Monday, January 05, 2009

The Afternoon Report, January 5, 2009

This information, called The Afternoon Report, is provided by a daily email blast from the publicity firm of Boneau Bryan-Brown, which maintains this blog. This feature doesn't run daily but whenever The Afternoon Report seems to point out articles of interest.

Beijing to Get A Broadway of Its Own
“The distance between a Broadway show and an authentic Chinese meal is about to get a lot shorter, at least for theatergoers in the Eastern hemisphere. A $686 million construction project will bring a 32-theater complex to Beijing, where imports of Western musicals and other shows will play year-round, Variety reported. The entertainment complex is being built by Beijing Shibo Real Estate in the city’s Haidian district, and is expected to run more than 100 shows a year. Its biggest theater will seat 2,000 people, while others will accommodate 300 to 500 audience members.”
This is actually thrilling and scary at the same time. Thrilling because it will require some intelligent urban planning, which is not something the Chinese have especially excelled at beyond willy-nilly damming projects and reckless relocating of its citizens and ceaseless demolitions. It's also scary because it is yet one more co-opting of that which is uniquely treasured as American. Will they call it Broadway? Will Cats run now and forever? What is the theatregoing tradition in China? How will this development affect it or create it or modify it? We don't live in a society that values the arts anyway -- what does this say about us as much as them? Discuss.

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