Video: People's Daily
“Please know that our hearts are with you, our thoughts are with you. In The Prince of Egypt we sing a song called When You Believe, it is about faith, about hope, and about knowing that if you cling to one another, to your family, to those who you love, you will persevere. Be strong, China.”
Chris Herzberger, senior vice president of Universal Theatrical Group at Universal Pictures, gave these words to encourage Chinese friends when he opened the new musical The Prince of Egypt in London on Monday.
DreamWorks’ musical animation The Prince of Egypt was praised when it was released in 1998. Combining the Old Testament stories of Moses, Ramses, and the liberation of the Israelites with magnificent artwork, an Oscar-winning song and a star cast, the film produced box-office gold.
The musical is produced by DreamWorks Theatricals. It has been in the making for years, with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, who has written 10 new songs that sit alongside his five original numbers, and an impossibly lavish set.
The Prince of Egypt is at its strongest as a dance production with beautiful visual formations through bodywork. Chariots, wells or rolling desert sands are created by groups of dancers. It is in Sean Cheesman’s astonishing choreography that this musical feels at its most alive.
Schwartz has teased that fans can expect "some story surprises" and doesn't hold back when talking about how it's been "very imaginatively done", adding: "I feel that I can safely say that you've really never seen anything like this on stage."
He concluded: "We have heard – I should hasten to say – from fans of the movie that they're not disappointed. They don't seem to feel like we've destroyed their experience of the animation." "But it is a different experience, and I think people will be surprised by it."