poster china montage

It’s nearly impossible for consumers these days to determine value for money and quality of show prior to seeing it, since it’s become easy to market a show these days by merely licensing the original Broadway or West End productions logo with their performance license, and to include the pedigree of the original production in the marketing of the tour.  For example, often in China we see “Tony Award winning musical” branded on marketing for non-union shows.  While it may be true that the original production by the same name (and logo) won a Tony Award, it has no relation whatsoever to the the musical production currently touring.  Indeed, I’ve seen many a show in China at major theatres labelled as Broadway tours that were actually on the Actors Equity do not work list (“black list”).

In general terms, one single Broadway or West End musical production may spin off, over time into multiple tours — typically starting with a high quality tour in North America or the UK while the show is playing on Broadway or in the West End, or immediately after it closes.  Once this tour has done it’s rounds, often a cheaper tour is developed to play slightly smaller theatres/cities, using a scaled down set and company.  After this tour has it’s done it’s rounds, the show is often put out for licensing, allowing 3rd parties to create a version of the show, licensing the original logo, and touring to even smaller markets and international cities using a much smaller set and company.  This process repeats for as long as the market can sustain.

USA based professional union musicals are classified by the producers and union associations based on the productions weekly base guarantee (the fee paid by the local presenter to the shows producer).  For example, and in generalized simplistic terms, from best to worst:

Broadway (in New York)
1st Class Broadway Tour USD $450,000 or more
Musical Tour Tier B USD $400,000 – $449,000
Musical Tour Tier C USD $350,000 – $399,000
“Bus & Truck” Tour Tier D Less than USD $350,000
Non-Union Professional Tour
Non-Union Semi-Professional Tour

Internationally, it gets murkier, generally West End of London is the pinnacle of quality, followed by a 1st class licensed “sit down” production in a global city (such as Amsterdam, Toronto, Hamburg, Tokyo or Melbourne).  Thereafter, usually the 1st class tours are next best quality — for example, British, European or Australian touring productions.  Thereafter, the 2nd class tours are next best, using largely companies of actors and crew from places like South Africa, Eastern Europe or Mexico — often non-union, yet semi-professional.  What follows, and often the lowest quality productions are those utilizing non-union and often precariously paid companies of actors and staff.

SOME presenters in China, capitalize on this confusion and mislead the general public by marketing a low quality non-union show as if it was the original Broadway or West End production which has never been the case.  This is doing significant damage to the Broadway brand in China, and is dramatically hurting the audience development of the market.  I plead with Chinese presenters to be honest in the marketing in future.  However, I predict this issue will get worse as China places lower cost, regardless of quality as a priority, and as more theatres open, with more shows competing with each other.

quality triangle

Unfortunately, MOST of the musicals seen in China too date fall into the blue/purple/pink zone.  (and a couple at the very, very bottom of the chart)

poster china montecristo MONTE CHRISTO
May 18-20, 2012 at the Shanghai Cultural Plaza for two days for the the closing of the 29th Shanghai Spring International Music Festival. Russian non-equity touring production


poster china zorro ZORRO
October 2011 at Shanghai Oriental Art Centre followed by tour of Beijing, Chongqing, Wuhan, Chengdu, Shenzhen. Presented by Show Time Asia Group in association with Zorro Limited. West End spinoff non-equity touring production

2011年十月在上海东方艺术中心开演,紧接着在北京,重庆,武汉,成都,深圳等城市巡演。由Show Time Asia Group与Zorro Limited联合出品。伦敦西区非协会制衍生剧巡演制作

poster china kissmekate KISS ME KATE
The planned August-October 2011 Tour of Wenzhou, Ningbo, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen was cancelled on Sept 26 following poor (25%) ticket sales in Beijing. Presented by Beijing Exhibition Center Media Co, Produced by Hebei Silang Performance Agency Pty Ltd/NSW Brave Touch Productions using an Australian cast. Australian non-equity touring production

原计划在2011年8月至10月在温州,宁波,北京,上海,广州和深圳等城市巡演。同年9月26日,在北京票房销售失败(25%)后被取消。由Beijing Exhibition Center Media Co出品,由Hebei Silang Performance Agency Pty Ltd及NSW Brave Touch Productions制作,使用澳大利亚的演员团队。澳大利亚非协会制巡演制作

poster china fame FAME
2009/2010 tour of Suzhou, Minhang (Shanghai), Xi’an, Nanning, Wuhan, Fuzhou and Beijing. Produced by Phoenix Entertainment, presented by Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment in conjunction with local presenters. USA non-equity touring production

