Actress and singer Karen Mok hopes to bring Broadway to China

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LONDON (Reuters) – Karen Mok may be currently performing on what she says will be her final concert tour but the Hong Kong-born actress and singer has no plans to retire just yet, setting her sights on bringing Broadway-style musicals to China.

The 49-year-old has released 20 solo albums and starred in more than 40 films during her 25-year career including Keanu Reeves’ “Man of Tai Chi” and Wong Kar Wai’s “Fallen Angels”. She also worked alongside fellow Hong Kong star Jackie Chan in “Around the World in 80 Days”.

“It doesn’t mean that I’m retiring or anything…I could never quit the stage but I just feel that it’s a good time to call it a day where pop concerts are concerned,” Mok told Reuters in London while on a visit to promote her tour.

“Going forward I want to go into doing musicals and musical theater because that’s my one true love in performing.”

Mok, who in 2005 and 2006 starred in the hit Broadway musical “Rent” on its 10th anniversary tour, said she wants China to have its own version of the New York theater district or London’s West End.

“There’s a lot of theater going on in China but like the West End as an industry (it’s) not really there yet but at some point it will happen so I feel that I should contribute toward that,” she said.

“My next big mission in my career is to create, from scratch, a musical for the Chinese audience…I really love musicals because they allow you to simultaneously act, dance, sing and play music and getting to do it live every evening is just amazing…We should have our own original musicals.”

The singer’s “Ultimate Karen Mok Show” kicked off in Shanghai in June 2018 and has included shows in Singapore, Taipei and Beijing.

In Europe, she will play the Folies Bergere in Paris on Sept. 12 and the London Palladium on Sept. 15 – a show Mok, who studied at the University of London, described as “a little bit of a homecoming”.

(Reporting by Hanna Rantala; Editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian)