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China invests on Broadway to expand musicals and build expertise

中国投资者进军百老汇.jpg

Who’s the latest behind-the-scenes investor on Broadway? China.

美国百老汇幕后最近的投资方是谁?答案是中国。

Three of the hottest musicals on Broadway have Chinese backers as China starts expanding live theatrical entertainment at home and looks to New York for expertise.

百老汇最热门的音乐剧中有三部都有中国的赞助者,因为中国开始扩大国内现场的戏剧性娱乐节目,并寄望于纽约的专业经验。

China Media Capital, a state-backed private-equity fund, has invested in the production company behind Tony-nominated “Hand to God” and “Something Rotten!” Beijing-based China Broadway Entertainment is a backer of “An American in Paris”.

受到国家支持的文化产业私募股权基金华人文化产业投资基金已经投资了话剧《对天发誓》以及音乐剧《腐朽之物!》的制作公司。位于北京的中国百老汇娱乐公司是《一个美国人在巴黎》的一个赞助者。

“This is the first season that Chinese companies are investing on Broadway,” said Simone Genatt, chairman of Broadway Asia, a New York-based production and licensing entertainment company primarily focused on Asia. “They’ve been doing Broadway musicals in mainland China for the last decade, but this is the first time China is here in New York.”

位于纽约,主要关注亚洲的百老汇亚洲国际有限责任公司的董事长西蒙娜·盖纳特说:“这是中国企业投资百老汇的第一季。他们在过去十年里一直在中国运作百老汇音乐剧,但这是第一次中国来到纽约这样做。”

The New York investments are part of a broader push to expand musical theater inside China. Big Broadway shows such as “Cats” and “The Sound of Music” have been touring China for years. In a next step,“Cats” and “Mamma Mia” have been translated into Chinese. Over the past several years, the government has built over 25 new theaters for live musical productions, each with 1,200 to 1,800-seat capacities throughout the country.

在纽约的投资是更广泛的举措的一部分,目的是在中国发展音乐剧。据称,类似《猫》以及《音乐之声》之类的演出数年来一直在中国巡演。《猫》和《妈妈咪呀》已经被翻译成中文。在过去数年来,政府已经为现场音乐剧在全国建造超过25家新的剧院,每家剧院都能容纳1200至1800个座位。

Chinese companies say they’re hoping to leverage their stakes in Broadway shows to gain expertise in U.S. productions, bring shows to China and eventually develop more original Chinese-produced musicals.

中国企业称,他们希望得到美国音乐剧的专业经验,将演出带到中国,并最终形成更多原创的中国制作的音乐剧。

Shanghai-based CMC last year invested in Kevin McCollum’s Broadway Global Ventures, which produced “Hand to God” and “Something Rotten!” Mr. McCollum, a veteran producer whose credits include “Avenue Q” and “Rent,” declined to reveal the size of the investment but said CMC can help his company expand its productions to China, which he said is ripe for consuming and creating theater.

位于上海的华人文化产业投资基金去年投资凯文·麦科勒姆的百老汇环球公司。该公司制作了《对天发誓》和《腐朽之物!》。麦科勒姆先生拒绝透露投资的规模,但称华人文化产业投资基金能够帮助将他的公司的音乐剧发展至中国。

Eventually, Mr. McCollum says he hopes to create original musical theater using artists and writers from the U.S. and China.

最后,麦科勒姆先生称,他希望创作原创的音乐剧,使用来自美国和中国的艺术家和作者。

“Kevin is very good at making original shows, an ability that we deem as vital,” said Clark Xu, managing director of CMC. “Because at the end of the day, we want to make our own original shows.”

华人文化产业投资基金的总经理徐志豪说:“凯文非常善于制作原创音乐剧,我们认为这种能力是至关重要的。因为最后,我们希望制作自己的原创演出。”

CMC’s investment is designed to benefit its portfolio companies, including Seven Ages Production, a musical-production company based in Beijing that adapted Mr. McCollum’s “Avenue Q” into a Chinese version that began touring nationwide in 2014.

