The Disney musical, "The Lion King", with a few add Chinese characteristics, almost brought the house down during its premiere at the Shanghai Grand Theater on Tuesday.
The characters in the play borrowed tricks used in traditional Chinese shadow plays, and crack jokes and attempted conversations with the audience in Chinese. They adapted one of the musical's tunes to "Laoshu ai dami" or mice love rice, a well-known Chinese pop song.
"It is great to see the characters talking in Chinese," said one woman after the show.
The cast which is made up of actors from 17 countries has been touring with the show for three years. Some Chinese actors have been hired for minor roles
Shanghai is the only Asian city to host the Tony Award-winning production.
The sold-out premiere was attended by an audience of 1,600, including a 13-member delegation led by Robert A. Iger, President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company who flew to Shanghai for the show.
The theater has paid 60 million yuan (7.5 million U.S. dollars) for Broadway hit and will stage at least 100 performances until, according to a spokesman for the theater.
The set was flown to Shanghai aboard three Boeing 747s from Melbourne, Australia. There are 140 members of the stage crew.
Tickets went on sale last February. So far the box office has brought in 20 million yuan. Ticket prices range from 100 yuan for midweek shows up to 2,000 yuan at peak times.