Majesty up the street

42nd street poster
42nd street poster

Majestic Theater is one of the old Shanghai survivors. The outside of the building does not look much anymore. The façade has been not been cleaned or repainted for a long time, and various advertising and neon lights have been added to it without any concern to the original design. In contrast, the inside is a great example of Art Deco theatre architecture. The entrance hall is probably in the original state, with high windows and a grand staircase. The inside of the theater with large waves and parallel lines is also an art deco showcase. There is little decoration inside, apart from the architecture and it’s quite refreshing compared to other old buildings in Shanghai. In any case, I hope that nobody will try to “renovate” the interior by adding some mint green, peach yellow or bright blue to it like in other places.

World famous musicals have started to come to Shanghai few years ago. “Phantom of the Opera”, “The Lion King” and this year “Mamma Mia”, all of them stayed in town for one to two months. They all came to Shanghai Grand theater on People Square (in the middle of the horse race track of the old Shanghai), the pearl of the modern Shanghai. 42nd street the musical probably had a lesser budget and a tighter production. Instead of a long stay in Shanghai, they went on a tour to Chinese major cities. Majestic theater was chosen for Shanghai and it was a great choice.

42nd street is the stage adaptation of a famous musical movie from 1933. Although the play itself is from the 80’s, it was modeled after the 30’s and the result is amazing. The dancing, the singing and tap dancing create magic and transport us back to the 1930’s. It is a real Broadway show that is worth every penny of it.The show was great and the art deco location added a lot to the atmosphere. 1930’s décor were art deco styled and they fitted the Majestic theater perfectly. The magic of the show mixed with the magic of the old Shanghai. 42nd street is also a simpler kind of show relying mostly on the dancers and the small orchestra traveling with them as opposed to a massive production. All of it made it a great evening during and after the show. Even after leaving the theater, Bubbling Well road (today Nanjing Xi Lu) had the air of the old Shanghai for a moment, before getting in a taxi a going back to Frenchtown. If the taxi had been a 1930’s car the illusion would have been perfect.

Update 2010

Shanghai Majestic Theater has been renovated for the Shanghai Expo 2010. Nice paint job outside, no more terrible posters covering it… and no ruinovation of the inside. Enjoy this art deco wonder!

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Explore Shanghai in a sidecar: www.shanghaisideways.com

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