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Spirited Away Stage Play Cancels Shows After Romi Park's COVID-19 Diagnosis

posted on by Egan Loo
Voice of Fullmetal Alchemist's Ed shares Yubaba/Zeniba roles in play

The talent agency Production LAL announced on Saturday that voice actress and stage actress Romi Park has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The staff of the Spirited Away stage play then announced that they were cancelling that day's noon and 5:00 p.m. performances due to at least one COVID-19 diagnosis among the people involved in the production. The play's staff later announced that they were canceling Sunday's performance as well.

Park has been playing Yubaba and Zeniba in alternating performances of the stage play with Mari Natsuki (who was the voice of Yubaba and Zeniba in Hayao Miyazaki's original film). The play is now at Nagoya's Misono-za theater for a June 22-July 4 run. The Sports Hochi newspaper reported that audience members were already taking their seats in the theater when the staff announced the sudden cancellations.

After this weekend's canceled performances, the play's next scheduled performances would be on Tuesday. (The staff had already planned no performances on Monday.) The staff will announce the status of future performances sometime after 4:00 p.m. on Monday. The play had previously canceled performances in Fukuoka from May 17 to May 25 after co-lead Kanna Hashimoto's COVID-19 diagnosis.

Park went on Twitter on Saturday to apologize to fans who were looking forward to seeing the play. She noted that she had been thorough and mindful about infection counter-measures, but still tested positive. She added that despite feeling disappointed and sad, she will focus on recuperating.

Park's many voice roles include Fullmetal Alchemist's Edward Elric, Naruto's Temari, Turn A Gundam's Loran Cehack, and Digimon Adventure 02's Ken. More recently, she has voiced Hanji in Attack on Titan, Ragyo Kiryuin in Kill la Kill, and Seimei in Garo: Crimson Moon. She won the best leading actress award for her performance of Nana Osaki in NANA at the first ever Seiyuu Awards in 2007.

Actresses Hashimoto (Gintama, Kaguya-sama: Love is War, Kingdom, left poster) and Mone Kamishiraishi (your name., live-action Chihayafuru, right poster) both star as Chihiro in alternating performances.

The play ran at TOHO's Imperial Theatre from February to March, then in Osaka in April, in Fukuoka in May, and in Sapporo in June before its current Nagoya run.

Tony and Olivier Award-winning director and the Royal Shakespeare Company's Honorary Associate Director John Caird (Les Misérables, Nicholas Nickleby, Daddy Long Legs) wrote and directed the production.

Spirited Away was previously the highest-grossing Japanese film worldwide until Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train surpassed the record. Spirited Away remains the only non-English-language title to win the Academy Awards' Best Animated Feature award, which it earned in 2003.

Update: Misono-za reported one or more new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed among the people in the production on Monday. As a result, the production is also canceling both the noon and 5:00 p.m. performances on Tuesday.

Sources: Production LAL, Misono-za, Sports Hochi, Romi Park's Twitter account via Hachima Kikō

This article has a follow-up: Spirited Away Stage Play Cancels 6 More Days After COVID-19 Cases Including Co-Lead Mone Kamishiraishi (Updated) (2022-06-28 06:51)
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