China takes a chance on a mandarin Mamma Mia!
Tuesday 12 July 2011
The infectious music of Abba reached a little bit further round the globe last night, as the first Mandarin-language version of Mamma Mia! opened in Shanghai, with producers hoping audiences will indeed thank them for the music and deliver them a blockbuster.
Slipping into the blue dungarees of leading character Donna Sheridan – memorably played by Meryl Streep in the film adaptation – is Tian Shui, a well-known musical actress in China, who predicts that the legendary Swedish pop group's sounds will help pave the way for other Western imports.
"The musical will be accepted by Chinese audiences, especially younger people, because of fashion and pop, plus the themes resonate with audiences. This is a great start for the musical in China," she said.
Ever anxious to tap the potentially huge audiences in the world's most populous nation, Broadway and the West End have been out here before. In 2007, the British producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh announced plans to stage legendary shows such as Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon in China, while audiences have taken to Western-style musicals such as Hairspray and The Lion King.
But this is the first time a contemporary musical like Mamma Mia! has been presented in Chinese in China, staged by a local company in a new translation.
It is under the direction of the creative team who put on the musical in London, and the show's creator Judy Craymer is banking on Chinese audiences embracing classics such as "Super Trouper", "Lay All Your Love On Me" and "Dancing Queen".
"There's virtually no infrastructure for commercial musical theatre in China, so finding the talent we needed – the 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," she said.
"It's amazing that Mamma Mia! has been chosen rather than something more traditional. The previews are going very well, the audiences are having a fun time, clapping and singing along."
More than 45 million people, in over 300 cities have already seen Mamma Mia! on stage. Given that China's population is more than 1.3 billion, that figure could mushroom if they get the formula right. This is the first time that a licence deal has been agreed with a Chinese company for a localised version of a production, and it could form the basis for future expansion of commercial theatre in China.
The plan is to tour Mamma Mia! for at least a year. Then it will tour more of mainland China next year before heading to Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Singapore.
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
The man they forgot to lock up: Mike Anderson was sentenced to 13 years in jail, but the police never came
Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
South Korea ferry disaster: Families watch as remains of Sewol victims returned to shore
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
An open letter to Nigel Farage: you may smile, but I am not seduced
Abdullah Deghayes: My son was the martyr of a just cause, says father of British teenager killed in Syria conflict
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...
£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...