Producer: Shanghai, Another Broadway in 20 years

Written by Michelle Qiao

The story of a naive chorus girl-turned-overnight sensation on Broadway in the 1930s comes to Shanghai in the musical "42nd Street" next month. Its producer predicts Shanghai will become another Broadway in less than 20 years.

The Shanghai summer is heated by Western musicals. Following the month-long blockbuster "Mamma Mia!," the Broadway musical comedy "42nd Street" will stage for two weeks in September.

Marsha Yuen, one of the young talents from the TV singing competition "My Show," a Chinese version of "American Idol," will join 34 American actors in the Broadway show.

It is based on a classic 1933 movie of the same name, telling the story of Peggy Sawyer, a country girl who arrives in the big city and becomes a chorus girl, then an overnight sensation on Broadway.

"'42nd Street' is an authentic Broadway show," says Bob Nederlander Jr, president and CEO of Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, producer of the show. Every year since 2002, one or two musicals were introduced into the Chinese market but among them "Notre-Dame de Paris" was from France, while "Les Miserables," "Cats" and "The Phantom of the Opera" were productions of the West End in London.

This time the whole cast of "42nd Street" performing in Shanghai was handpicked by Mark Bramle, the co-author and the director of the Tony Award-winning cast of the 2001 revival production.

"Not many touring musicals can claim to have the playwright participating in the casting process, let alone directing it," Nederlander adds. "Therefore, it is genuinely 'Made in Broadway'."

Telling a typical American dream-come-true story, the show features dazzling American-style Broadway tap dance and 1930s nostalgia culture. The musical was originally performed on Broadway in 1980 for nine years and the 2001 revival received eight Tony Awards nominations, winning two.

"There is great potential in Shanghai and the rest of China for the culture industry. We will bring three newly created musicals to China next year. And I believe Shanghai will take less than 20 years to become another Broadway," says the producer.

Another French musical magic show, "The Doll World," opens next week. The show, which premiered in 2004, tells the story of ancient animals and extra-terrestrial creatures, highlighted by many dances and original French songs.

"Western musicals are quite successful in the box office in China right now," says Nederlander Jr. "But the tickets are high. And all of our shows will have low priced tickets, even 100-yuan (US$13.20) tickets, just like on Broadway."


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Producer: Shanghai, Another Broadway in 20 years

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