Chinese musical 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' debuts in Shanghai

Ma Yue
Oscar Wilde's only novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is adapted into a Chinese musical, based on the popular South Korean version, but featuring new stage design and choreography.
Ma Yue

Irish writer Oscar Wilde's only novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," is adapted into a Chinese musical, which debuted at the Shanghai Grand Theater last weekend.

Featuring a group of popular musical actors like Ye Qisheng, Zhang Ze and Liu Yan, the Chinese musical is based on a South Korean version, while the costumes, stage sets and choreography are all newly designed.

South Korean choreographer Shin Sun-Ho was invited to Shanghai to participate in the production during the rehearsal stage. Together with composer Kim Moon-Jeong, who is also from South Korea, they watched the premiere show of the musical in Shanghai.

Chinese musical 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' debuts in Shanghai
Ti Gong

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" debuts at the Shanghai Grand Theater.

"The composition took a lot of effort when the musical was staged in South Korea in 2016," said Kim. "Watching its Chinese version on a stage in Shanghai, I could barely hold back my tears."

She added, "I could feel the hard work and sincerity of the Chinese performers, who want to sing the songs to the best ability ... I hope I get more chances to cooperate with Chinese musical practitioners in the future," she said.

Wilde's novel, which was published in 1890, is regarded as a Gothic literary classic and retains practical relevance in the modern era.

"The story is very close to today's life," director Zhou Ke said in an earlier interview. "Modern people also worry a lot about appearances. Some seek sensual fulfillment and are lost in desire."

Chinese musical 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' debuts in Shanghai
Ti Gong

The Chinese version features newly designed costumes, stage sets and choreography.

The story revolves around a portrait of Dorian Gray painted by Basil Hallward, who is infatuated with Gray's beauty.

Through Hallward, Gray meets Lord Henry Wotton and gets influenced by his hedonistic worldview: Beauty and sensual fulfillment are the only things worth pursuing in life.

Gray agrees to trade his soul in order for the painting to age and fade, rather than him. He then leads a free life while staying young and beautiful, but his portrait matures and records Gray's sins.

Director Zhou hastened the pace of the story to appeal to Chinese audiences. The story mainly centers around the three male characters, detailing how Basil and Wotton influenced and changed Dorian.

The musical will be performed in Beijing after this round of performances in Shanghai.

Performance info:

Dates: March 8-12, 2pm, 7:30pm

Tickets: 180-980 yuan

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater

Address: 300 People's Ave


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