George Chiang was born in Ottawa, Ontario to Taiwanese immigrants. His father Cheng San was an engineer whose career culminated in a long run as a Canadian diplomat at the IAEA in Vienna, Austria. His mother Ching Mei did administrative work at Eaton's in Toronto for many years.
George grew up in Toronto and received his theatre training at the University of Guelph. During his summers he would hit the comedy clubs in Toronto to perform his stand-up comedy routine. He began his acting career with steady theatre work in Toronto and then went on to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada where he appeared in Othello and Twelfth Night. His notable film and TV movie appearances are in McKenna Shoots for the Stars, Eloise at the Plaza, Plague City: SARS in Toronto, Hawk's Vengeance, and The Stupids.
George wrote and composed the musical, Golden Lotus, which won the Hong Kong English Drama Award for "Best Original Work" at the Hecklers Awards. A feature length film of the Hong Kong production has won numerous awards at film festivals around the world including Best Musical Film (MegaFlix Film Awards), Best Music Score (Virgin Cinefest), Best Original Score (International Smyrna Movie Festival) among numerous others.
George also wrote the children's book, The Railroad Adventures of Chen Sing, which has won numerous awards including the Reviewers Choice Award, the Pacific Book Award, the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and two Global EBook Awards.
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Written, composed and produced by acclaimed writer, filmmaker and lyricist George Chiang, Golden Lotus is a musical based on the classic Chinese novel Jin Ping Mei (The Golden Lotus). The musical finds the protagonist, the beautiful Golden Lotus, stuck in a triangle of romance, violence and deceit with the tiger slayer Wu Sung, the powerful Xi Men and the humble peddler Wu Da.
The writer, composer and producer of the musical, George Chiang, has done a fabulous job of transforming the Chinese novel Jin Ping Mei for the theatrical medium. Chiang ensures that both overt and covert themes of the story are manifested visually and the components of palace intrigue, romance and conflict are given their due thematic resonance in this wonderfully timeless story. Part political satire, part doomed romance wrapped in a tale of redemption, George Chiang has created an unforgettable experience that needs to be seen to be believed.
The cast is fantastic and Harriet Chung as the titular protagonist does a wonderful job. The costumes are top tier and so is the set design. Another thing that works really well is the lighting. Alternating between blue and pink hues, this gives an added layer of surreal fantasy to the action unfolding on stage. As great the visuals are, the sound is in a league of its own. The musical’s score is a mishmash of pop rock and traditional Chinese music and it works really well to set the tone for the epic. The beating heart of any musical is the music itself and it is in this aspect that Golden Lotus bursts out of its shell and soars. The actors sing splendidly and the music elevates their performances in a way that is a sight to behold. You can really feel the emotion behind each lyric and the intense physical performance that goes with this really drives home that particular aspect of the story.
Equally impressive is the choreography that is composed of complex dance and action sequences. The conflict and melee sequences are a perfect combo of drama and authenticity whilst the arguments are both physical and blaring. However, it is the dance numbers that are most impressive. Sometimes composed of dozens of individuals, both main characters and extras, these elaborate numbers showcase the absolute dedication incurred to bring the story to life. It is extremely difficult to get the choreography right every single time and one cannot help but marvel at the dedication to craft of the performers who stick the landing every time. A kaleidoscope of colour, music and rich drama, Golden Lotus is a glorious ode to a centuries old Chinese literary work.
Vibrant, energetic and powerful, Golden Lotus is a tour de force of great performances and stunning choreography. George Chiang has created a masterpiece that will both entertain and enthral as he takes the audience on an unforgettable journey across the Song Dynasty. The musical has already won dozens of prestigious awards across the globe and we cannot recommend it enough.