ENTERTAINMENT

Big-name musicals in for the holiday season

By Korea Herald

‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ ‘Aida’ and ‘Assassins’ in line to amuse local musical fans

  • Published : Dec 10, 2012 - 19:53
  • Updated : Dec 10, 2012 - 21:10
Christmas is just a few weeks away and the local performing arts scene is more exciting than ever.

Just last week, one of the most anticipated musicals of the year, “The Phantom of the Opera,” had its opening show at Blue Square in Seoul.

Elton John and Tim Rice’s hit musical “Aida” also opened earlier this month at Seoul’s D-Cube Art Center, featuring pop singer Sonya and musical actress Cha Ji-yeon in the leading role of the hapless Nubian princess.

Popular film and theater actor Hwang Jeong-min’s stage-directing debut, “Assassins,” is also running at Doosan Art Center in Seoul.

‘The Phantom of the Opera’

Following the huge success of “Wicked” this summer, Korea’s major musical company Seol & Company has brought back the internationally beloved musical to Seoul this month.

Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the musical tells the story of the beautiful soprano Christine and a mysterious, disfigured musical genius who becomes obsessed with her. 
A scene from the “Phantom of the Opera.” (Seol & Company)

Australian actress Claire Lyon is playing Christine, while veteran Broadway actor Brad Little is playing the Phantom. Little has played the role of the Phantom more than 2,000 times, and enjoyed much popularity in Seoul during the show’s 2005 Korean run.

Claire Lyon, on the other hand, has lived a life that’s very much like her character Christine’s, who starts out as a ballet dancer before becoming an opera singer. The 25-year-old took ballet lessons for 15 years, starting at age 3, and later joined Opera Australia to pursue a career in singing.

The show runs until Jan. 31 at Blue Square’s Samsung Electronics Hall in Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 160,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363.

‘Aida’

After two successful runs in 2005 and 2010, Elton John and Tim Rice’s musical “Aida” is back in the country again for its third run.

Based on Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian-language opera of the same title, the show tells the story of Aida, Nubia’s princess who gets taken into slavery in Egypt. She soon attracts attention from Radames, captain of the Egyptian army, who is expected to succeed the country’s throne upon marrying the Pharaoh’s daughter.

Its 2005 run lifted then-pop singer Ok Ju-hyun to stardom in the local musical scene. This year, actress Cha Ji-yeon and pop singer Sonya are sharing the lead role. The show also has a famously touching ending, which delves into the themes of spirituality, history and reincarnation.

“Aida” runs until April 28 of next year at D-Cube Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.

‘Assassins’

Popular film and theater director Hwang Jeong-min (“Happiness,” “Dancing Queen”) is making his stage-directing debut with the Korean adaptation of the famous American musical “Assassins.”

The five-time Tony Award winner features the real-life men and women who attempted to assassinate U.S. presidents. 
A scene from the musical “Assassins.” (Sem Company)

The figures include John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln; Sara Jane Moore, who attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford; Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy; and Samuel Byck, who attempted to assassinate President Richard Nixon.

According to the show’s local production house, Hwang has been working on the piece since the beginning of this year.

“It’s certainly been a challenge,” said Hwang through his PR agency. “The biggest challenge was to digest the music and lyrics created by Stephen Sondheim. I tried my best to deliver the essence of the original show.”

Hwang also stars as Charles Guiteau, President James Garfield’s assassin. “Assassins” runs until Feb. 3 of next year at Doosan Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 80,000 won. For more information, call (02) 744-4033.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)