Variety is reporting that famed British producer Cameron Mackintosh is planning to bring stage versions of “Les Miserables,” “Phantom of the Opera” and “My Fair Lady” to China. The West End versions of the musicals will join Broadway hits such as “The Lion King” and “The Sound of Music” in China.

Mackintosh will stage a Chinese version of “Les Miz” at the National Grand Theater near Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in November 2008, according to Variety.

The impresario will also stage local versions of “Phantom,” “Mamma Mia!” “Miss Saigon,” “Mary Poppins,” “Miss Saigon” and “Cats.”

The powerful Ministry of Culture is aboard, and the productions will be undertaken in agreement with state agency the China Arts & Entertainment Group, which is linked to the ministry.

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For the time being, the partnership will involve translating existing shows into Mandarin, but in the longer term, the plan is to train Chinese writers, performers and production crews to create original Chinese musicals.

The partnership will be formally announced today in Beijing. An advance statement was released declaring that auditions for “Les Miz” will be held before the end of this year.

Also today, Mackintosh will also meet students at the prestigious Central Academy of Drama.

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