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“Jordan Cheng and Derek Kwan deliver stunningly sung, highly nuanced performances in this contemporary original musical, the first Chinese language production ever presented at SummerWorks. NNNN” – Debbie Fein-Goldbach NOW Magazine

“…a mesmerising, slow dance with what it means to wish for more than whatever crumbs fate has decided to toss our way.” – John Terauds, Musical Toronto

“…we were blown away by the virtuosity on stage in Mr. Shi And His Lover

“… consistently riveting” – Torontoist

“This startlingly beautiful piece, performed entirely in Mandarin, is a rare opportunity to access a company from Macau in a very ambitious collaboration with Njo Kong Kie.” – Michael Rubenfeld

“Once in a while you get to do a show that changes your life. This is one such show for me. Not only have I spent a lot of time with it, touring it to a number of places, but it is also a show that demands everything of me, that demands that I be better and challenges me to the utmost.” — Derek

Inspired by the real-life story of a Chinese opera performer and his French diplomat lover who believed him to be a woman, this intimate musical theatre performance illuminates their enigmatic affair and the ensuing espionage scandal that rocked the political world. Stylistically varied and emotionally rich, the score takes its inspirations from opera, musicals, and vintage pop from both East and West.

This production is a collaboration between Macao playwright Wong Teng Chi, director Johnny Tam and Toronto composer Njo Kong Kie (Infinity, Volcano/Tarragon; knotty together and La Senorita Mundo, SummerWorks; Picnic in the Cemetery, Edinburgh Fringe). Featuring an international cast and performed entirely in Mandarin with English surtitles, this evocative production will stir your heart with its humanity and deep propensity for understanding. Don’t miss the unique opportunity to catch this contemporary work from Macao, praised by the Taiwanese press as “gentle and elegant, yet possesses a determination on that dares to dream”. Come revel in the beauty, passion and rich storytelling of modern Chinese Theatre.

A Macau Experimental Theatre/Music Picnic/Point View Art Association Production

Mr Shi and His Lover
text by Wong Teng Chi; music by Njo Kong Kie

Summerworks, Toronto
August 2016

Tarragon Theatre, Toronto
November 7- December 17, 2017

Jordan Cheng, Derek Kwan

Director: Johnny Tam
Music Director: Njo Kong Kie
Stage Manager: Luby Lam/Echo Zhou

At SummerWorks 2016, NOW Toronto listed this production among their favourite shows in numerous categories including:

  • Outstanding New Play
  • Outstanding Production
  • Outstanding Direction
  • Outstanding Ensemble

The 2017 production at Tarragon Theatre received the following awards at the Toronto Theatre Critics Awards:

  • Best New Musical of the Year
  • Best Actor in a Musical (Jordan Cheng)
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Musical (Derek Kwan)

It was also nominated for the following awards at the 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Awards:

  • Outstanding Performance- Male Musical Theatre Division (Jordan Cheng)
  • Outstanding Performance- Male Musical Theatre Division (Derek Kwan)
  • Outstanding Production
  • Outstanding New Musical/Opera
  • Outstanding Musical Direction

Derek participated in presentations of this production in:

  • TPAM, Yokohama, Japan (2017)
  • National Arts Centre English Theatre ,Ottawa (Jan 3-13, 2018)
  • Festival Cervantino, Guanajuato, Mexico, (2019)
  • Macao Cultural Centre (2019)
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