As far as musicals go, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of theOpera is undoubtedly one of the best known. The same cannot be said for the story’s lesser known and often underrated brother, Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit’s production Phantom. An equally compelling story that delves deeper into the title character’s personal struggles, this musical puts heart and humanity into the often misunderstood anti-hero. Case in point is the mystery of the Phantom’s birth revealed through a lyrical ballet.
Not only does Korea’s production of Phantom feature prima ballerina Kim Joo-won, Yeston composed four new songs especially for the premiere here. There were, however, some loose ends to tie up. For one, the special effects and set pale in comparison to recent musical sensations. The extras, perhaps poorly rehearsed, show a lack of direction and seem out of place next to the more illustrious faces in the cast—renowned soprano, Im Sun-hae makes her musical debut as Christine while musical actor Ryu Jeong-han and balladeer Park Hyo-shin switch off as the Phantom.
While the Phantom’s melodrama is the highlight of the musical’s first act, the tone deaf Madame Carlotta captures hearts in the musical’s second act. Shin Youngsook’s obnoxiousness adds some spice to the show. Phantom is a pleasure for fans both old and new.
Performances by Ryu Jung-han, Park Hyo-shin, Kai, Lim Sun-hye, Lim Hyeyoung, Kim Soon-young. Running time: 2hrs 50mins. One intermission (20mins).