xi's moments
Home | Newsmakers

Building a cultural 'railroad' between East and West

By Oasis Hu | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-07-10 14:41

Chinese Canadian Zhang Kemin produced the staged reading of the musical Railroad!, with the Li Delun Music Foundation providing funding. CHINA DAILY

Musical highlights contribution of Chinese people to development of US, encourages understanding, Oasis Hu reports from Hong Kong.

Bringing a Chinese story to the stage of the United States' mainstream theater is no easy task, but the team behind the musical Railroad! has done just that, after persevering for nine years.

Railroad!, which presented at an off-off-Broadway studio in New York City on June 9, is set in the mid-19th century and focuses on the forgotten narrative of how Chinese immigrants contributed to the construction of railways in the United States.

A cast of 16, including six Asian actors, drew applause from an audience of more than 40 industry insiders that included Broadway composers, musicians, and journalists.

Some gave the performers a standing ovation.

"The story of Railroad! is a long-overdue tribute to the Chinese workers who had played an integral role in building the United States," says Adam Wiggins, music director of the play that revolves around Li Shao, a Chinese immigrant who arrives in the US during the gold rush. Despite being discriminated against by their white counterparts, Li leads a group of Chinese laborers in overcoming numerous challenges as they collaborate with a group of Irish workers to complete the building of the transcontinental railroad linking the United States from the east to west.

"It's a story that needs to be told," says Tony Stimac, who directed the musical. The renowned director, who has produced more than 60 original musicals in a career spanning five decades, had spent more than 10 years in China.

Embarking on his first tour of the Chinese mainland in 2007, Stimac was immediately struck by the country's beauty. Beijing, in particular, impressed him, with its sophisticated cityscape and vibrant energy.

"The people I met there were the most hospitable in the world," he recalls.

Recognizing that China's musical-theater industry was still in its infancy, Stimac worked with his then-collaborator, veteran Broadway composer Louis St Louis, to help the country develop some of its pioneering original musicals and pave the way for their growth.

1 2 3 4 Next   >>|
Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349