The terra cotta warrior pit at the tomb of Qin Shi Huang in Xi’an is already one of the world’s most awe-inspiring historical sites, but in case that’s not already enough, it’s about to get much more spectacular.
That’s because a Broadway production company and Chinese theater company have teamed up to build a new 2,000-person theater adjacent to the 2,000-year old warriors. The location will house a daily show entitled The Legend of Emperor Qin, which will play year-round and feature song and dance numbers depicting the history of the Qin dynasty onstage in this style for the first time.
On August 28, representatives from Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment (NWE) and Shaanxi Qinhuang Grand Theatre Performing Arts Co., Ltd, convened in New York City’s Minskoff Theatre on Broadway to sign a co-production agreement for the construction of the $65,000,000 theater. At 236,000 square feet, the theater will also hold one of the biggest stage LED screens in China. The show will be produced by the creative team behind the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with Hollywood composer Klaus Badelt, writer Sun Haohui, and director Zhao Ming.
“The Nederlander family is fully committed to the emerging Chinese cultural industry,” said Robert Nederlander, Jr., president and CEO of Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment at the press conference. NWE has been a part of the China entertainment industry for years, having been the first company to take part in a live entertainment joint venture there in 2005.
Nederlander, Jr., he has witnessed the rapid climb in demand for entertainment among China’s growing base of middle-class consumers since he began working in China. “Chinese audiences have disposable income,” and they’re going to be spending it on leisure, he said. Live entertainment “is going to be an important part” of China’s leisure and entertainment sector, and according to him, “It’s just going to continue to grow.”
Wang Yong, the president of Shaanxi Jiuzhouyinghong Enterprise Development Co. Ltd, said the show will be intended for both foreign and Chinese spectators, but he predicts that it will be made up primarily of Chinese attendees, who are likely to comprise up to 70 percent of all visitors.
Nederlander, Jr. said that the promise of China’s demand for live entertainment has become more apparent to others in the industry over time. “The first five or six years of my travel, I was asked, ‘Why are you going to China?’ and I’m not asked that anymore, “ he said. “I haven’t been asked that for awhile.”