Sean Choi comes from South Korea and now lives in Guangdong. He produced the Nanta show in October, 1997.
The show uses food, kitchenware as musical instruments to comedic effect. From the very beginning, Choi targeted a global audience. In thinking how he could relate with people from all corners of the globe, the idea “communicate with food” came to him.
Sean Choi (L) [Photo: Steven Yuen]
In 2004, at a time when most Broadway shows were entirely Western productions, Nanta debuted in New York. The Asian elements in the chopping and drumming performances have proved attractive to audiences from around the world.
After the show, many attendees would then go on to Chinese and Korean restaurants to eat. As the first performance coming out of Asia that can run long-term on Broadway, this now world famous nonverbal show has drawn the largest crowds in Korean history.
In December 2015, the Nanta theater opened in Guangzhou, the capital of food. “Guangdong cuisine is famous all over the world. The food is much more delicious than I thought. I think it has been good to introduce the Nanta show to this region”, Choi said.
Sean Choi (L2) [Photo: Steven Yuen]
The city has inspired him, and so Choi and his team have added new elements to the show. In terms of local cuisine his personal favourite is Chang Fen.
Choi hopes Nanta will be popular across the Greater Bay Area. In 2003, the tour came to Hong Kong. In 2015, his team had a three-month tour in Macao. “This area and South Korea share a similar food culture. Not only local people, but also tourists from other countries can get to know what the cooking show is about,” he said. In the future, he plans to develop the best show and spread it all over in China.
Choi had travelled to Guangzhou before and now has lived here for more than two years. Before he arrived, Guangzhou was simply a food-centric city in his eyes.
Sean Choi watch the rehearsal of the Nanta show. [Photo: Steven Yuen]
Since then he has become far more acquainted with the city on a more personal level. Choi thinks that locals here “are very relaxed and kind.” He enjoys walking and taking a bike around the city. This has let him discover better how local people live and the city itself.
He now feels like that he wants to integrate himself even better, learning more of the Chinese language and culture, and getting to know more Chinese people in the process, as well.
Author: Hannah Zhou
Editors: Simon Haywood, Keane Wong