The Shanghai Grand Theater announced plans yesterday to produce a Chinese version of the hit musical "Les Miserables."
"Importing comes first and the second step is to 'localize' these Western musicals," said Qian Shijin, art director of the theater.
"Although Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted us to 'localize' his 'Phantom of the Opera' first during his Shanghai trip last week, we decided to start with 'Les Miserables' since its producer Macintosh company has been in discussions with us for two years."
Qian admits "localizing" a musical is not an easy job.
"It's hard to translate the script into beautiful, easy-to-understand Chinese and Chinese actors can hardly perform more than six times a week," he said. "It's also a question if Chinese audience would prefer the original or Chinese version. But we will have a try. Our ultimate goal is to produce an outstanding Chinese-subject musical to perform for foreign and Chinese audience alike by the World Expo 2010."
Qian also said the theater would continue to import Western musicals and Webber's "Bombay Dream" might be next.
The theater claims shows of the ongoing "Phantom of the Opera" were sold out during the last two months. At its peak, 3,700 tickets a day were sold for the show, bringing in 1 million yuan (US$120,482).