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Main Street Musicals


MainStreet Evaluations

Paper Crane (041)

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  • 1. TITLE OF WORK: Paper Crane
  • 3. SELECT ONE: Original
  • 5. MUSICAL STYLE: Other
  • 6. NATURE: Drama or Tragedy
  • 8. STRUCTURE: Some spoken dialogue: Mostly sung
  • 9. APPROXIMATE DURATION (Hrs/Min): 1 hour 45 mins
  • 10. DESIRED INSTRUMENTATION: 5 person orchestra
  • 11. BRIEFLY STATE THE THEME or MESSAGE: Paper Crane opens the door to the fascinating world of Chinese opera. Set at the backstage of a Chinese opera house, it is a story of ambition, rivalry, love and betrayal.
  • 12. NUMBER OF SETS: 2

Cast Description

insert text.

An aspiring opera singer. Late 20s; male; Chinese.
A pretty, sweet girl nicknamed ‘Fat Girl’. Early 20s; female; Chinese. Daughter of the
opera troupe manager. Is in love with Ah Kit.
Nicknamed ‘Little Cow’. A stagehand at the opera troupe. Late 20s; male; Chinese.
A renowned Chinese opera superstar. Early 40s; male; Chinese.
Elderly mother of Ah Kit. Late 40’s; female; Chinese.
Owner of the Chinese opera theatre. Late 50s; male; Chinese.
Siu Ngau’s mother. Temple joss-stick seller. 40s to 50s; female; Chinese.


One line summary

Paper Crane chronicles the rise and fall of a famous Chinese opera star, AH KIT.


AH KIT appears as a young man whose dream is to join the opera troupe (The Last Show). Through an unfortunate turn of events, AH KIT manages to draw the wrath of FUI KOH, the superstar incumbent (Someone Like You- Prelude). He is hired as a lowly stagehand instead. He befriends SIU NGAU, another troupe apprentice. As he works his way around the troupe and the rehearsal sessions (When The Curtains Rise), the MANAGER sees that AH KIT has potential. It is revealed that AH KIT’s mother, AH MAH, is the ‘mad woman’ who lives in the streets beside the temple walls and depends on AH KIT for food (Why Do You Still Hate Me?). While the opera troupe is practicing (One Chance), AH KIT begins imitating them and does even better (When I Step On Stage). AH KIT continues to rub FUI KOH the wrong way (Someone Like You) and FUI KOH continues to harass AH KIT. But we see a glimpse of humanity in FUI KOH when he reveals how important this job is to him (Fame Will Bring Me Home).

Gradually AH KIT falls for the MANAGER’s daughter, FEI MUI (How The Heavens Moved). Friction increases between AH KIT and FUI KOH, and all things come to a head at a grand performance (The Last Show- Reprise). FUI KOH is mistakenly given the wrong costume. Outraged and embarrassed, he stomps off the stage. Left with no choice, the MANAGER gets AH KIT to replace FUI KOH. As AH KIT performs brilliantly to a delighted audience, AH MAH passes away backstage (Chinese opera piece).


AH KIT has taken over FUI KOH’s position as the star of the troupe (The Last Show- Reprise). FUI KOH, angry and bitter, leaves the company (Someone Like You- Reprise). AH KIT regrets he had to leave his mother to die in order to chase his dream but argues that she would have wanted him to (I Had No Choice). FEI MUI comforts him and forces him to drink her soup to prepare for the big show (All You Need Is In This Bowl).

MANAGER sells the opera business to AH KIT, but FEI MUI decides to stay on for love. Over time, the business declines (How Things Have Changed). AH KIT is heavily in debt (You Owe Me). In order to keep FEI MUI safe, he breaks her heart and sends her away. SIU NGAU consoles her (Don’t Waste Your Time). FEI MUI decides to leave (Paper Crane) for good.

AH KIT borrows money one last time and vows to produce the greatest show ever (Trust Me One More Time). FUI KOH decides to sabotage the performance, and starts a fire (Fui Koh’s Revenge). SIU NGAU perishes in the fire. In the end, we see an aged AH KIT getting ready for his performance. He still relives his glory days of yesteryears, while it is revealed that it is the Hungry Ghost Festival, and there is no one in the audience (When I Step On Stage- Reprise).


Evaluation Form

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