Check Out This Taylor Swift '1989' Immersive Dance Musical

By Ned Kelly, April 28, 2023

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The Pearl is excited to announce a new and original immersive dance musical experience, The New Romantics, based on Taylor Swift’s hit album 1989.

It is the creative brainchild of Pearl entertainer Trenton, who writes, directs and stars in the nostalgic pop musical – one he has been dreaming of for more years than he cares to admit.

We caught up with the Anchorage, Alaska native to find out more about the T-Swizzle extravaganza – one we're more excited about than we care to admit.


First things first – how did you come to be in Shanghai directing a Taylor Swift show?
I came to Shanghai in 2018 by way of Mongolia (long story). My background is in theater performance – I graduated from the University of Evansville’s prestigious theater department... Google our alumni, lol!

When did you first get into Taylor Swift?
You know, I actually didn’t realize I was a Swiftie until last night!

As most Americans my age, for us, Taylor Swift is probably the singer with the longest career that we grew up with. Love her or hate her, she’s been with us since MySpace and has always been at the center of pop culture. 

I’m one of the many who can say they watched the Kanye moment on live TV with my own eyes.

Image via Flickr

When did you first conceive of The New Romantics show?
It was 2014, I had just graduated college, and Taylor Swift had just bravely made a pop record.

I was interested in challenging theatrical norms of structure and format, and so I wondered: is it possible to write a storyline for a musical using only the music from a single album, with all the songs appearing in album order?

The New Romantics is sort of an experiment to answer this question. 

So what can people expect from the show?
As a brand new show with a brand new format, people should expect to try new things. But don’t be scared! It’s fun and fancy free!

The audience will follow along with the performers to dance along with the choreography in real time. 

Imagine Just Dance or a themed Zumba class, with the added theatricality of characters living a story through the songs. 

How do you encourage people to get up and shake their funky stuff?
So many times I’ve seen a musical where I’ve wanted to stand up and dance along with the performers. Well, now is the perfect chance to do so!

It’s like a dance party inside a musical. The interactive element of our show is dance: the audience literally dances along through the whole show by following the performers.

Or, maybe they make up their own moves instead!

There’s no dance police. Involvement is pretty natural because everyone physically cannot resist shaking their booty to 'Shake It Off.'

But, on an architectural note, the seats are limited, so if you’re already standing you might as well bop along to the beat.

Image via Flickr

You encourage people to dress up for the show – what should they wear?
Since there will be a lot of movement, people should wear comfy shoes!

I repeat: comfy, arch supporting shoes!

Wear high heels at your own risk. But also, we want people to ask themselves: what would I wear to a dance class? Wear that. Whatever that means to you, wear that. 

What’s this about a Polaroid photo booth?
Polaroids are all over Taylor Swift’s 1989 aesthetic. In her lyrics, in her cover art, in the cultural imagining of that time period.

So we thought it was a great tie in for our show as well. We’re hoping to give everyone who comes a small memento of their experience with their very own Polaroid. 

What is your favorite number in the show?
I don’t wanna give too much away, but 'Style' I think has the funnest choreography for the audience. 

'Clean' is my favorite song to sing, and we do some fun theatrical stuff on 'Wildest Dreams' too!

Why did you choose to do the show as a Sunday matinee performance?
There’s a specific kind of person who likes to get up on a Sunday and seize the day! Why not give them a show too?

It’s the perfect pre-game for a boozy brunch, a motivation to sweat out a Saturday night, and for people with families it’s a great time slot as well. 

Oooh that was our final question  so the show is family-friendly?
Yes! I give it a firm PG rating*. 

*Full disclosure: I am not licensed to give out ratings



Scan the QR to get your tickets now:


Sun Apr 30 & May 21, 11am doors, 12-2pm show; RMB200 presale, RMB250 door.

The Pearl, 471 Zhapu Lu, by Wujin Lu. 乍浦路471号,近武进路.

[Cover image via @taylorswift/Instagram]

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