Trio of Famous Musicals Set for Their Debut in Shanghai

August 20, 2018
Editor: Xie Wen
Trio of Famous Musicals Set for Their Debut in Shanghai
A stage photo [China Daily]


Three musicals will have their China premiere at the SAIC Shanghai Culture Square this coming December and in January of 2019.

The three productions, Carmen La Cubana, Gone with the Wind, and A Chorus Line, each of which features a distinctive style, will stage a combined total of 54 shows in Shanghai. Gone with the Wind will go on to be shown in Xi'an of Shaanxi province.

"For the first time, we are having not one but three productions premiering in China," said Fei Yuanhong, artistic director of SCS. "We schedule the most heavyweight performances at the end of every year, and this has created high audience expectations for our winter season."

Since its opening in 2011, SCS has been the primary theater for musical performances in Shanghai. The winter season, which covers the Christmas, New Year and Spring Festival period, is usually the golden period for the box office as well as the most exciting time for audiences. End-of-year productions held at the theater over the past few years include Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, the French musical Romeo et Juliette, and German plays such as Elisabeth and Mozart!.

"We have tried to find productions that Chinese audiences can enjoy and resonate with," Fei said. "Also, we are a large theater with 2,000 seats, so we always look for productions of the appropriate scale and quality."

He found that Shanghai audiences have been very open-minded. "There is no other city in the world like Shanghai," he said. "Audiences in Shanghai embrace musicals from so many languages and cultures with great enthusiasm: English, German, French and now Spanish."

Carmen La Cubana, on show from Dec 12 to 23, will be the first Spanish musical production at SCS. "We have always aimed at developing a culturally diverse and multilingual market of musicals in Shanghai, and this is the first time we explored the Spanish language shows," Fei said.

Carmen La Cubana was directed by Christopher Renshaw, with new orchestrations by Tony Award winning musician Alex Lacamoire based on the classical score of Georges Bizet. According to Le Parisien's critique of its premiere in 2016, the production is "hugely enjoyable and sexy...a fantastic adaptation".

The production, which is set in 1958 and depicts the turmoil of the revolution in Cuba, mixes opera with salsa, mambo and cha-cha. Premiered in Paris in 2016, it has been touring extensively in Europe and North America.

Gone with the Wind, which would be shown from Dec 29 to Jan 13, 2019, is a new English adaptation from the French musical production of the same name with music and lyrics by Gerard Presgurvic. The French musical premiered in Paris in 2003 before coming to a close in 2004 after touring major cities in France, Belgium and Switzerland. A Korean edition starring award-winning film actors and pop idols from South Korea has also been produced.

Presgurvic, whose creation of Romeo et Juliette was performed at SCS in 2012, will be the music director of the new English edition. The actors will consist of veterans who used to play the heroine in The Phantom of the Opera and the hero in Evita.

The novel by Margret Mitchell and the 1939 movie starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable have both enjoyed great popularity in China.

The third play, A Chorus Line, will be shown from Jan 17 to 27. The show won nine of the 12 Tony Awards it was nominated for and is also the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976. A Chorus Line is a story about how performers and choreographers strive for success as they pursue their dreams.

"It is a musical about musicals. It provides a glimpse into the backstage and personalities of the musical industry," Fei said.

According to Yang Yue, a spokesperson of the theater, SCS has already opened the box office for the three winter season productions. Purchasing tickets for all three shows would be 40 percent cheaper than the original price. There will also be 20 and 10 percent discounts for specific tickets in August and September respectively.

(Source: China Daily)

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