro’

HTY Launches 62nd Season with Re-imagined Blockbuster ‘Anime Momotaro’

HTY Brings Back Blockbuster ‘Anime Momotaro’ with Live Music, Expanded Cast

HONOLULU (CORRECTED August 4, 2016)—A stunning new production of Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s award-winning Anime Momotaro will kick off the company’s 2016-17 season, themed “Stories of Home.” Authored by Alvin Chan, Eric Johnson and the HTY Company, this modern adaptation of the Japanese children’s classic, Momotaro: Peach Boy, opens Friday, August 12 at 7:30 p.m., then plays Saturdays, August 13, 20, 27, September 3, 10 & 17 at 4:30 p.m. A sensory-friendly performance will be held Sept. 17 at 11 a.m.; a Japanese language performance will be staged on Sept. 24 at 7 4:30 p.m.

In the five years since its 2011 Honolulu premiere, Anime Momotaro has toured to Washington, DC’s Imagination Stage in 2013 and subsequently won the Helen Hayes Award for “Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences” in 2014.

HTY’s current production re-envisions the energetic show to feature an expanded cast, live shamisen music and more design support. The result is an even more explosive visual thrill-ride, drawing on the design concepts of anime, manga and the crazy Japanese game shows done in “Matrix” style. The koken, traditional black-clad stagehands of Japanese theatre, are rendered in a quirky, playful spirit that makes the action seem animated.

Cutting edge presentation notwithstanding, HTY’s artistic staff remain faithful to the original story of Momotaro with one major change in interpretation. Rather than the customary violent end for the evil Ogres, HTY has given stronger consideration to Momotaro’s inner strength and provides a direct look at bullying and the possible responses to it – including solutions based on compassion and the strength of a community to address the issues of bullying from within.

“Over the past few seasons we’ve been exploring children’s theatre as a vehicle for connection across the generations,” Director Eric Johnson said. “Anime Momotaro’s roots in a traditional children’s tale and use of Kabuki and Noh techniques will certainly be familiar to a Japanese grandmother, while her grandchild will immediately recognize the modern styles of anime, Japanese pop music and comic book illustration.”

Anime Momotaro features actors Alvin Chan, Maile Holck, Junior Tesoro, Christina Uyeno, and Sean-Joseph Choo and Patrick Oiye on shamisen. Set, props and lighting designer is Chesley Cannon; costume designers are Sandra Payne and Anna Foster; sound designer is Barett Hoover.

Anime Momotaro will be performed at Tenney Theatre on the grounds of The Cathedral of St. Andrew. It is ideal for ages 5 and up. Single tickets are $20 for adults, and $10 for youth (18 and under) and $15 for seniors (over 60). For more information, to receive a season brochure, order tickets to a show or learn more about HTY’s educational programming call 839-9885. Tickets may also be ordered online at www.htyweb.org.

Honolulu Theatre for Youth is Hawaii’s non-profit professional theatre company providing theatre and drama education programs that make a difference in the lives of Hawaii’s young people and families. Founded in 1955, HTY is recognized the world over as one of America’s most honored theatres.

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