Chinese produced musical tells the story of 'Lady M'

Ma Yue
English musical based on Shakespeare's play features an international cast of performers and China-based producers and puts the spotlight on Lady Macbeth.
Ma Yue

The new musical "Lady M," the first China-produced original English musical adapted from William Shakespeare's "Macbeth," will be staged in Shanghai in May.

Presented by Shanghai Culture Square and Xujun Drama & Musical, "Lady M" features an international cast and China-based producers, and approaches the classic play from the angle of Lady Macbeth, Macbeth's wife and later Queen of Scotland.

The script and songs were composed by James Beeny and Gina Georgio.

"In an era of war and turmoil, Shakespeare dug deeply into the human heart and nature under a disordered and uneasy social atmosphere," said director Xu Jun. "This is an everlasting classic, and what we need to do is to explore its meaning for the modern world."

This modern adaptation of "Macbeth" focuses on the themes of ambition and desire, violence and crime, sense and sensibility, as well as tradition and revolution.

"Lady Macbeth is a mysterious and complicated character," said Xu. "The performance will be staged in an immersive theater rather than on a traditional framed stage. If you watch 'Lady M' from different angles, you can observe her different inner sides."

Chinese produced musical tells the story of 'Lady M'
Ti Gong

"Lady M" features an international cast.

With music and lyrics by Britain's James Beeny and Gina Georgio, the musical features performers from the Netherlands, the UK and China.

Shakespeare expert Shi Zhikang, a retired professor from the Shanghai International Studies University, has been invited to be literary consultant for the musical.

Dutch-born singers Maya Hakvoort and Li-Tong Hsu, as well as Chinese singer Miao Mengchu will take turns to play the lead role.

"I have performed on stage for 35 years, and this is an opportunity to be cherished," said Hakvoort. "I have worked and performed in Japan too, so I'm very familiar with Asian culture. People are polite and the audiences are very open."

Chinese produced musical tells the story of 'Lady M'
Ti Gong

Maya Hakvoort is one of the perfomers playing the lead role in "Lady M."

Karl Queensborough, who took the lead role in the West End version of "Hamilton," will play Macbeth, while West End actor Richard Carson plays the role of Macduff, Thane of Fife.

The musical will premiere at MIFA 1862 on May 9. The first round of performances last till June 2, and ticket information will be unveiled later.

Meanwhile, the 2023 Show Life Musical Billboard announced its award winners earlier this week.

Introduced by Shanghai Culture Square's musical culture research center and Huangpu District's performing art brand Show Life, the billboard has four individual awards and five public vote awards.

Chinese produced musical tells the story of 'Lady M'

Ayanga (right) and Zheng Qiyuan (left) receive the Most Influential Actor of the Year award.

"Matilda" won the Best Imported Musical of the Year award. The Chinese version of "The Phantom of the Opera" was named the Best Adapted Musical. "The Orphan of Zhao" won the Best Original Musical award. "Smash the Wall" became the Most Potential Musical of the Year.

Of the public vote awards, Ayanga, Zheng Qiyuan and Ye Qisheng received the Most Influential Actor of the Year award. The Most Influential Actress of the Year award went to Xu Yao, Cui Ener and Jiang Qianru.

As a newly established billboard, the 2023 Show Life Musical Billboard received a total of 139 entries, covering both professional theater works and new performing arts space musicals. The billboard hopes to reflect the true situation of China's musical market and help healthy development of the industry.

Chinese produced musical tells the story of 'Lady M'
Ti Gong

The 2023 Show Life Musical Billboard award ceremony was held at Shanghai Culture Square on February 25.

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