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Golden Lotus (musical)

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Golden Lotus
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MusicGeorge Chiang
LyricsGeorge Chiang
BookGeorge Chiang
BasisJin Ping Mei (The Golden Lotus)
PremiereSeptember 12, 2014: Y-Theatre, Hong Kong
Productions2014 Hong Kong
AwardsHong Kong English Drama Award for Best Original Work[1]


Golden Lotus is a musical written and composed by George Chiang. The musical is based upon the most infamous Chinese novel of all time, Jin Ping Mei (The Golden Lotus).[2] The musical tells the story of the forsaken beauty, Golden Lotus (Pan Jinlian), whose desire for true love leads her into a blood-soaked web of passion, deception and desperation with the valiant tiger slayer Wu Sung, the rich and powerful Xi Men and the humble peddler Wu Da. Set amidst the dying, war-torn years of Song Dynasty China, "Betwixt a cunning story of political satire, a doomed love story, and an epic tale of heroism", Golden Lotus undergoes a spell-binding journey as the world around them burns into ashes.[3] The musical "features a multifarious soundtrack. Composed and arranged by George Chiang and George Gao, the music features a mix of saccharine pop rock songs, mixed with Chinese classical instruments, as well other fusions".[4]

Inception and Development[edit | edit source]

George Chiang began writing the musical in the beginning of March, 2001, in Toronto, Canada, after completing his reading and study of the novel. He completed the first draft of the libretto by September, 2001. During his writing of the libretto he used many melodies of his own to help guide him through the lyric writing. He tested out some of the melodies on close friends and relatives and the positive feedback encouraged him to compose the music as well. In early 2002, he teamed up with George Gao to create a four-song demo CD which included early versions of "Wu Sung Slayed the Tiger", "Captain of the Guard" and "Fresh Buns for Sale". Chiang and Gao wanted to create a fusion of Chiang's contemporary pop melodies with Gao's strong background in classical and Chinese composition.[citation needed] Gao composed the music arrangements and the songs were recorded and mixed in his home recording studio.

The demo CD was submitted and subsequently selected to participate in the prestigious ASCAP Foundation/Disney Theatrical Productions Musical Theatre Workshop in New York City during March and April 2003, artistic directed by Stephen Schwartz.[5] The three-week workshop included two live performances by a cast of sixteen performers which included Harriet Chung as Golden Lotus, Timothy Huang as Wu Sung, Jovanni Sy as Xi Men, Alan Ariano as Wu Da, Telly Leung as the Fruit Peddler and Scott Watanabe (who also served as the music director) as the District Intendant.

Chiang spent the next year doing rewrites and applied for and received a theatre workshop grant from the Ontario Arts Council. The workshop process took place during the winter and spring in 2006. Music arrangements for the were completed by Gao and a recording of the entire musical was completed. The recording was shown to a series of focus groups. Based upon the feedback from each focus group session Chiang would make revisions before presenting to the next focus group. This process took place during a period of six months in the first half of 2006, culminating in a music presentation of the musical at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts, before an invited audience. In the fall of 2008, Chiang entered Golden Lotus into a year-long workshop process with Script Lab's Lehman Engels Musical Theatre Workshop in Toronto directed by Jim Betts. Following this process Chiang worked with Betts to further work on the lyrics and the dramaturgy of the musical.[citation needed]

World Premiere in Hong Kong[edit | edit source]

On September 12, 2014, Golden Lotus opened in Hong Kong with a cast of twenty-six performers at the Y-Theatre. The production starred Harriet Chung who received a Hecklers Award nomination for her portrayal of the title character Golden Lotus.[6][7] The show also featured Boon Ho Sung as Wu Sung, Ronan Pak Kin Yan as Xi Men, and Billy Sy as Wu Da. Other members of the principal cast included Samantha Fa as Madam Wang, Scott Watanabe as the District Intendant, Marc Ngan as the Fruit Peddler and Soraya Chau as Ping. The production was directed by Emily Chan with music arrangements by George Gao, choreography by Ivy Chung and set & costume design by Moe Mo.[8]

Awards and nominations[edit | edit source]

Golden Lotus received the Hong Kong English Drama Award for Best Original Work at the 2015 Hecklers Awards and was also nominated for Best Show and Best Actress (Harriet Chung).[9][10][11][12][13]

Recordings[edit | edit source]

Golden Lotus: Sounds From The Musical was released on May 31, 2015. It is a CD consisting of 15 songs from the musical as they appeared in the Hong Kong world premiere. Recorded in Toronto with Harriet Chung as Golden Lotus, Charles Azulay as Wu Sung, Thom Allison as Xi Men, George Chiang as Wu Da, Stacey-Lea Marhue as Madam Wang, Scott Watanabe as the District Intendant, Pierre Bayuga as the Fruit Peddler and Josette Jorge as Ping. Music directed by Tim Stiff. Music arrangements by George Gao.[14]

Musical Numbers[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "And the Winners are... | HKELD". hkeld.com. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  2. Golden Lotus - The Musical, "Hong Kong's First Musical", MADDBUZZHK, September 11, 2014
  3. Review: "Golden Lotus The Musical", MADDBUZZHK, September 13, 2014
  4. Review: "Golden Lotus The Musical", MADDBUZZHK, September 13, 2014
  5. "Preview-Golden Lotus, the Musical". hkeld.com. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  6. Nominees - Best Actress, HKELD, September 2, 2015
  7. Golden Lotus - The Musical, "Hong Kong's First Musical", MADDBUZZHK, September 11, 2014
  8. Rebirth of an Epic Tale of Passion, The Standard, page 4, September 5, 2014
  9. And the Winners are... HKELD.com, September 8, 2015
  10. And the Nominees are HKELD.com, August 3, 2015
  11. "Nominees- Best Original Material". hkeld.com. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  12. "Nominees- Best Musical". hkeld.com. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  13. "Nominees- Best Actress". hkeld.com. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  14. "Snapd Stouffville Uxbridge "Golden Lotus"". stouffvilleuxbridge.snapd.com. Retrieved 2016-03-08.

External links[edit | edit source]


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