Adaptation of Studio Ghibli anime earns more Olivier Award nominations than any other production this year.

It was a bit of a shock last year when the announcement came that not only was Studio Ghibli classic My Neighbor Totoro getting a live-action adaptation, but that it would be a stage play produced and performed in the U.K. Traditionally, transitions from anime to live-action haven’t gone very well, especially those made outside of Japan.

But in a pleasant surprise, the My Neighbor Totoro play, which debuted at London’s Barbican Centre in October, has been warmly received by theater fans and anime enthusiasts alike. And it’s not just audiences who appreciate what director Phelim McDermott, composer Joe Hisaishi (who also scored the original 1988 Hayao Miyazaki-directed Totoro anime film), and the rest of their team have created, as the My Neighbor Totoro stage play has now been nominated for nine Laurence Olivier Awards, the highest honors in the British theater sphere.

▼ Actress Ami Okumura Jones, as Satsuki, waiting at the iconic bus stop while little sister Mei (actress Mei Mac) takes a piggyback nap.

Totoro’s nine nominations are more than any other production this year. The feat is even more impressive when you take into consideration that there are only 25 categories in total, and out of those 11 are specifically for revivals, operas, musicals, and dance productions, meaning that Totoro has been nominated for the majority of the awards for which it’s eligible.

The complete list of Totoro’s nominations are:
● Best Entertainment or Comedy Play
● Best Director (Phelim McDermott)
● Best Actress (Mei Mac, as Mei)
● Best Original Score (Joe Hisaishi, Will Stuart)
● Best Theatre Choreographer (Basil Twist, for puppetry direction)
● Best Set Design (Tom Pye)
● Best Costume Design (Kimie Nakano)
● Best Lighting Design (Jessica Hung Han Yun)
● Best Sound Design (Tony Gayle)

Of those nine nominations, five overlap with categories in which the play won WhatsOnStage Awards in the U.K. last month (Best Director, Best Musical Direction/Supervision, Best Lighting Design, Best Set Design, and Best Sound Design), so it feels like a pretty safe bet that Totoro won’t be going home empty-handed from the Olivier Awards when it’s held in London on April 2.

Meanwhile, there’s still no word on the possibility of the play being performed outside the U.K., but at least inside Japan we’ve got that Final Fantasy X kabuki play.

Source: PR Times (1, 2)
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: PR Times
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