The American National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman recently announced that theatrical non-profit Imagination Stage has been recommended for a $30,000 grant to support Anime Momotaro. This is the largest grant that the theatre has ever received from the NEA.
The anime-inspired production seeks to provide a cultural context to the American in Japanese pop culture and aesthetics with its retelling of the Edo period folktale about the heroic adventures of a boy found in a giant peach.
Grant funds will be used to bring in 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.
From Imagination Stage's description of the play:
An old couple in ancient Japan long for a child. They have their wish granted when a huge peach floats down the river and breaks open to reveal a baby boy. They name him Momotaro, and he grows up to be the strongest young man in all of Japan. But Momotaro's village has a tiny problem...GIANT OGRES! Ogres have been bullying the villagers for years, and Momotaro decides he must make a stand. With the help of friends-the dog Inu, the monkey Saru, and the bird Kiji-Momotaro meets his foes face-to-face. Performed in the style of popular anime cartoons with traditional Japanese influences, this action-packed staging of Japan's most famous folktale teaches powerful lessons about inner strength and how creativity, kindness, and cooperation win out over brute force.
In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works requesting more than $74 million in funding. From that, 832 recommended NEA grants totaled $22.3 million.
The production will be staged in Bethesda, Maryland January 30–March 10, 2013.