于2009年/2010年,在苏州,闵行区(上海),西安,南宁,武汉,福州和北京等城市巡演。由Phoenix Entertainment制作,Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment 与当地的出品商联合出品。美国非协会制巡演制作

poster china highschoolmusical HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
June 2009 at the Shanghai Grand Theatre, for 24 shows with 32 International Cast and 10 Musicians. Returned in 2010 for a tour including Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Zheng Zhou, He Fei, Chongqing, Wuhan, Beijing. South African non-equity touring production


poster china cinderella CINDERELLA
2008 tour of Xi’an, Zhengzhou, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing. Produced by Broadway Asia. Asian non-equity touring production

2008年在西安,郑州,重庆,深圳,广州,上海,北京等城市巡演。由Broadway Asia制作. 亚洲非协会制巡演制作

poster china aida AIDA
2008/2009 tour of Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Xi’an, Beijing, Huhhot, Tianjin. Produced by Big League Theatricals, presented by Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment / local presenters. USA non-equity touring production

2008年/2009年在天津,上海,南京,武汉,杭州,宁波,西安,北京,呼和浩特等城市巡演,最后一场回归天津演出。由Big League Theatricals制作,Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment 及当地出品商出品。美国非协会制巡演制作

poster china hairspray HAIRSPRAY
July 2008, Shanghai Grand Theatre for 2 weeks, then Beijing for 1 week. Produced by Broadway Asia. USA non-equity touring production

2008年7月,在上海大剧院作了为期两星期的演出,之后在北京作了为期一星期的演出,由Broadway Asia制作。美国非协会制巡演制作

poster china 42ndstreet 42nd STREET
2007 tour of Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Hefei, Ningbo, Changsha, Wuhan, Beijing. Produced by Troika Entertainment and Broadway Asia Entertainment, presented by Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment / local presenters.  USA non-equity touring production

2007年在上海,杭州,南京,河北,宁波,长沙,武汉,北京等城市巡演。由 Troika Entertainment 和 Broadway Asia Entertainment制作, Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment 及当地出品商出品。 美国非协会制巡演制作

poster china lepetitprince LE PETIT PRINCE
A French-language musical, Le Petit Prince, by composer Riccardo Cocciante, at Shanghai Oriental Art Centre in July 2007. European non-equity touring production

一部法语音乐剧,”小王子”,由作曲家Riccardo Cocciante创作,于2007年7月,在上海东方艺术中心上演。欧洲非协会制巡演制作

poster china mammamia MAMMA MIA
International Tour production produced by Judy Craymer, at the Shanghai Grand Theatre from July-August 2007, then Beijing for two-weeks the Poly Theater in August.  European non-equity touring production.  A Chinese language version opened in 2011

由Judy Craymer制作的国际巡演制作,于2007年7月至8月在上海大剧院上演,之后于同年8月在北京保利剧院进行了为期两个星期的演出。欧洲非协会制巡演制作  中文版在2011年公演

poster china kingandi THE KING & I
Made its Asia premiere in Shenzhen, China, on April 25, 2007. Also played in Hangzhou. Produced by Broadway Asia.  Asian non-equity touring production

于2007年4月25日在中国深圳亚洲首演,也在杭州演出过。由Broadway Asia制作。亚洲非协会制巡演制作

poster china lionking THE LION KING
Shanghai’s Grand Theatre from July 18, 2006 for 13 weeks (101 performances/160,000 audience members and RMB 72 million in box office). Presented by The Shanghai Grand Theatre / The Walt Disney Co., Australian production came with 52 performers and the set arrived in 2 special Boeing 747 air freighters prior to continuing to South Africa (Shanghai was a stop off for the tour).  Australian 1st class equity touring production

于2006年7月18日开始,在上海大剧院作了13个星期的演出(101场演出, 16万观众, 人民币7200万的票房收入)。由上海大剧院/The Walt Disney Co.出品,澳大利亚的制作, 有52位演员及由2架特殊波音747货机所载运的布景,并继续到南非演出。(上海是此剧全球巡演的中转站)澳大利亚顶级协会制巡演制作

poster china westdsidestory WEST SIDE STORY
2006 Beijing, directed and choreographed by Joey McKneely and produced by BB Promotion, for the Fourth Beijing International Theater Festival by the Chinese Ministry of Culture, China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, and the Beijing municipal government. German non-equity touring production

