A new musical about Shanghai’s little-known role in history as a safe haven for thousands of Jews who fled Nazi-occupied Europe in the 1930s and ’40s is positioning itself to become the first Chinese musical to play an open-ended Broadway run.
Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment has signed a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai Heng Yuan Xiang Drama Development Company to bring the production to New York.
Titled Shimmer, the musical is aiming for a 2019 Broadway arrival.
Featuring a book by Rong Guangrun, music by Peter Pui-Tat Kam, lyrics by Liang Mang, and direction by Xu Jun, Shimmer will be performed in both English and Mandarin. The show’s original score is inspired by music of the era, and incorporates traditional Jewish and Chinese music as well as klezmer and contemporary musical theatre.
Shimmer received a high-profile New York City showcase last December.
“While this is based on a true story that took place over 80 years ago, this forgotten piece of world history could not be more relevant today,” said Bob Nederlander Jr., President of Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, in a statement. “Two very different sets of people come together in a time of extreme danger and hardship. Together, these people grow stronger together, embracing one another’s diversity and discovering the common challenges that make them so alike. We could not be more excited to bring this musical to new audiences.”
Nederlander Worldwide previously imported the martial arts spectacle Soul of Shaolin to New York for a limited run at the Marquis Theatre in 2009, which marked the first Chinese production to run on Broadway.
In 2007 Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment announced a joint venture to bring Broadway musicals (and the Broadway production model) to China. Nederlander Worldwide has also brought 42nd Street, Aida, and Fame: The Musical to Chinese audiences in recent years.