BEIJING The British producer behind the West
End and Broadway hits "Cats," "Les Miserables" and "Mary
Poppins," among others, said he is bringing a revolution to
China by introducing the Chinese versions.
Cameron Mackintosh on Monday set up a joint venture with
China's biggest performing arts agency, China Arts and
Entertainment Group (CAEG), affiliated to the Ministry of
Culture, to bring western classic musicals to China.
The first production, "Les Miserables," based on Victor
Hugo's classic, will be play in Chinese with Chinese performers
will open at the new National Grand Theatre in November 2008,
Chinese versions of musicals including "Mamma Mia!,"
"Phantom of the Opera," "Miss Saigon," "My Fair Lady" and "The
Lion King" would follow, he told a news conference.
"It could be no more appropriate that the musical about
revolution and the survival of the human spirit, Les Miserables
by Victor Hugo, is the opening show in China," Mackintosh said.
"Hopefully, as the (assistant) minister kindly said, it
will be a complete change in culture in China," he said,
referring to Ding Wei, assistant Minister of Culture, who said
the joint venture had historical significance for the
development of China's musical theatre.
"In five to ten years, I hope Beijing and Shanghai will
become the third or fourth musical market after New York and
London," Ding said.
Mackintosh said all roles had been localized to bring down
costs, and that he wasn't looking to make money.
"What appeals to me is to create wonderful shows and great
jobs for people in China who are interested in music theatre,"
Andrew Lloyd-Webber's "Cats" was the first world-class
western musical to be shown in recent years.
In 2003, the only venue big enough to accommodate the Irish
chorus line in "Riverdance" was the Great Hall of the People.