Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
Fans of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will hopefully not be disappointed in the latest news. The Weinstein Company, whose partners Bob and Harvey Weinstein were formerly with Miramax, have purchased the rights to the whole Crane – Iron Pentalogy series.
Crouching Tiger is actually the fourth installment in the five novel series that chronicle three different generations during the Qing Dynasty. This story revived Martial Arts onto the Silver Screen and introduced a whole new generation to the classic Chinese Martial Arts sagas.
According to Variety.com, the Weinstein Co. has started development of a Broadway adaptation of Crouching Tiger. Their objective is to bring a "Cirque du Soleil"-like spectacle to the stage.
Making Martial Arts center of stage is not such an odd concept. In fact, at this time, another Broadway musical is being developed centering around Bruce Lee's life. Martial Arts actually finds a home on the stage if you trace its history back. Much of Martial Arts competitions today is about the showmanship on the "stage" or mat. In Chinese history, when Martial Arts was persecuted, one of the "safe havens" it disappeared into was the Chinese Opera. Even today, some of the greats like Jackie Chan can owe their lineage to Chinese Opera. Exhibitions of Martial Arts can be found in most forms, even dating back to even Pankration.
But can a story heavily based in romance and Martial Arts, be made into a musical? How will the Chinese idea of romance translate over to such a platform? Will we see it as successful as some of its predecessor like "Les Miserable"? Or willi t just turn into a big flop that will never see the lights of Broadway? Hopefully we'll find out some time in 2008.
Meanwhile, the Weinstein Co. will also look to bring the prequels and sequels to this story into other venues, such as books and film.