Kung Fu Spectacular Soul of Shaolin Opens on Broadway

News   Kung Fu Spectacular Soul of Shaolin Opens on Broadway Soul of Shaolin, the martial arts-driven tale of an orphan boy raised in the ancient ways of monks, opens at the Marquis Theatre Jan. 15, marking the first time a production from the People's Republic of China has appeared on Broadway.
Scene from Soul of Shaolin
Scene from Soul of Shaolin Photo by Joan Marcus

Seen in other cities throughout the world, this mix of dance, martial arts, acrobatics, potent music and vivid theatrical design, plays only 24 performances at the Marquis Theatre to Jan. 31. Previews began Jan. 13.

Nederlander Worldwide Productions, LLC and The Eastern Shanghai International Culture Film & Television Group are partnering to present the production, under the producing brand China on Broadway.

Executive producers are Fang Jun and Robert Nederlander, Jr. The production is directed and choreographed by Liu Tongbiao and has music by Zhou Chenglong.

The production, featuring 30 Chinese performers, billed as the Shaolin Temple Wushu Martial Artists, is in celebration of the Lunar New Year — the year of the Ox — which will be celebrated Jan. 26.

* Soul of Shaolin (pronounced "SheOW LEEN"), which has appeared in Sydney, Macau and at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, "is set in ancient China during a time of war," according to production notes. "After being separated from his mother when he was a baby, Hui Guang was rescued and raised by monks in the Shaolin Temple. Under the guidance of his mentor, Na Luo, Hui Guang is instructed in the unique ways and daily practices of Shaolin Kung Fu. The play Soul of Shaolin combines the action of Kung Fu and the inaction of Buddhist meditation with a heart-warming story to create an organic whole. By presenting the fist technique, the tempering of the body's internal organs and the wrestling skills and tricks of traditional Shaolin Kung Fu, the play brings out their underlying spiritual essence. As a brand-new form of artistic work, Soul of Shaolin showcases the beauty and skill of traditional Shaolin Kung Fu."

The artists "are highly skilled in Shaolin Kung Fu, the breathtaking martial art" that has been featured in such films as "Fearless" (starring international superstar Jet Li) and "Shaolin Soccer."

Shaolin Kung Fu is described as the collection of martial arts that is associated with the monks of the Shaolin temple in China's Henan province. This particular style is characterized "by almost superhuman displays of strength and agility, but is tempered with the monks' philosophical belief in training the mind, body, and Soul."

The creative team includes costume designer Huang Gengying, martial arts directors Jiang Dongxu and Zhu Huayin, makeup designer Chen Meiping, sound designers Wu Feifei and Keith Caggiano, stage designer Xie Tongmiao and lighting designer Song Tianjiao.

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Soul of Shaolin marks the inaugural production of China on Broadway, a partnership between Nederlander Worldwide Productions and Eastern Shanghai International Culture Film & Television Group. China on Broadway's American and Chinese partners will work together to develop and produce theatrical projects for global audiences and will bring an annual theatrical event featuring leading Chinese artists to Broadway in celebration of the Lunar New Year.

Robert Nederlander, Jr. of Nederlander Worldwide Productions stated, "This partnership has already experienced tremendous success with our touring production of Aida in China. We are honored to be able to bring this partnership to Broadway with Soul of Shaolin, an amazing show that blends the fantastic spectacle of Shaolin Kung Fu with the rich history and tradition of the Chinese people in a new show that has been created by world class artists from Chinese theatre, opera, and ballet."

Nederlander Worldwide Productions, LLC and affiliates (NWP) are led by Robert Nederlander, Jr., a third generation member of the Nederlander family, one of the major dynasties of the American theatre. Nederlander founded and has personally overseen NWP's efforts in China since 2000, establishing the first Chinese foreign joint venture in the performance industry and creating a highly successful network of Chinese theatres for their touring productions including, in part, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Wuhan, Xi'an and Tianjin. Recent productions presented by NWP that have toured China include 42nd Street and Aida.

Eastern Shanghai International Culture Film & Television Co., Ltd. is an entertainment conglomerate with interests in television, film and live entertainment. The company is supported directly by the Shanghai Mayor's office, with a goal of making the city China's premiere world-class city for musical theatre and live entertainment. As a comprehensive culture and performance organization in the People's Republic of China, Eastern Shanghai has dedicated significant resources to improving the cultural industry in China as well as the export and introduction of Chinese cultural products around the world.

For tickets, visit Ticketmaster.com or call (212) 307-4100 or visit the Marquis Theatre box office at 1535 Broadway. For more information, visit www.SoulOfShaolin.com.

Tickets are $95, $75 and $50. Student rush tickets will be available for $30 day of the show at the Marquis, with a valid ID, two tickets per student pending availability.

Performances Jan. 13-25, will be Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday at 2 & 8 PM, Thursday and Friday at 8 PM, Saturday 2 & 8 PM and Sunday at 3 PM.

Performances Jan. 26-31 (The Week of Lunar New Year) will be Monday at 8 PM (Day of the Lunar New Year), Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday at 2 & 8 PM, Thursday and Friday at 8 PM and Saturday at 2 & 8 PM. There is no performance on Sunday.

Scene from <i>Soul of Shaolin</i>
Scene from Soul of Shaolin Photo by Joan Marcus