1. For anyone missing new music from the Gorillaz, the show should be a treat: it’s composed by Damon Albarn, and features animation and design by Jamie Hewlett.
The musical will make its New York debut opening this year’s Lincoln Center Festival, with 27 show dates throughout July.
Directed by opera and film director Chen Shi-Zheng, Monkey: Journey to the West is based on the classic 16th century Chinese folktale, “Journey to the West.” The show first debuted in London at the O2 theater in 2007, and has also been performed in Paris, and in 2008 at the Spoleto Festival USA in South Carolina.
Monkey is the story of a monk named Tripitaka, who travels from China to India in search of sacred Buddhist scriptures. He’s joined by the Monkey King and a band of animal protectors on his journey, through a slew of various adventures and obstacles.
The 100-minute show looks like it’s a visual trip: an opera-scale musical that’s a mix of Cirque du Soleil and Japanese animé. Chinese vocalists, acrobats, circus acts, and dance numbers are set against an elaborate stage design, with cartoon animation from Hewlett.
3. Here’s an exclusive portrait of the Monkey King, which Hewlett designed for the U.S. run of the show.
It’s hard to know when Albarn and Hewlett may work together again, so this could be the last collaboration we see from those two for quite awhile, if ever.
The musical will run from July 6 to 28, and you can get tickets at the Lincoln Center website.