China to have its own Broad­way the­ater

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By ZHANG KUN in Shang­hai

zhangkun@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese fans of Broad­way mu­si­cals will in the near fu­ture no longer have to brave the long flight to New York as Shang­hai will be get­ting its very own the­ater ded­i­cated to such per­for­mances.

Lo­cated along the north­ern Bund area in the city’s Hongkou dis­trict, the SIIC (Shang­hai In­dus­trial In­vest­ment) Cen­ter The­ater will be part of a new de­vel­op­ment by the Sta­te­owned and Hong Kong-listed SIIC that also in­cludes of­fice build­ings and malls. The the­ater is sched­uled for com­ple­tion in 2021.

The ground-break­ing cer­e­mony for the pro­ject took place at Ho­tel Penin­sula on Sept 27, along­side the of­fi­cial es­tab­lish­ment of a new joint ven­ture: the SIIC Ned­er­lan­der Cul­ture De­vel­op­ment Co. Ltd, which will be the owner and man­ager of the new the­ater.

“This will be Shang­hai’s first au­then­tic Broad­way the­ater,” said Bob Ned­er­lan­der, pres­i­dent of Ned­er­lan­der World­wide En­ter­tain­ment, one of the world’s largest the­ater own­ers and mu­si­cal pro­duc­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to Ned­er­lan­der, who hails from the third gen­er­a­tion of the en­ter­tain­ment com­pany, China has proven to be a very dy­namic mar­ket for mu­si­cals and the new joint ven­ture will con­tinue to strive to bring qual­ity pro­duc­tions from China to the world and vice versa.

Ned­er­lan­der World­wide En­ter­tain­ment cur­rently runs the top three box of­fice the­aters on Broad­way and its pro­duc­tions have won pres­ti­gious ac­co­lades such as the Tony and Grammy Awards.

“We at Ned­er­lan­der wel­come Shang­hai’s new­est the­ater to the pan­theon of great Broad­way the­aters, which will strengthen the con­nec­tion be­tween the cul­tural in­dus­tries of Broad­way and Shang­hai,” said Ned­er­lan­der.

The new 2,000-seat the­ater will be de­signed by Paul West­lake and Tom Gal­lagher from West­lake Reed Leskosky, an ar­chi­tec­ture firm well known for their the­ater de­signs.

Ac­cord­ing to Ned­er­lan­der, the com­pany is com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing the best in au­di­ence de­vel­op­ment, cus­tomer ser­vice and op­er­a­tions, fac­tors it has iden­ti­fied as nec­es­sary for a good and com­plete the­ater ex­pe­ri­ence for au­di­ences.

“Those of us in the in­dus­try know that what is be­ing per­formed on­stage is just a tiny frac­tion of the work nec­es­sary to achieve both com­mer­cial and cul­tural suc­cess,” said Ned­er­lan­der.

“Ned­er­lan­der shall bring our 104 years of re­fined Broad­way man­age­ment ex­per­tise to of­fer Shang­hai and vis­it­ing au­di­ences an au­then­tic Broad­way ex­pe­ri­ence.”

One of the first of­fer­ings by this new joint ven­ture will be a China na­tional tour for the Broad­way mu­si­cal The Pro­duc­ers. Adapted from a Mel Brooks’ film of the same name, the orig­i­nal pro­duc­tion pre­miered in 2001 and had won 12 Tony awards.

Ac­cord­ing to Xu Jun­y­ing, vice pres­i­dent of SIIC Ned­er­lan­der Cul­ture De­vel­op­ment, the new SIIC Cen­ter The­ater will have an artist-in-res­i­dence plan as the the­ater re­gards ed­u­ca­tion as an im­por­tant part of its busi­ness. She also added that China’s mu­si­cal in­dus­try has been faced with a short­age of tal­ents and pro­fes­sion­als, and that this ini­tia­tive will ben­e­fit the per­for­mance arts com­mu­nity.

Amer­i­can com­poser and mu­si­cal pro­ducer Frank Wild­horn was named as the first artist in res­i­dence. Known for his mu­si­cal cre­ation Jekyll & Hyde, Wild­horn has worked ex­ten­sively in Asia in the past decade, with one of his most no­table achieve­ments be­ing the cre­ation of a suc­cess­ful mu­si­cal adap­ta­tion of the pop­u­lar manga series Death Note in Ja­pan.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Of­fi­cials from SIIC and Ned­er­lan­der at­tend the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony for China's first Broad­way the­ater.

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