Later this month, hit musical Mamma Mia! will open in Shanghai. Featuring the songs of ABBA, Mamma Mia! is the first western musical that has been translated into Mandarin for Chinese audiences.
Mamma Mia! was chosen because it has the ability to appeal to a younger audience. The head of China Entertainment group, the government company behind the show, said "We chose it, to be frank, because of its success." Mamma Mia opened on the West End twelve years ago and has been translated into 14 languages to date. It was also made into a movie starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper and Pierce Brosnan.
Surprisingly, very little content has been edited. There have been additions of slang and cultural references particular to Chinese culture but director Paul Garrington said "I was quite surprised, because there are quite a few moments of physical intimacy, which made some of the actors blush."
So far, the Chinese press has reacted well to the musical, and people have also been turning up in '70s costumes. Mamma Mia! will have 32 shows in Shanghai and Guangzhou and 80 shows in Beijing.