According to The Hollywood Reporter, the first Chinese-produced show to hit the Great White Way, titled Soul of Shaolin, will premiere in January 2009.
The musical is being co-produced by Robert Nederlander Jr. and the Eastern Shanghai Cultural Film and Television Group, and tells the story of a war-era orphan boy taken in by monks of the Shaolin temple in China’s Henan province.
Nederlander, who is attempting to develop a Sino-U.S. cultural business, first visited China in 2000 with U.S. trade negotiator Lee Sands as his adviser.
Hailing directly from appearances in Sydney, Australia and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Shaolin was produced from an original Chinese story, according to producers.
Nederlander began establishing this venture in 2005, with the help of Beijing Time New Century Entertainment, headed by female entrepreneur Chen Jixian. Together they set up a theater circuit across China modeled on his company’s large U.S. circuit. By 2007, they had launched a tour of 42nd Street to Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Xian, Wuhan, Ningbo, Hangzhou and Tianjin.
42nd Street was followed by Aida, which is in the middle of an 11 city run begun in Shanghai in September. It’s due to open December 19th at the Beijing Cultural Exhibition Center and then make a groundbreaking stop in the Inner Mongolian provincial capital of Hohhot.