Culture\Music and Theater

Musical based on iconic film debuts

By Zhang Kun in Shanghai | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-07-14 12:50
Musical based on iconic film debuts

An English musical production of the blockbuster film The Bodyguard kicked off its five-month China tour at the Shanghai Culture Square.

A total of 21 performances will be held in Shanghai between June 30 and July 16 before the production moves on to other cities including Beijing, Ningbo of Zhejiang province, Changzhou and Nanjing of Jiangsu province, and Shenyang of Liaoning province.

The film tells a love story between superstar singer Rachel Marron, played by the late Whitney Houston, and professional bodyguard Frank Farmer, who is played by Kevin Costner.

While the movie only featured six songs by Houston, the musical production premiered in London's West End in 2012 with 13 songs, including I Will Always Love You, I Have Nothing and Saving All My Love.

Michael Harrison and David Ian, producers of the original musical production, said that audiences in China will be seeing the show "exactly as it was when it opened in the West End."

Ian explained that the musical was created because the film had all the elements that would work well in a musical theater.

"It is romantic, it is a thriller and it features a strong woman. There is a great tradition in musical theater in having strong female characters. And then there was a score of music that was just perfect for the stage," he said.

Harrison added that audiences in Shanghai can expect to see more musicals coming to the city in the near future as the West sees China as an exciting and new market where demand is growing.

This is not the duo's first foray into China. Two years ago, Ian and Harrison brought The Sound of Music to China. The musical is now being adapted into Chinese.

"I think this will be the case for other shows. During discussions about bringing Western shows to China, we have also had conversations about adapting them into Chinese after the English version has run for one or two seasons," said Harrison.

British actress Carole Stennett will be playing the female lead in the production's China tour. She was formerly the lead when the production first kicked off in the West End.

"I think it is an honor to have this role that was once played by a very famous, iconic lady. Just being considered to be in the same bracket as Houston and to be able to deliver her songs is an amazing opportunity," she said.


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