There’s a mountain floating somewhere on the high seas, heading for Guangzhou, China. Along with the mountain is a veritable zoo: an array of four and two legged critters from throughout the world; all of whom speak fluent Chinese.
The mountain, with its trees, cave and rocky ledges is made of Fiberglas, and the animals have bones of steel, bodies of formed plastic and beautiful fake fur and feathers, all created by Sally artisans.
At the beginning of April, a team of mechanical, electronics and scenic specialists will make the 30+ hour trip from Jacksonville to Guangzhou to install the mountain, its animal inhabitants, lighting, sound and control equipment in the magnificent Chimelong Hotel, known worldwide as the home of a large number of magnificent (real) white tigers.
Set in the hotel’s iconic White Tiger Restaurant, the White Tiger Mountain show will entertain guests, primarily children, during the breakfast, lunch and evening dinner periods with songs, jokes, hi-jinks, and stories, told by Papa Tiger, the show’s handsome central character, and even occasional words of wisdom from the ancient YeYe (Grandfather Tree).
The hi-jinks are provided by Rocky–the irrepressible tiger cub who appears and disappears unexpectedly via a stage lift hidden inside the cave–who is aided and abetted by his monkey friend, Ricky, who pops in and out from among Grandfather Tree’s branches. Mrs. Bear, a large, gentle brown bear, tries to keep the “boys” in hand, while Anna Koala and her baby, Lok Lok, look on from their perch in a tree above the cave. Of course, Lok Lok wants to go adventuring, too, but he’s a little too young.
Gigi, the high-spirited and glamorous flamingo, and Tommy, the handsome toucan who has flown all the way from South America, add a colorful element to the mix, while Nutsy, the squirrel, with his flicking tail is endlessly cute.
There are five shows: two eight-minute shows and three four-minute. In addition, children can interact with Grandfather Tree in-between shows by pushing a built-in handprint that activates him. He talks directly to the youngsters for between thirty and forty-five seconds each time.
Scripting and music track production were done in Jacksonville, with Sally’s creative director, Jan Sherman, traveling to Guangzhou to direct the Chinese actors at a recording studio there. Post-production was done back here, and the programming took place in the Sally shop.
The White Tiger Mountain show will be up and running at Chimelong Hotel by the beginning of May; so if you’re planning a trip to China, be sure to put Guangzhou on your itinerary: In addition to the show, Chimelong Hotel has live tigers in one glass-walled atrium, flamingos and scarlet ibis in a second, a circus close by, an amusement park, a water park, and the not-to-be-missed Chimelong Safari Park, where the real-life Anna Koala and Papa Tiger’s real-life family live.