Beijing sets plan for 'Broadway'

State media says main theater will seat 2,000

BEIJING -- Beijing is building a complex of 32 theaters dedicated to putting on musicals, state media said Tuesday, calling it the country's answer to Broadway.

The complex, in Beijing's northwestern suburb of Haidian, will start construction at the end of next year and take five years to complete, the official Beijing Daily said.

The main theater will seat 2,000 people and others will seat between 300 and 500 people, it added.

The complex will become "a Chinese Broadway base for composers, writers, performers and actors in training," Xinhua news agency quoted a spokesman for the developer as saying.

The theaters aim to stage more than 100 musicals, the report said, including "Aida" and "The Lion King," although it did not provide a time frame.

Western-style musicals are increasingly popular in China's big cities, though still attract rather niche audiences.