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“I Love Phantom”

Posted March. 15, 2005 22:28,   


It’s 8 p.m. on March 14, and there is no performance on stage. However, the Jayu Theater at the Seoul Arts Center is unusually brightly lighted. Audiences gradually gather at the Jayu Theater, holding red roses adorned with black ribbon, as if the roses were a symbol of a secret society.

200 audiences have completely filled the Jayu Theater to capacity, patiently staring an empty stage adorned with one piano, in order to await the “appearance of the phantom.”

Phantom, it attracted the Korean “holic”-

On March 14, the Jayu Theater held a “special event” only for the audiences of the musical, “The Phantom of the Opera.” This event was a “fan meeting” with the three main actors of “The Phantom of the Opera”, who will perform at the Opera Theater of the Seoul Arts Center over the next three months, starting on June 10.

Audiences who made early bookings to see “The Phantom of the Opera” and members of the Internet community, “Phan-phile”, were invited to the free event by drawing lots for invitations.

At the fan meeting, Brad Little, the “Phantom”, appeared to adoring fans. Little, who used to act on Broadway, is considered a top actor for his acting and singing skills as well as for his looks. When he started singing the “Music of the Night” to a piano accompaniment, the audience eagerly captured the performance on digital cameras and phone cameras.

Although musical fans in Korea are mostly women in their 20s, middle-aged couples joined the meeting on this day.

After Little’s singing, the audience responded with cheers of “Bravo” and appreciative whistles. When the Phantom greeted the audiences by clearly saying “Thank you” in Korean, the applause got even louder.

Ms. Oh Mi-sook, who was sitting in the first row, showed her excitement, saying, “I felt so good and happy that I could hear the Phantom’s singing, just in front of my eyes.”

A new fan culture created by the IT advanced country-

One male audience asked Little whether he was upset that he had to wear a mask over his very handsome face throughout the performance. The Phantom jokingly replied by saying that “they pay me a lot of money,” which made the audiences burst out laughing.

Thanks to the cozy atmosphere of the Jayu Theater, the actors and audiences had a chance to speak closely with each other.

Little frankly told the audiences about his experience of “being alone” in his early years due to dyslexia, a fact that has allowed him to appreciate the pain of his character, who is alone because of his scarred face.

As the one-hour and twenty minute fan meeting was nearing its end, three “holic” members - enthusiastic fans that go beyond the mere “maniac” level - of the fan club came up to the stage and presented the actors with bunches of flowers. After the meeting, the actors came into the audience area to pose for pictures with fans.

An organizer of the fan meeting, Seol Do-yoon (president of the Seol &Company) said that he arranged the meeting because the performance would be long-term, making fans’ first responses very important.

A managing director of the Really Useful Company (RUC) and the production company of the Phantom of the Opera, Tim McFarlane, came to Korea with the actors and said that the fan meeting was a unique event only possible in a country with a high rate of Internet use. He said that he anticipated that the “mouth to mouth marketing effect” through netizens would be great. For more information, call 02-501-7888.

Sue-Jean Kang sjkang@donga.com