Performers wanted for Shanghai Disney park

Updated: 2016-06-02 08:18


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Performers wanted for Shanghai Disney park

Performers stand in a hallway during a rehearsal for a show. [Photo/Agencies]

For more experienced performers such as Li Weiling, 28, who will play Nala in the Mandarin-version of the Lion King musical, a callback from Disney after a year of auditioning was a huge career break. The Xiamen graduate of the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory of Music had been teaching full-time after finishing a two-year run in 2014 as Silibub in a Chinese-language production of Cats.

"In my second year of university, my teacher gave me Nala's song, Shadowland, to sing," she said. "I didn't know about this musical then. Now I am trying to cope with the pressure of being China's first Nala."

With just two weeks to go before the Shanghai Disney opening, Chinese performers are rehearsing with directors and trainers flown in from the US. After Disney gets its troupe ready for prime time, the next challenge may be keeping them.

Starting next year, Shanghai Disney will face greater competition. DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc has a $2.4-billion DreamCenter park scheduled for 2017 in Shanghai, while Haichang Ocean Park Holdings Ltd will open China's largest marine park in the metropolis next year.