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Chinatown Opera Theater in North America$
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Nancy Yunhwa Rao

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040566

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040566.001.0001

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The Affluent Years

The Affluent Years

The Great China Theater, 1926–1928

(p.185) Chapter 8 The Affluent Years
Chinatown Opera Theater in North America

Nancy Yunhwa Rao

University of Illinois Press

By 1926, the Great China Theater in Seattle boasted a cast of performers from the top tier of the Cantonese opera profession, and performed different operas daily all year long without breaks. A roster of key professionals, such as playwrights, musicians, and scene painters, took up residence at the theater. The stage designs and theatrical spectacle grew bolder and grander, showing influences from other entertainment; a record label of Cantonese opera was started. The opera culture also bore fruit in the younger generation, as seen in the increased participation of native-born Chinese Americans. This chapter describes the ways in which the Great China Theater played an important role in that community until the end of the decade, when motion pictures and other forms of entertainment eroded opera’s popular appeal.

Keywords:   Great China Theater, playwright, Phonograph Record, Chinese American youth, stage design, stage prop, opera film, Chinese New Year

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