Musical Theatre of the Central Academy of Drama, the first Musical theatre in China, has recently been set up. The troupe's actors and actresses are all graduates of the first musical class of the academy. Most of them were selected nationwide in 1995 with high endowment of singing and dancing, and after two years of intensive study both at home and in Japan, their performing skills greatly enhanced. Their graduating performance earned, for the first time in history, a profit for the academy, which encouraged their determination for setting up a theatre company so as to cover the dearth of musicals in China.
Their premiering performance is The Cat Wants to Be a Man, originally an American play by Laoe Alexanda, translated from a Japanese script of the same name. The play is a comedy for children, telling a story about a cat who becomes a man through the help of a magician, and in the three days experience of being a man, he falls in love with a girl and converts a villain. In the end the cat's dream comes true, and he permanently becomes a man.
The musical is directed by Asha Li Kei Ta of Shiki Theatrical Company, Japan. The Cat Wants to Be a Man is part of the repertoire of Shiki Theatrical Company which first performed it 30 years ago. It is said that Shiki Theatrical Company is now preparing to introduce the Lloyd Webber musical Cats into China in 1998, but the copyright issue is still under discussion.
The Cat Wants to Be a Man runs Dec. 20-Jan. 5 at 7:00 PM, at Experimental Theatre of the Central Academy of Drama, for tickets call 86-010-64037634.
--By Wang Ling