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Finding their voice(2)

2014-08-04 08:57 China Daily Web Editor: Wang Fan
Chinese edition ofMamma Mia! is produced by United Asia Live Entertainment. [Photo/China Daily]

Chinese edition ofMamma Mia! is produced by United Asia Live Entertainment. [Photo/China Daily]

According to Li Xiaofei, general manager of Ovation Cultural Development, the Chinese version of the Tony Award-winning musical has been in development for three years and features themes mutually understood by the audience, such as parents and children, responsibility and morality.

"Mamma Mia! and Cats made a great step to introduce musicals in Chinese to audiences here. But apart from the singing, everything else has been done in a Western way by Western production companies, costumes and body language included. We want to further localize the Western art form," Li says.

The confidence to invest big money into the incubation base also came from the numbers underpinning the market for musicals in China.

The total revenue of musicals was more than 230 million yuan in 2013, Li says, an increase of more than 20 percent year-on-year. The number of musical performances topped 50 percent in 2013, to more than 1,300. They attracted more than 1 million people, 40 percent higher than in 2012.

"The musical market in China is very promising. Unlike some other Western art forms, like opera and ballet, musicals are commercial and entertaining. It doesn't require professional knowledge to appreciate," Li says.

The incubator will also meet the needs of the increasing number of young Chinese musical talents.

Xia Zhenkai, 29, who plays the lead role of the baker in Into the Woods, is a graduate of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He majored in musical performances.

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