于2006年在北京上演,由Joey McKneely导演及编舞,BB Promotion制作。为由中国文化部,中国文学艺术界,中国共产党北京市委员会,北京市委,市政府联合会举办的第四届北京国际戏剧节演出。德国非协会制巡演制作

poster china rent RENT
December 2005 Beizhan Theatre, Beijing followed by Shanghai, starring Hong Kong actress and singer Karen Mok. USA non-equity touring production


poster china burnthefloor BURN THE FLOOR
October 2005 in Beijing at the Great Hall of the People, followed by Shanghai. Presented by China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG). Returned to tour China in 2009.  European non-equity touring production

于2005年10月在北京人民大会堂上演,之后在上海演出,由China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG)出品。于2009年回归在中国巡演。欧洲非协会制巡演制作

poster china phantomoftheopera THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Shanghai’s Grand Theatre in December 2004 in Shanghai – it’s sellout run was assisted by the film version which was in wide DVD distribution at the time.
Australian 1st class equity touring production

于2004年12月在上海大剧院上演— 于同一时间,配合了电影版DVD在全国范围发行,票房一售即空。澳大利亚顶级协会制巡演制作

poster china chicago CHICAGO
December 2004 for 3 performances only, Beijing, The Great Hall of the People, Tian’anmen Square presented by Beijing GHTY Culture and Art Corporation.
USA non-equity touring production

于2004年12月在北京, 人民大会堂, 天安门广场只作了3场演出,由Beijing GHTY Culture and Art Corporation出品。美国非协会制巡演制作

poster china soundofmusic THE SOUND OF MUSIC
2004/2005 national tour cities included Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanning, Harbin, Shanghai, Beijing, Xiaoshan (Hangzhou), Xi’an, Tianjin. Produced by Troika Entertainment and Presented by Broadway Asia / local presenters. USA non-equity touring production

于2004年/2005年在国内包括广州,深圳,南宁,哈尔滨,上海,北京,萧山(杭州),西安,天津等城市巡演。由Troika Entertainment制作,Broadway Asia 及当地出品商出品。美国非协会制巡演制作

poster china cats CATS
Initially toured during the SARS epidemic. When CATS went on sale, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported that ticket sales records were broken when about 5,000 tickets were sold in a single day. Has returned and toured multiple times to multiple cities throughout China.  Australian 1st class equity touring production.  Mandarin language production opened in 2012

最初是在SARS流行期间进行巡演。当CATS开放售票,上海日报报道,票房销售纪录被打破,将近5000张票在当天售罄。该剧已经归演并多次在国内的多个城市巡演过。澳大利亚顶级协会制巡演制作. 普通话制作在2012年首演

poster china riverdance RIVERDANCE
Starting in Beijing October 2003, Riverdance has done multiple, multi-city tours of China. Presented by China Performing Arts Agency (CPAA). Not a musical theatre show, but an Irish dance spectacular. European non-equity touring production

于2003年10月在北京开演, “大河之舞”已经多次在中国多个城市进行过巡演。由China Performing Arts Agency (CPAA)出品。不属于音乐剧剧院演出范畴,但却是一个爱尔兰舞蹈的盛宴。欧洲非协会制巡演制作

poster china lesmiserables LES MISERABLES
Victor Hugo’s novel, “Les Miserables” was a Chinese best-seller – as a result it arrived in 2003 already branded – coupled with a strong marketing campaign it sold out. Was the first 1st Class English language full book musical to play in China since the Communist takeover in 1949. West End equity touring production.


poster china notredamedeparis NOTRE DAME DE PARIS
Played in December, 2002 at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing for 5 performances then in Shanghai January 22-26, 2003. Asian debut for Notre Dame De Paris, and grand finale of the French-Canadian musical. Presented by Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group. European non-equity touring production

于2002年12月在北京人民大会堂作了5场的演出,之后于2003年1月22日至26日在上海上演。”巴黎圣母院”在亚洲的进行首次亮相,法国和加拿大的音乐剧巡演作为收场演出。由Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group出品。欧洲非协会制巡演制作

poster china beautyandthebeast BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
1999 Mandarin language production in Beijing for 4 weeks