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Culture\Music and Theater

Classic Broadway musical given Chinese character

By CHEN NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-21 07:25

Classic Broadway musical given Chinese character

The Chinese adaptation of Broadway musical Jekyll and Hyde will be staged in Beijing in September. Set in 19th-century London, the musical tells the story of a doctor who suffers from schizophrenia. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"There have been no big changes such as adding scenes, or cutting a song, but we have made some changes to the lyrics and dialogue to be able to tell the story naturally, clearly and poignantly in Chinese, as well as other relatively small changes so it feels natural for the Chinese actors and audience," the director adds.

The musical Jekyll and Hyde is the first that Swan has directed in China. He has directed the musical in a few places around the world, such as South Korea in 2004.

He first saw the musical in the summer of 1990 and was impressed with the power of the show and the music.

"This story speaks to a truth about the human condition that is both universal and powerful. None of us are perfect. We all have parts of ourselves that we are not proud of and try to hide or ignore. How we deal with our faults and weaknesses and whether we let them overcome us is something we all must deal with," says Swan.

"The truth of that situation is something everyone can relate to and can be something that can both move an audience and make them think."

Shanghai-based company, CC Live Entertainment, the presenter of the musical, gathered together the team behind the Chinese version of blockbuster musicals, such as Cats and Mamma Mia!

Zhou Xiaowei, the associate director, who translated the script and lyrics, says: "We spent over two years preparing for the musical, and translation was one of the key parts. We have tried to make every line as meaningful as possible. While we have kept the original setting of the story in Victorian London, we have kept an eye on certain relations and interactions so they feel as familiar to Chinese audiences as possible."

Zhou also notes that with musicals becoming a popular theater genre in China over the past decade, the company will introduce more Chinese adaptations of classic Western musicals, such as Les Miserables and 42nd Street.

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