Chinese theater goers find familiarity in 42nd Street

Edited by Bi Mingxin

WUHAN - Broadway musical comedy "42nd Street", which opens in Beijing on Tuesday, is striking a chord among Chinese audiences with its tale of small-time characters finding fame and fortune in the big city.

The show has just wrapped up eight performances in the central China city of Wuhan, where thousands of spectators found the theater classic was a major highlight of the ongoing Eighth China Arts Festival, which opened last Monday.

Organizers estimate more than 110,000 viewers have flocked to the theater despite the ceiling price hitting 1,280 yuan (US$170) per ticket.

"The story was set in the US in the 1930s, but we can find many of its plots in today's China - young guys working their way up and suffering losses on the stock market for example," said Xie Xin, a white-collar worker who spent 680 yuan (US$90) to see the show.

The tap dance-themed musical, telling the story of Peggy Sawyer, a young chorus girl who works her way up to become a Broadway star, won the Tony Award in 1981 and 2001.

"42nd Street" has also been shown in major Chinese cities including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo and Hefei since September, and Beijing will host eight performances from Tuesday, said Beijing Oriental Broadway International Theatre Management Co. Ltd., an organizer of the musical's China tour.

It is the latest in a string of Broadway-style musicals to come to China, following hist such as "Mamma Mia!", "The Sound of Music" and Disney's musical version of "The Lion King".


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Chinese theater goers find familiarity in 42nd Street

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