Thirty five years ago,the Chinese ping-pong team's visit to the University of Michigan signified a marked improvement in US-China relations. This historic event caught the attention of Robert Nederlander Sr., then a Regent at the University of Michigan, who shortly thereafter headed a delegation of professors and scholars to China. The delegation, which met with senior Chinese governmental representatives and leading administrators, was one of the first to travel to China since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

In 2000, Robert Nederlander Jr. renewed the Nederlanders' interest in China by exploring the viability of bringing Broadway shows to Chinese markets.

In 2005, Robert Nederlander Jr. created the first foreign entity permitted to operate in the Chinese performing arts industry.

The Nederlanders organized a circuit of theatres in China in order to bring first-class dramatic and musical productions, from Broadway and elsewhere, to major Chinese cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Xi'an, Wuhan and Tianjin.

In 2007, Nederlander presented the Tony-Award-winning 42nd Street across nine Chinese cities, at that time the most extensive Chinese tour of a Broadway show. In September of the following year, Nederlander Worldwide spearheaded a ten city tour of Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, which began in Shanghai, and is expected to return to China in 2010. In December 2008, Nederlander also partnered with the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing to produce and present a Mandarin language version of Fame: The Musical. The English version of Fame is scheduled to tour in China from December 2009 through February 2010.

Nederlander also established the "China on Broadway" initiative to bring the best of Chinese culture to Broadway audiences in New York City and across North America.

In 2008, Nederlander presented The Dream of the Red Chamber, a "cultural exchange gift" from the city of Shanghai to the city of New York, at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall. The next year, Nederlander presented Soul of Shaolin, the first Chinese production to appear on Broadway, at the Marquis Theater, and nominated for both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award.

In addition, Nederlander has been actively involved in the fast emerging Chinese cultural industry, by hosting dozens of Chinese delegations in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, and giving numerous lectures and seminars on musical theatre at academies and universities in China.



Broadway Rox

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