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Phantom makes history in China  
Shanghai Grand Theater

Award-winning musical The Phantom of the Opera will debut in Shanghai on 18th December.

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s global smash hit is another indication that Shanghai is the country’s top destination for overseas musicals and performing arts.

Tickets are already on sale, with prices for the premiere ranging from 200 yuan (US$24) to 2,000 yuan. Tickets for weekends and holidays cost between 140 yuan (US$17) and 800 yuan (US$96), while weekday prices are set between 120 yuan (US$14) and 680 (US$82) yuan.

Considered one of the four best musical dramas in the world, The Phantom of the Opera has attracted international audiences numbering more than 58 million. It has won seven Tony Awards since its London debut in 1986.

Phantom will run through 5th March, 2005, with 97 shows, making it the longest-running musical ever staged in China.

The appearance of Phantom in Shanghai is made possible by a 50 million yuan (US$6.4 million) investment by Shanghai Media and Entertainment Group, Shanghai Grand Theater and Webber’s Really Useful Group in the UK. “The play will probably become the most expensive overseas performance ever staged in China,” said Qian Shijin, Manager of the Shanghai Grand Theater.

Qian says the musical drama is expected to draw at least 100,000 people, which would be another record for overseas performances in the country. Since the debut of Les Misérables in the city in 2001, musicals have steadily increased in popularity. Cats and The Sound of Music were both box office successes.

The hit musical Cats had a 53-show run in the city last year and holds the box office record for ticket sales despite being hurt by the SARS outbreak. About 80,000 people enjoyed the show, giving Cats the current record for run duration. The Sound of Music attracted about 60,000 people during its 35-show run at the Shanghai Grand Theatre, which ended last month.

“Musicals, including those from overseas, are always popular with Shanghai audiences,” said Qian.

(Shanghai Daily July 28, 2004)

Posted on: 1st August 2004

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