By Kwon Mee-yoo
Musical fans who have yet to see "The Phantom of the Opera," one of the most popular musicals in Korea, will have a chance this winter as the Phantom will return to Seoul in December at Blue Square in Hannam-dong.
In the Korean segment of the tour, Brad Little will play the role of the Phantom, the tragic, disfigured man living under the Opera Populaire.
Little is a veteran Broadway actor who has performed in the Phantom over 2,200 times on Broadway, on a U.S. tour and in Asia. He is also popular in Korea for his previous performance as the Phantom, as well as for playing Jekyll in "Jekyll and Hyde" and Colonel Grayson in the Korean musical, "Tears of Heaven." Little will again portray the brutal yet delicate sentiment of the musical genius.
Claire Lyon from Australia will play Christine, the beautiful and talented soprano who is cherished by the Phantom. Lyon performed the role of Christine in the Australian production of the Phantom sequel "Love Never Dies." She also appeared in various classical operas including "Aida," "La Traviata" and "Madame Butterfly."
Anthony Downing, a heartthrob from South Africa, will play Raoul, the love interest of Christine. His theater credits include "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
"The English-version of 'The Phantom of the Opera' comes to Korea again after seven years and this is a perfect chance to enjoy the theatrical spectacle in its original language, celebrating its 25th anniversary," spokeswoman of Seol & Company, the Korean organizer of this tour, said.
Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the musical is one of the most successful works in history. The show revolves around Christine, a young, aspiring soprano and a disfigured musical genius obsessed with her. The Phantom wants his muse to become the prima donna of the theater and frightens the existing diva Carlotta into not performing. The story takes an unexpected turn when Viscount Raoul de Chagny, Christine's childhood friend returns to win her heart.
The show is an international hit, performed over 65,000 times in 145 cities in 27 countries across the globe after its opening in London's West End in 1986. It also marked a total worldwide box office receipt of over $5.6 billion.
"The Phantom of the Opera" premiered in Korea in December 2001 and drew more than 900,000 fans from both touring and licensed Korean productions. There have been two Korean-language productions in 2001 and 2009, respectively, and a world tour troupe of "The Phantom of the Opera" visited Korea in 2005.
Korean actors who played the Phantom — Yoon Young-suk, Yang Joon-mo and Hong Kwang-ho — rose to stardom, proving their ability by portraying the disfigured yet charismatic musician.
The show celebrated its 25th anniversary last year in the West End and an international tour was organized to commemorate this landmark achievement. The tour began in Cape Town, South Africa, moved to Johannesburg and is currently being performed in Manila, the Philippines.
It also became the longest-running Broadway show in history, according to Guinness World Records, reaching a record of 10,000 performances in February.
The curtain will be raised on the show in Seoul on Dec. 7. Tickets cost from 50,000 to 160,000 won and will be on sale from Wednesday. A 15-percent discount is available for those going to see "The Phantom of the Opera" for a second time in Korea.
For more information, visit www.phantomoftheopera.co.kr or call 1577-3363.