By Kenneth Jones
05 Sep 2007
Presented by Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, LLC, with other producing partners, including Troika Entertainment, the tap-happy 1980 musical comedy will tour to Beijing, Nanjing, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Hefei and Ningbo — marking the first time a Broadway production has toured this extensively throughout China.
Co-librettist Mark Bramble, who directed the musical's Tony Award-winning 2001 Broadway revival, stages the production.
Robert Nederlander, Jr., president and CEO of Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, stated, "This event is not only about bringing the best of Broadway to China, it's about sharing universal themes through musical performances while fostering goodwill among our two cultures."
This production of 42nd Street marks the start of Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment's efforts into China and the rest of Asia. It's the "first of many Broadway shows that the Nederlander/Chinese venture will tour across China," according to the producers.
A project seven years in the making, Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment's Chinese affiliate "is the first joint-venture production and theatre management company allowed to operate under the new rules set forth by the Chinese Ministry of Culture."
The venture has received "strategic investments" from American International Group, Inc., and Ticketmaster.
This is likely the first time such songs as "You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me," "I Only Have Eyes for You" and "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" will be performed live in Chinese theatres.
In December, a tour in Korea begins with eight weeks in Seoul followed by four weeks in other cities before moving on to Thailand and Malaysia.
As previously reported, Rick Conant choreographs the production, which boasts an American cast that includes Equity and non-Equity performers.
American and British musicals have filtered into China in recent years with major Western-produced stagings of Les Miz, The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, The Lion King and more getting runs in major cities there.
Variety reported that the 42nd Street China tour producing partners are the Nederlanders, Troika Entertainment and Broadway Asia Entertainment, and the Chinese partners are Beijing Time New Century Entertainment and Shanghai Media Entertainment Group.