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January 10, 2019

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‘Gone with the Wind’ brings alive war-time romance

“TOMORROW is another day,” this famous line from Margaret Mitchell’s book “Gone with the Wind” is probably familiar to literary and cinema fans.

It will resonate aganin and over at the SAIC Shanghai Culture Square when the English-version musical “Gone with the Wind” is staged until January 13.

The musical is the latest production of Joyway Holding Company in China, and is based on the French musical “Gone with the Wind” with music and lyrics by Gérard Presgurvic.

First premiered in 2003, the musical was a gift Presgurvic created for his daughter Laura Presgurvic who is a fan of the novel, and played Scarlett O’Hara in the French version.

“I am as classical as possible in the melody and as modern as possible in the rhythm,” said Gérard Presgurvic. “This time, I also wrote a new song for the English version. The other melody made a new adjustment on the orchestration, making the music more catching.”

Director Frantz Morel A L’Huissier sees the novel as a story about love and women’s growth.

In 1865, women’s independence was still in its infancy. For women around the world, Scarlett gave them an education about love and independence.

“We hope to restore the spiritual core of this story as much as possible: a woman can lose everything but not lose herself; a woman can have nothing but always have tomorrow,” said L’Huissier.

The creative team also strives to add a more diverse perspective beyond the emotional entanglements of the four protagonists.

“This story is not just about the wars of the two camps, the love of four people, or the freedom and equality of some people. It is more about the fate of all people: how we make mistakes, how fate is deaf to our experience, and how we could hit back,” said L’Huissier.

Much adaptation was made to the scenes and plots of the French version, trying to make it as smooth as a movie, making the story fuller, more dramatic, and more emotional.

With designs by Chinese artist Feng Lei, the stage-setting for the new version of “Gone with the Wind” features a fusion of eastern freehand aesthetics and western oil-painting presentation. More than 500 costumes ranging from luxurious gowns to miserable rags will help display the turbulent times.

Scarlet will put on nine different dresses which highlights her changes, including colorful gowns, black mourning apparels and old worn dresses when she worked in the farm on her own.

US singer Rachel Gold, who had played Christain Daae in a Broadway version “The Phantom of Opera,” was selected for the role Scarlet from more than 20,000 resumes and audition videos sent from Broadway, West End and musical agencies in Paris. The other casts include Eric Briarley for Rhett Butler, Cyril Niccolai for Ashley and Amy Vachal for Melanie.

“I believe that the audience will be addicted to their beautiful voice, and they will be dragged back to the turbulent era, revisiting the lingering legends of the years,” said Presgurvic.


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