Chinese production Panda! opens at Palazzo in Las Vegas

The Chinese-produced stage show Panda!, which tells the story of LongLong (a panda struggling to save his stolen bride from the evil Demon Vulture) through traditional Chinese performance arts, opens tonight at the Palazzo.

Panda! director An Zhao said the show has been under production since 2011, when it was first conceived. With the backing of the Chinese government and investor Hui Wang, in 2013 Zhao opened the show in Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China.

The show features 47 performers, including acrobatic artists from the China National Acrobatic Troupe, Kung Fu masters from the historical Shaolin Temple on Mount Song, dancers who perform in a variety of Chinese styles including Ta Ge, experts in Bian Lian (“face changing”), a performance art that involves the swift changing of a dancer’s masks, panda-costumed acrobats and many more. A seven-year-old boy who has trained for the past three years at the Shaolin Temple is among the cast members.

The team producing Panda! are no lightweights when it comes to putting on shows in China, their resume includes the stunning opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

A series of large-scale LED screens allow the show to transform the stage into multiple locations from a bamboo forest to an underwater world to a cave of demons. Some 500 costumes have been made for the show, with each cast member changing several times throughout the show. Each male cast member — aside from the seven-year-old boy — performs at least once as the panda during the performance and also has his own panda costume.

“We’re very pleased to present an authentically Chinese show to the international audiences Las Vegas is known to attract,” Zhao said in a statement. “We have a wonderful cast of world-class performers whose talent is boundless.”

Panda! performs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday at the Palazzo Theater in the Palazzo. Tickets start at $48.