NY musical becomes completely Chinese

Updated: 2014-06-23 07:28

By Sun Ye (China Daily)

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NY musical becomes completely Chinese

Avenue Q is a successful localized edition of the Tony award-winning musical, with Chinese jokes and stories. Photo provided to China Daily

NY musical becomes completely Chinese
Children practice Peking opera in E China
NY musical becomes completely Chinese
Kid's theater is too much drama
The Tony award-winning musical Avenue Q was set in a fictional New York block and was based on everything the Big Apple offers to exuberant young people looking for life's purpose.

But when the setting was transplanted to a Beijing corner, it became completely Chinese. It's not just the Mandarin but also the gags, subjects and the mentality.

The musical, vivacious and funny and as R-rated as its New York counterpart, is still done with fluffy Sesame Street-style puppets handled by actors. Now it shows young Chinese people's day-to-day lives so well that one is prompted to think it's tailor-made for the group.

The characters are similar to the original. Princeton, the hapless graduate in the original's lead with an English degree, is now Tsinghua (the name of a prestigious university), and he's dismayed over his useless Chinese bachelor's degree. The housekeeper is now the grown-up "little dragon boy", a nostalgic horned cartoon figure for the country's post-1980 generations.

It's not just the names and catch phrases that got local. The musical opens with a discussion on the differences of northerners and southerners—there has long been a comical and hot debate between people from the two regions, who disagree on almost everything from food and seasoning to dialects and bathing habits.

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