Broadway to Storm Seven Cities

Written by Zou Huilin and Chen Jie

SHANGHAI: In the post-Lloyd-Webber period for the Chinese musical market, the classic Broadway musical 42nd Street will take the stage in seven major theaters.

The musical will have its Chinese premiere at Shanghai Majestic Theater on September 5. Then it will tour around the country, visiting cities such as Hangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Hefei and Beijing.

Robert Nederlander Jr., from the world's leading theater management group Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, says that the reason that they decided to bring 42nd Street to China was because he regards it as the ultimate Broadway musical, with big scenes and simple English, which will be easy to Chinese audiences to follow.

At the beginning of the show, the curtain rises for only a couple inches, and as the music begins, scores of colorful dancing shoes click on the wooden floor. As the curtain rises, dancing legs and skirts are revealed to the audience.

Mark Bramble, the director and playwright of the production, says that each performance features 30-plus performers and hundreds of light bulbs creating a multi-step stage set.

According to Bramble, "behind the spectacle, you will see this is a typical 'American Dream Come True Story'."

The musical tells the story of a young actress named Peggy Sawyer, a country girl, who rises from a chorus girl to become a Broadway star.

Bramble adds: "I think everyone will like the story. After seeing the musical, everyone will learn something inspiring from the show. They will feel like it is a good day to be alive."

Bramble, who scored two Tony Award Nominations for 42nd Street, handpicked the entire cast. Insiders say that not many touring musicals can claim to have the playwright participating in the casting process, let alone directing it.

Rauol Zhou, a musical-lover who has seen the musical many times, says: "The performers try everything they can to show their skills and energy."

The production is presented by Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment and its Chinese partners include Beijing Time New Century Entertainment and Shanghai Media Entertainment Group.

It is produced by Troika Entertainment and Broadway Asia Entertainment, two foreign-funded producing companies specializing in musical productions.

Meanwhile, as a warm-up event, the joint-venture Nederlander New Century International Theater Management Company recently held a beneficiary banquet at the residence of Madame Soong Ching Ling in Beijing.

Bob Nederlander, president & CEO of Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, and Chen Jixin, president of Beijing Time New Century Entertainment, introduced the playwright, director and the lead players of the musical to the guests.

The joint-venture announced that they will donate 1 yuan $0.13 from every ticket of the China tour they sold to the Soong Ching Ling Music Fund to launch a musical camp next summer for Chinese kids who love musicals.


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Broadway to Storm Seven Cities

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