Terra cotta warriors to get theater

Updated: 2013-08-29 11:54

By Caroline Berg in New York (China Daily)

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 Terra cotta warriors to get theater

Two costumed members of The Legend of Emperor Qin show flank President Wang Yong (second from left) of Shaanxi Miracle Achievements Development Co, and the show's producer and director Pan Yang, as they pose for photos in New York's Minskoff Theater on Wednesday. Richard Drew / AP

Two global entertainment companies, one in New York and the other in China, will build a world-class, state-of-the-art theater adjacent to the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses exhibition in Xi'an, Shaanxi province.

At 236,000 square-feet with a 2,000-seat capacity and one of the biggest LED stage screens in China, the venue will be one of the largest destination theaters in China and will cost more than $65 million, according to the announcement about the joint project by Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment (NWE) and Shaanxi Qinhuang Grand Theatre Performing Arts Co, Ltd.

For the new venue's inaugural performance, a new show - The Legend of Emperor Qin - will premiere in spring 2014 and run daily performances year-round. It will be the world's first stage production to depict the Chinese Qin Dynasty. The epic story will include grand-scale dance numbers with dramatic costume, lighting and design elements.

The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. The certified UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was discovered in 1974 by local farmers, is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210-209 BC with the purpose of protecting the emperor in the afterlife.

Out of the three excavated pits, the Terra Cotta Army is estimated to consist of more than 8,000 soldiers and 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. Other figures found in other pits include government officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians.

"There are so many reasons to be excited about this theater and The Legend of Emperor Qin," Robert Nederlander, Jr, president and CEO of NWE, said during a news conference Tuesday to announce the joint venture. "It's the kind of entertainment that we expect to run for years and will enhance the appreciation and enjoyment of all that visit Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors."

The show will be presented by the Shaanxi Qinhuang Grand Theater Performing Arts Company, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Shaanxi Miracle Achievements Development Co. NWE serves as the managing partner for the theater and executive producer of the show.

Wang Yong, president of Shaanxi Miracle Achievements Development Co Ltd, which specializes in large-scale tourist and cultural real estate development, said he has worked with NWE over the past three years to complete the production's management model.

"A top-notch theater calls for top-notch management," Wang said at the press conference. "We truly believe that with Terra Cotta Warriors' world-renowned brand with a first-class show in a first-class theater, plus [the Nederland family's more than] 100 years of theater management expertise, we're going to make [this venture] a success and a valuable addition to the Terra Cotta Warrior brand."

NWE was founded to manage theaters and present Broadway productions in emerging international markets, produce international shows for Broadway and abroad, and undertake cultural educational initiatives. NWE boasts expertise in theater management and operations, as well as other facets of live entertainment, such as ticketing, management, promotion, marketing and advertising.

In 2005, NWE established the first foreign joint venture in the Chinese performance industry. Through a Shanghai joint venture, NWE jointly manages theaters in Shanghai, Zhe-jiang and Jiangsu provinces. NWE is developing Mandarin language productions of Broadway shows.

"Our relationship with China is one that we cherish," Robert Nederlander, Sr, chairman of NWE, said at the news conference.


(China Daily USA 08/29/2013 page2)