Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett & Chen Shi-Zheng are bringing their adaptation of Monkey: Journey To The West to the US beginning later this month. We've been drooling over this unbelievable project created by the Gorillaz crew ever since we caught an early look nearly one year ago. The opera is based on an ancient Chinese legend, which has been reworked for the 21st century, complete with nearly 40 Chinese circus acrobats, martial artists and singers from China, backed by instrumentation from both the west and China. The show has had sell-out runs in both Manchester and Paris, and is now going to open for a run here in the US.
According the a press release, the storyline is as follows: "MONKEY: JOURNEY TO THE WEST is performed in Mandarin with subtitles, its storyline chronicling the Monkey King's journey to enlightenment as it takes him undersea, to decadent banquets in heaven, through encounters with Spider Maidens and Skeleton Demons, and eventually to paradise. Hewlett's renditions of MONKEY's cacophony of characters combine with Albarn's debut opera score's deft integration of western and traditional Chinese instrumentation to create a wholly engrossing new universe that reinvents a legend with a thrilling combination of music and action."
Yeah, that definitely sounds pretty amazing. Monkey will make its stateside debut with a May 22 preview performance, which will then be followed by 17 shows from May 23 to June 8 as part of the 2008 Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina. It will then premier in London at The Royal Opera House from July 23 to 26.