China's greatest Emperor steals the Wife of his Son.
in his quest to win her back
the Prince has to overcome China’s greatest Villain
Together they create China's greatest Love story and
The story of Yang GuiFei
(one of the 4 official 'beauties' of China) is as well known
throughout China, Korea and Japan as Romeo & Juliet is
known throughout the western world.
To make the Chinese story appealing to western audiences, the
authors have cleverly devised a way to tell the story from the
perspective of the Prince...
Set in Imperial China, Sacrifice follows the
extraordinary true story of an Emperor, his son the
Prince, and the
woman they fight over – a tussle of love that threatens
the very existence of the
The already uneasy relationship between the Emperor Xuanzong
and his son
is further strained when the Emperor confers a
governorship promised to Shou on his brother Prince Heng.
Before long the Emperor and Shou are pitched into a
bitter conflict when the Emperor decides that he must
have Shou’s wife Lady Yang GuiFei
The Emperor invites Shou and Lady Yang to his
pleasure palace at Huaqing. Hoping to seduce Lady Yang
the Emperor sends Shou back to the capital to order the
execution of the barbarian
An Lushan, who has failed
in battle whilst fighting for the Chinese. However, Shou
is outraged when he receives word of his father’s
intentions and spares An Lushan, setting in motion a
chain of catastrophic events that seem certain to
destroy Shou’s hopes of winning back his Lady Yang.
Lady Yang is crowned Empress, but is thereafter torn
between her love for Shou and her duty to the Emperor.
Shou confronts his father, who orders Shou’s capture for
a reward of one million in cash.
to Lady Yang’s influence, her sisters become rich and
her corrupt cousin is made Chief Minister. However, it
is not long before the people are turning against the
Yang’s, blaming Lady Yang in particular for the
country’s decline. Meanwhile the ambitious An Lushan has
distinguished himself in the ranks, become a favourite
of the Emperor, and secured the governorship of three
key northern provinces. With three hundred thousand men
at his disposal, he begins plotting a rebellion to
overthrow the Emperor. Distracted by his infatuation
with Lady Yang, the Emperor is oblivious to the danger.
When Shou asks Heng to help him get Lady Yang out of
the increasingly dangerous palace, Heng refuses, and
they come to blows.
Shou meets secretly with Lady Yang, but she refuses
to abandon the Emperor. When the Emperor learns of the
meeting he orders Heng to bring Shou back to the palace
dead or alive in return for the reward. An Lushan
overhears this, and arrives at Shou’s hiding place
before Heng, planning to kill Shou and claim the reward.
But as he is about to execute Shou, Heng arrives and is
fatally wounded in the struggle with An Lushan. Heng has
wounded An, but he escapes. Shou promises his dying
brother that he will avenge his death.
The rebellion begins, hampering Shou’s attempts to
reach Lady Yang. As An Lushan’s troops brutally crush
any resistance, Shou is unable to rally the demoralised
army. He begins a one -man mission to rescue the Emperor
and Lady Yang. Finally reaching the palace, Lady Yang
tells the Emperor that Shou will take them to safety.
With his Empire in tatters, and fearing that Lady Yang
will return to Shou, the Emperor sets his guards on his
son, and Shou is beaten senseless.
The Imperial Guard escorts the Emperor and the Lady
Yang out of the capital, but Shou learns that the guard
intends to revolt and kill Lady Yang. As Shou races to
catch up with the entourage the guards revolt at Mawei,
slaughter Lady Yang’s sisters and her cousin, and then
demand the head of Lady Yang. The Emperor is powerless
to intervene. As Lady Yang courageously prepares to
commit suicide, Shou tries to fight his way through the
guards, but Lady Yang can see it is pointless. In a
tearful last embrace she tells Shou that he must protect
his father and save China. The distraught Shou vows to
return and punish his father for Lady Yang’s death.
While the Emperor disappears into exile, Shou leads a
rejuvenated Chinese army and puts down the rebellion.
The people hail Shou as the new Emperor. When his frail
father returns to the now deserted Huaqing to mourn Lady
Yang, he is attacked by An Lushan, but Shou had been
tracking An Lushan and kills him with an arrow.
The old Emperor orders Shou to execute him for
failing his country, but Shou shows clemency and father
and son are reconciled in their mutual grief for the
woman they loved.
The treasured and famous Chinese story follows themes
historical fact, but the story has been focused and
shaped to appeal and relate to western audiences. Themes explore love & sacrifice, duty to one’s
country & one’s destiny, greed & betrayal. The musical
articulates the love triangle, juxtaposed with the
treachery and tragedy to create a dynamic new work that
has commercial appeal internationally.
Sacrifice has been developed by a British
authoring team and an
Asian stage director
for western eyes and ears. The music and lyrics
have been crafted to not only move the story along and
character development, but also to give a sense of time
and place, while having contemporary undertones,
somewhat touching on pop. The aim to deliver music that
follows musical theatre conventions, but at the same
time, is fresh, exciting, and can stand alone outside
the theatre for singles and pop charts (with different
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