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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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Two Theaters and a Merger in New York

Two Theaters and a Merger in New York

(p.267) Chapter 11 Two Theaters and a Merger in New York
Chinatown Opera Theater in North America

Nancy Yunhwa Rao

University of Illinois Press

This chapter documents the rise of Cantonese opera theater in New York City from the mid-nineteenth century through the 1920s. By the mid-1920s, the New York theaters became a nodal point of the performing network linking San Francisco, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, sharing many of its talented performers. In New York's Chinatown, opera was an art form that united spectacle, drama, local and visiting talents, regional musical tastes, and musical tradition into a vibrant whole. At the height of its golden age, Chinese theater had taken its place in a city with a long and prestigious tradition in the theatrical and performing arts. Two theaters were established during this period: Jock Ming On and Lok Tin Tsau. The former arrived New York City from Vancouver, while the latter via Toronto and Boston. In 1927, the two merged to form Yong Ni Shang Theater. Many performers discussed in previous chapters reappear in this chapter. In addition, the chapter discusses the relation between Peking opera star, Mei Lanfang’s US tour and Chinatown theaters. Finally, through a close analysis of the phonograph record advertisement, the chapter reflects on the connection of Cantonese opera and the community.

Keywords:   Mandarin Theater, fundraising performance, Li Xuefang, Jock Ming On, Lok Tin Tsau,Tan Lanqing, Mudan Su, Xiao Dingxiang, Chinese New Year, stage design, Vancouver, Toronto, Boston, Mei Lanfang, phonograph record

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