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'Mamma Mia!' to open on Chinese stage

Amanda Seyfried arrives for the premiere of Mamma Mia, the stage musical version of which will open in China. (UPI Photo/Laura Cavanaugh)
Amanda Seyfried arrives for the premiere of "Mamma Mia"," the stage musical version of which will open in China. (UPI Photo/Laura Cavanaugh) | License Photo

SHANGHAI, July 7 (UPI) -- A Chinese production of the popular stage musical "Mamma Mia!" is to open in Shanghai next week, the show's producers said Thursday.

"After years of planning and negotiating, 'Mamma Mia!' the global smash hit based on the songs of ABBA, will be staged by a Chinese company in a new translation under the direction of the creative team who oversee the musical in London," the musical's representatives said in a news release. "This marks the first time a blockbuster contemporary musical has been presented in Chinese in China."

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The show is being produced by United Asia Live Entertainment Co. for China Arts and Entertainment Group by arrangement with producers Judy Craymer, Richard East and Bjorn Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal.

"The challenges have been immense because what we're doing here is genuinely pioneering," Craymer said in a statement. "There's virtually no infrastructure for commercial musical theater in China, so finding the talent we needed -- actors, technicians, stage crew and musicians -- proved extremely difficult, locating a theater to accommodate us took a long time and even translating the lyrics into a tonal language was a major challenge. But we did it. We're here and it works: the preview audiences are loving it."

"'Mamma Mia!' is a great starting point for China in the business of musicals," added Tian Yuan, president of UALE, the commercial wing of the Ministry of Culture. "Why we chose it, to be frank, is because of its success. It will not only give Chinese audiences an excellent show, but also bring advanced techniques and experience from abroad which will enrich Chinese culture and our ability to create our own, original productions."

"Mamma Mia!" is to open in Shanghai Monday.

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