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Webber musicals are taking over Busan’s musical theater scene

From left: Posters for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical

From left: Posters of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals The Phantom of the Opera, Cats and Jesus Christ Superstar [DREAM THEATRE]

Music industry titan Andrew Lloyd Webber is taking Busan’s musical theater scene by storm with three of his smash hits – “Cats”, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Phantom of The Opera” premiering back-to-back at the city’s Dream Theatre.

The Asian tour of the musical Cats ended on January 15th at the Dream Theater in Busan and will now run until March 12th at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts Grand Theater in central Seoul.

Composed by Webber and based on TS Elliot’s 1939 collection of poetry entitled Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the musical tells the story of a tribe of cats known as the Jellicles. It premiered in the West End in 1981.

The show is known for being highly interactive, with actors scrambling down the stage to the audience seats. Such interaction was banned during Covid-19, but this production series of “Cats” will resume their original engagements.

Jesus Christ Superstar runs February 3-5 at the Dream Theater. The show, which opened on Broadway in 1971, has garnered renewed attention over the years as a show Webber and lyricist Tim Rice collaborated on before rising to industry megastars. A sung rock opera, The Score combines classical music with rock to create iconic numbers like “Gethsemane” and “Heaven on Their Minds” that have audiences humming the tunes as they exit the theater.

The show is loosely based on the life of Jesus Christ and his relationships with those around him, especially Judas, in the weeks leading up to his crucifixion. Jesus on the show is portrayed as a human rather than the Son of God, as the songs highlight Jesus’ chain of emotions that led to his crucifixion.

Actors Michael Lee and Im Tae-kyung take turns playing Jesus, while Han Ji-sang, Yoon Hyung-yeol, Baek Hyung-hoon and Seo Eun-kwang take turns playing Judas.

The Korean production of The Phantom of the Opera runs from March 30th to June 18th at Dream Theater.

Known as the longest-running musical on Broadway, The Phantom of the Opera has proved popular with local audiences since its premiere in 2001. Its seven-month duration attracted around 240,000 people at the time. The musical was last performed in 2009. It has never been performed in Busan.

Based on the French novel Le Fantome de l’Opera by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera follows a soprano, Christine Daae, who becomes obsessed with a mysterious, disfigured musical genius known as the Phantom.

Actors Cho Seung-woo, Jeong Dong-seok and Kim Joo-taek take turns playing the phantom, while Son Ji-soo plays Christine.

It will continue at the Charlotte Theater in the Songpa District of South Seoul in Seoul from July 14.

Tickets for all three shows are available on local ticketing platform Interpark.

BY LEE JIAN [[email protected]]

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