华人文化产业投资基金的投资旨在惠及其投资组合企业,包括北京的七幕人生文化产业投资有限公司。七幕人生文化产业投资有限公司曾将麦科勒姆先生的《Q大道》改编为中国版本,并在2014年在全国巡演。

CMC is also an investor in Shanghai’s new Dream Center, a large entertainment complex with five theaters, including one dedicated to musicals, that is slated to open as early as 2017. The theater will be able to draw on both Mr. McCollum’s productions as well as its own original productions in the future, Mr. Xu said. CMC is also learning ticketing and theater management from Mr. McCollum’s team, and making sure it is able to hold world-class musicals in the future.

华人文化产业投资基金还是上海梦中心的投资商。徐志豪说,这个剧院能够在未来上演麦科勒姆先生以及自己原创的音乐剧。华人文化产业投资基金正在从麦科勒姆先生的团队那里学习票务和剧院管理的经验,并确保能够在未来上演世界级的音乐剧。

Until now, Chinese investors have preferred classic musicals with wholesome stories. “Something Rotten!”—a somewhat ribald love letter to musical theater and Shakespeare—and the provocative “Hand to God” are more audacious offerings, but have drawn no objections from CMC. “The shows were born from the western soil and the content caters to the local audiences,” said Mr. Xu. “We don’t interfere with the show’s creation and we respect the decisions by the creation team.”

直到目前,中国的投资者青睐内容健康的古典音乐剧。《腐朽之物!》和《对天发誓》比较大胆,但这并未遭到华人文化产业投资基金的反对。徐志豪说,这些演出诞生于西方的土壤,其内容面向当地观众。徐志豪表示并不会干涉演出的创作并尊重创作团队的决定。

Mr. McCullom says the edgy “Avenue Q” wasn’t changed for China, but in general, tweaking a show to make it work in a new venue is common. “You have to have partners in the local market to have success in that market,” he said.

麦科勒姆先生称,《Q大道》并没有为了中国做出改变,但通常来讲,为了适应一个新的场馆对演出进行调整是常见的。他说:“你必须在当地市场拥有伙伴,以便在那个市场获得成功。”

“An American in Paris” is the first investment by China Broadway Entertainment, a Beijing-based live-entertainment production company. The company, created last year, was founded by Broadway Asia and two Chinese producers: Ivy Zhong and Sean Hsu. CBE invested “several hundred thousand dollars” in the musical.

《一个美国人在巴黎》是位于北京的中国百老汇娱乐公司的首个投资。这家公司是由百老汇亚洲国际有限责任公司和钟丽芳以及许东升在去年创立的。中国百老汇娱乐公司在音乐剧方面投资了“数十万美元”。

“An American in Paris” is expected to go to China as early as 2018, first as a tour throughout Asia, then as a local-language version, Ms. Genatt said. CBE is also planning an immersive production of “Peter Pan” to tour some cities in China.

盖纳特女士说,《一个美国人在巴黎》预计将最早在2018年来到中国,首先是作为在亚洲的巡演,然后是当地语言的版本。中国百老汇娱乐公司还计划在中国的一些城市巡演身临其境式的《彼得·潘》剧目。

Don Frantz says he started getting calls from Chinese investors as soon as the Tony nominations were announced in April this year. Mr. Frantz is actively involved with local producers in theatrical production in China, including a Mandarin-production of “Into the Woods.”

唐·弗朗茨称,今年4月托尼奖提名宣布后,中国投资者马上和他进行接触。弗朗茨先生积极与当地制作者参与制作音乐剧,包括普通话音乐剧《魔法黑森林》。

“Chinese investors are passionate about the Broadway world,” Mr. Frantz said.

弗朗茨先生说:“中国投资者对百老汇的世界充满热情。”

2016-06-24

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