On December 12 the Tony-winning Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, will host a developmental reading of Road to Heaven: The Jonathan Lee Musical, the latest musical from China Broadway Entertainment and its chairman, Ivy Zhong.
Adapted from the novel by Li Xiuwen, the original musical will feature music by Chinese singer-songwriter Jonathan Lee with English lyrics by Tony Award winner Richard Maltby, Jr. (Ain't Misbehavin', Miss Saigon, Fosse) and a book by John Dempsey (The Pirate Queen, The Witches of Eastwick).
Road to Heaven: The Jonathan Lee Musical is described as the story of a young woman and her terminally ill lover. “Driven by an endless well of passion, she works five jobs, breaks the law and risks her life in her efforts to keep the man she loves alive.”
Following the reading, Road to Heaven will be translated back into Chinese for a world premiere in Shanghai in 2018. English-language productions are planned for New York and other cities throughout the U.S. following the Chinese premiere.
In a career spanning nearly four decades, Jonathan Lee is known throughout Greater China as "the godfather of popular music." In addition to producing his own chart-topping solo albums, Lee has written and produced songs for China's greatest pop stars and received 25 of China's most prestigious music awards, including seven Golden Melody Awards.
“I could not be more delighted that China Broadway approached me about utilizing my songbook in such a new and exciting project,” said Lee in a statement. “This is a new medium for me and my music. The idea that my music can reach a new, global audience through the theatre is absolutely thrilling. I cannot wait to see how this incredible creative team interprets my music on the stage.”
“We are truly honored that the legendary Jonathan Lee has entrusted us with his songbook for this exciting original musical,” added China Broadway Entertainment CEO and Founder Ivy Zhong. “Road to Heaven: The Jonathan Lee Musical marks the latest creative marriage of Eastern and Western talent to be fostered by China Broadway Entertainment. With this project, a team of theater artists representing the best of Broadway, London's West End and American regional theater interpret one of China's great contemporary love stories though the music of China's legendary pop icon.”
“The sources and inspiration for this musical come from China. The interpretation and development come from America. The goal is to create a new kind of musical theater experience that will be entirely universal,” stated director Schaeffer. “The 'Broadway Musical' may be as American as apple pie, but its popularity continues to grow with audiences around the world. With Road to Heaven, we aspire to create a new kind of global musical that reflects the international appeal of this theater form.”