Culture\Music and Theater

Shanghai loves musicals

By Zhang Kun | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-02 11:14

Shanghai loves musicals

West Side Story. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Musical fanatics

According to AC Orange, a company that has since 2015 been helping to coproduce Broadway shows, its showing of Wicked earlier this year had a seat occupancy of 90 percent while famous productions such as Phantom of the Opera are often sold out ahead of the premiere.

Another indication of the immense popularity of Western musicals in Shanghai is the extent to which audiences go to meet the performers. Chinese audiences have been known to camp by the stage doors in a bid to get autographs and selfies with the cast. Many also come prepared with gifts for their favorite actors.

Daniel Eckert, an actor who performed in the German musical Mozart, said that he was so overwhelmed by the reception that he cried when the cast had to depart Shanghai.

"It was too much for me. Back in my hometown, I am nobody, I am just a student," said Eckert.

According to Shanghai Culture Square, its ticket sales last year amounted to more than 35 million yuan ($5.3 million).

There are even fans who would watch a musical more than once. Rachel He, a musical enthusiast who has spent more than 16,000 yuan this year on tickets, said that she would usually watch a performance at least twice, once from a central seating position and the other time from the side.

Another musical lover, Zhao Zhujun, said that she loved Mozart so much that she watched it seven times. Such is her passion for musicals that the 27-year office worker has even become a volunteer at the Shanghai Culture Square to help foreign actors with translations and run errands.

"It is common for musical fans in Shanghai to watch a show repeatedly. The most fanatical ones would even watch the show from the first night to the last," said Jin Huanhuan, project director of AC Orange.

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