After a planning and negotiation phase, which producers revealed has lasted years, Shanghai will lift the curtain on a Chinese-language version of the hit musical.
The show will run at the Shanghai Grand Theatre after a successful run of previews, which have proven that Chinese audiences have taken to the musical, which has been described as the “ultimate West End feel-good show”.
According to those behind the show, this is the first time a “blockbuster contemporary musical” has successfully been presented in China and in Chinese.
Judy Cramer, one of the creative minds behind the production, believes the Chinese audience is ready to take the show to its heart and increase its worldwide popularity.
“The challenges have been immense because what we’re doing here is genuinely pioneering,” she commented.
“There’s virtually no infrastructure for commercial musical theatre in China, so finding the talent we needed – actors, technicians, stage crew and musicians – proved extremely difficult, locating a theatre to accommodate us took a long time and even translating the lyrics into a tonal language was a major challenge.
“But we did it. We’re here and it works: the preview audiences are loving it.”
Of course this is not the first time the show has made a successful transition from the West End stage.
In 2008 the musical served as the inspiration for a film version boasting an all star cast.
Alongside Oscar-winner Meryl Streep was a who’s-who of British actors including Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Dominic Cooper.
The movie was a box-office sensation and was nominated for a clutch of top awards including the Best Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globes and Outstanding British Film at the BAFTAs.
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