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Broadway tests ‘Hello Kitty Must Die’ musical on Edinburgh crowd

hello kitty colorful figure color

A New York-based producer of Broadway musicals that have toured the world is trying out its latest show at the Edinburgh Fringe, which it says is the ideal place to test audience reaction to a darkly comic manifesto of Asian feminism set to music.

Alchemation, known for the international hit “SIX,” is among an increasingly established presence of musical theatre at the Fringe, which takes over the Scottish capital for the month of August.

“It felt like the perfect place to start,” Lucas McMahon, vice president at Alchemation, told Reuters.

The company’s “Hello Kitty Must Die,” based on the novel by Hong Kong-born, U.S.-based writer Kate Kamen (formerly Angela S. Choi) is playing at Edinburgh’s Pleasance until Aug. 27.

Anthony Alderson, director of the Pleasance Theatre Trust, says the momentum around Edinburgh musicals has stemmed from the success of “SIX,” the story of the wives of Henry VIII, which began as a Cambridge student production at the Fringe.

It transferred to London’s West End, where it was spotted by Alchemation, which took it to Broadway and beyond.

Compared to New York or London, the Fringe as a testing ground has the advantage of providing weeks of feedback from festival audiences renowned for being adventurous and international.

“It’s the world’s biggest market place for theatre,” Alderson said.

Another established name testing the mood is British-Jamaican reggae musician and entrepreneur Levi Roots.

His musical “Sound Clash: Death in the Arena” is co-directed by Ray Shell, who told Reuters the Edinburgh stint would deliver audience reaction to “let you know if you’re on the right track or not”.

In this case, the producers can afford a financial risk.

The Pleasance and other venues, meanwhile, have responded to criticism from performers who say that, while big names are arriving, the city’s high accommodation costs exclude cutting edge theatre that historically used it as a launchpad.

To address that, the venue has shared 50,000 pounds ($64,250) between six shows, including “Public – The Musical,” which tells the story of four strangers who find themselves trapped in a gender-neutral public toilet.

It is the first time one of its diversity grants has supported a musical as the genre cements its presence. The Pleasance alone has 16 musicals this year, its most yet, it said, out of roughly 140 across the Fringe as a whole.

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