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Martin Koch to make Ip Man musical organic

Updated: 2013-04-28 14:20
By Zhang Kun in Shanghai ( China Daily)

Martin Koch to make Ip Man musical organic

Martin Koch aims to take musical Ip Man into the international market. Photos provided to China Daily

A good story is the critical ingredient for a successful musical, but music plus story alone can't complete the recipe, Tony-award winning music supervisor, composer and conductor Martin Koch believes.

Related: Ip Man leaps from screen to musical stage

The 55-year-old artist from Britain has worked in the music industry in the West End and Broadway for more than half of his life.

Koch made his first visit to China in March, immersing himself in the culture, to prepare for his work as a composer and orchestrator for the Chinese musical production Ip Man.

Koch worked as the music supervisor for the staging of Chicago at the Cambridge Theater when he was 21. Since then, his many credits have included Cats and several international tours of Les Miserables. He was co-winner of the 2009 Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for Billy Elliot the musical.

New to Chinese culture, Koch wants to bring his expertise and experience to Ip Man, a new production from China, and take it to the international market.

Miss Saigon and a few other plays are about Asia in general, he says, but nothing specifically Chinese has crossed the international footlights. A Chinese musical, with a Chinese story, using West-End style and format, integrating Chinese instruments, made for a universal audience, has great potential in the global musical scene, he believes.

He watched a Chinese musical about the creation of China's national anthem during his visit to Shanghai. Like several other original musicals in China, the play "needs a little organic work," Koch says. The songs are fine, he says, but more filling-in needs to be done.

You have to engage the audience, not just for a five-minute song, but on a two-hour journey, he adds. Despite the golden hits by ABBA, the play within Mamma Mia has to work, for example.

As music supervisor for Ip Man, he will train the cast, interpret the music and make it a natural and organic emotional thread.

Martin Koch to make Ip Man musical organic

Martin Koch to make Ip Man musical organic

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