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Shanghai to hit the high notes with this musical

THE next big date on the calendar for young people or families looking for live entertainment will be "High School Musical," the stage version of the entertainment phenomena that has swept the world. Nie Xin goes to school to find some new moves.

With the arrival of summer, one of the hottest things in town for students will be the holidays and even more exciting, the opening of the stage musical "High School Musical."

The stage musical based on the Disney Channel's original movie "High School Musical" will be on stage in Shanghai, the first stop in Asia and the second in a world tour after the show debuted in South Africa in last December, even before London and Broadway. There will be a total of 24 performances at the Shanghai Grand Theater running from June 30 to July 18.

After its release in January, 2006, the Emmy Award-winning American television film became the most successful movie that the Disney Channel ever produced, and was also the Disney Channel's most watched movie that year with 7.7 million viewers in its premiere broadcast in the US.

So far three sequels have been released and a fourth installment, "High School Musical 4," is being written and will be released in the autumn of 2010. The first three DVDs will be officially released in China this month.

The drama, the romance and the talent of these students on their high school campus have won the hearts of audiences over the world. Spin-offs have included music albums, concerts, ice shows and books. The film's soundtrack was also the best-selling album in the United States in 2006. The dance show from "High School Musical" has been one of the most popular performances in Disneylands all over the world.

"Compared with opera, the musical is closer to its audience. I believe it will be popular and welcomed in Shanghai," says Qian Shijin, the artistic director of the Shanghai Grand Theater.

During the two-and-a-half-hour show, all the songs from the original films will be performed. As well two new songs - "Counting on You" and "Cellular Fusion" which will be added to the line-up. The six lead roles will be played by talented 18 and 19-year-olds from South Africa.

"It's an exciting production, and the show involves in all the pop music elements of America," says Paul Warwick Griffin, the director.

Audiences will also enjoy the many styles of dance in the show including salsa, the rumba, street dance, hip-hop, samba, jazz and ballet.

A lookalike quest for Chinese Troys and Gabriellas (the stars) will be a highlight of every performance here in the interval.

So start practicing now if you are a middle school student in Shanghai aged between 15 and 18 years old and if you think you look like one of the two leading players.

The show's dancers will also teach the audience the cheer squad dance to add to the fun.

Date: June 30-July 18

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater, 300 People's Ave

Tickets: 180-680 yuan

Tel: 6372-8702 (Chinese and English services available)


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