China to have its own Broad­way theater

China Daily (USA) - - SHANGHAI - ByZHANGKUN in Shang­hai zhangkun@chi­

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.

Ac­cord­ing to Engel’s Co­ef­fi­cient law, as much as 84.2 per­cent of Shang­hai fam­i­lies have hit or are above the “well-off” stan­dard, with their ex­pen­di­tures on food ac­count­ing for less than half of their in­come, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey con­ducted by the Shang­hai Academy of So­cial Sciences. The sur­vey also found out that more than half (55.9 per­cent) of the city’s in­di­vid­u­als re­ceive a per capita in­come of be­tween 51,000 ($7,591) and 100,000 yuan, with the an­nual house­hold in­come of 61.5 per­cent of lo­cal fam­i­lies rang­ing from 100,000 to 200,000 yuan.

A num­ber of Chi­nese en­ter­prises in­clud­ing Shang­hai Elec­tric have ap­proached Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­biles (FCA) with a bid to buy its Co­mau ro­bot­ics busi­ness, ac­cord­ing to Reuters. Chi­nese con­glom­er­ate Si­no­mach and Shang­hai In­sti­tute of Me­chan­i­cal and Elec­tri­cal En­gi­neer­ing (Simee) have also con­tacted the FCA re­gard­ing a pos­si­ble buy­out. Co­mau is Fiat’s sec­ond-largest com­po­nents busi­ness and its ad­justed op­er­at­ing profit was 72 mil­lion euros ($80 mil­lion) last year. The po­ten­tial ac­qui­si­tion comes amid the re­cent trend of Chi­nese en­ter­prises tak­ing over over­seas com­pa­nies. It was re­ported ear­lier this year that Midea Group Co be­came the largest share­holder of Kuka AG after buy­ing a 25.1 per­cent stake in the Ger­man ro­bot maker.

Lat­est data pub­lished by WeChat, China’s most widely used mo­bile mes­sag­ing ap­pli­ca­tion, re­vealed that the most num­ber of peo­ple trav­el­ing across China dur­ing the re­cent Na­tional Day hol­i­day came from Bei­jing, while Shang­hainese were the most prolific in go­ing abroad. The sur­vey, which tracked the travel pat­terns of Chi­nese be­tween Oct 1 and Oct 7, also found that Guangzhou and Hong Kong were the most fa­vored do­mes­tic des­ti­na­tions, while the United States was the top over­seas desti­na­tion for Chi­nese tourists. The most pop­u­lar do­mes­tic scenic spot was the West Lake in Hangzhou where the G20 sum­mit was held in Septem­ber.

Plans to build the new 46-hectare Shang­hai East Rail­way Sta­tion are cur­rently un­der­way. The sta­tion will be­come the city’s sec­ond-largest after Hongqiao Rail­way Sta­tion and the first in the city’s Pudong New Area, ac­cord­ing to East­day. com. Sun Zhang, a pro­fes­sor from Tongji Univer­sity, was quoted by TheP­a­per. cn say­ing that pas­sen­gers in Shang­hai stand to en­joy more con­ve­nience from this lat­est ad­di­tion, which takes the tally to four rail­way sta­tions in Shang­hai.

Sasaki As­so­ci­ates, a USbased ar­chi­tec­ture firm, has beaten a field of in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tors to win the bid to re­design the Suzhou Creek, re­ported by Arch­daily. com. Also known as Wu­song River, the creek has suf­fered from se­vere pol­lu­tion over the re­cent decades and the new de­sign will fo­cus on ex­pand­ing the per­ceived wa­ter­front of Shang­hai into the ur­ban blocks ad­ja­cent to the creek. Sasaki has worked on sev­eral projects in Shang­hai, in­clud­ing the Xuhui Run­way Park, Zhangji­a­bang Park, Jiad­ing Cen­tral Park and the Chong­ming Is­land Xinchusha mas­ter plan.


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

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