Foreign musical returns to Shanghai after 3.5 years
The popular French musical "Roméo et Juliette" has become the first foreign musical returning to the Shanghai stage in three and a half years.
"After China reopened (its stages) to overseas performances, we immediately received an invitation," Gérard Presgurvic, composer and lyric writer of the original musical, told Shanghai Daily.
The last foreign musical performed in Shanghai was "Notre Dame de Paris," which was staged at Shanghai Culture Square in January, 2020.
Presgurvic has visited Shanghai four times.
"The city has its old and new sides at the same time. Personally, it's one of my favorite cities," he said.
Based on William Shakespeare's timeless classic, the musical premiered in France in 2001 and made its China debut at the Culture Square in 2012.
Presgurvic said new songs and new choreography are featured in this latest version of the musical.
Most importantly, the Shanghai performances star the original cast members of Damien Sargue and Cécilia Cara, who played the lead roles in the musical's world debut over 20 years ago.
The musical "Roméo et Juliette" involves a handful of appealing songs that global audiences can sing along with.
"Popular songs are undoubtably important for a musical," said Presgurvic. "For a 20-year-old musical like Roméo et Juliette, audiences are already very familiar with the songs through CDs. But they can still be attracted to the dramatic performance on stage and famous actors."
As a productive composer, Presgurvic considers innovation and foresight the key factors in original creation.
"Shakespeare's classics can also be approached from a modern angle. What is important is to attract audience into theaters with innovative creativity," he said.
This round of Shanghai performances started on June 2. A lot of audience members dressed up in red and blue – the theme colors of the musical – on their own initiative, creating a festive atmosphere at Culture Square.
"I came here quite often for foreign musicals before the pandemic," audience member Liu Zijie told Shanghai Daily. "I'm very much looking forward to the show, as it has been too long since the last foreign musical came."
"Roméo et Juliette" will be staged at Shanghai Culture Square through June 11. Its China tour will then cover cities like Hangzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Beijing, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Xi'an and Chengdu.
According to staff at Culture Square, another imported musical "Titanic" will be staged for Shanghai audiences in October.
Dates: Through June 11, 2pm/7:30pm
Tickets: 80-1,080 yuan
Venue: Shanghai Culture Square 上海文化广场
Address: 597 Fuxing Rd M. 复兴中路597号