On Monday, July 11, MAMMA MIA!, the global smash-hit stage musical based on the songs of ABBA, makes history once again when a Mandarin-language production opens at the Grand Theatre in Shanghai, China. It is the first production of its kind: a major, contemporary Broadway musical produced in Chinese by a local company. The Telegraph’s Malcolm Moore reports from Shanghai.
Welcome to Mamma Mia! in Shanghai, the first major Western musical to be translated for the Chinese stage.
By Malcolm Moore, Shanghai
05 Jul 2011
With three nights until the curtain goes up, the flared spandex catsuits hang ready, the cast is in last-minute dance rehearsals, and a huddle of translators is debating how best to render Abba’s immortal lyrics into mandarin.
A dozen years after it opened in London, and after playing to 40 million people and grossing more than £1.2 billion worldwide, the producers of Abba’s hit musical hope to win over an audience more accustomed to stirring historical dramas and revolutionary epics.
According to Tian Yuan, its co-producer, it was the musical’s “huge brand” and appeal to younger audiences that helped it beat more established West End shows to the Chinese stage. But the head of China Entertainment Group, the government company behind the show, put it more bluntly: “We chose it, to be frank, because of its success.”
There have been a few changes. At times the cast switches into Mongolian and Tibetan folk dance. There is even a performance of the Twisting Yangko, a Chinese countryside dance that mimics the planting of rice seedlings.
To learn more about the production, and to read the rest of the feature, click here.