Christine Is My Destiny, Says Musical Actress Kim
Kim So-hyun is arguably one of the busiest musical actresses these days. Currently starring in the musical ``Three Musketeers,'' she will soon perform in ``Romeo et Juliette'' and ``The Phantom of the Opera.''
Among these blockbuster musicals, she is eagerly anticipating her return to ``The Phantom of the Opera'' as Christine for the first time in eight years.
``When I heard about the auditions for `The Phantom,' I rushed there. I thought Christine is the role I can do best. Still, many fans remember me as Christine in the musical eight years ago,'' Kim said in an interview with The Korea Times.
Graduating from Seoul National University's College of Music, Kim made her debut in ``The Phantom'' in 2001 and immediately rose to stardom in her role as Christine.
Eight years later, with a 24-billion-won budget for production costs, the musical is to be presented again by Seol & Company with a new cast.
``At that time, I was kind of naive and didn't know much about the musical. So the creative team thought I was like a white paper, so they thought they could create any image with me. They said that my pure image was fitted for the character of the chorus girl with the pure soul,'' she said.
But looking back, she said she didn't have many chances to train and rehearse in order to show her full potential as much as senior actresses did. ``Even though the musical was so successful, I felt there was much left to be desired,'' she said.
The 32-year-old recalled the moment when she was so overwhelmed by the thunderous ovation of the rapt audience when the show was over. She said that the encouraging response pushed her to continue her musical career.
``I have a special tie with `The Phantom.' Christine is my destiny. Without Christine, there is no me as an actress. The role made me what I am now. `The Phantom' was my first show and it's a miracle for me to play the same role again,'' she said.
But she said that sometimes she feels her frequent performances as noble women in major shows left her feeling stereotyped.
To break the image, she appeared in the television drama, ``The King and I'' as an old villain woman. ``It was a tough task but I learned acting from working on the drama. And I am satisfied with promoting myself wider and attracting some fans to the musicals. Such experience to deepen and mature my acting was very helpful for me,'' she said.
Kim made good use of her vocals when she appeared in operas before making her musical debut. But she found it difficult in her earlier works to dance and deliver the lyrics clearly. ``But I think now I have built up some experience and my acting has matured a little bit. For both my fans who saw me in `The Phantom' eight years ago and those who will see me for the first time in the musical, I promise a better performance,'' she said.
Kim always tries to immerse herself in every role because she believes an actor should make the audience feel a sense of reality about what's happening on stage. ``It's important for the performers to be engrossed in every character. Only when we immerse in the character, they can be assimilated with the character too,'' she said.
Regarding her nickname of Cinderella in the musical arena, she said, ``Yes, I am a sort of Cinderella because I grasped a great opportunity of performing the title role without any failure. But I have always had to make more efforts than any other actors to catch up with them. People don't know how I have struggled to become a better actress behind the stage and just judge me for my external success,'' she said.
For ``The Phantom of The Opera,'' actor Yang Jun-mo was chosen for the coveted role of the Phantom. Yang is renowned for his roles in ``Sweeney Todd'' and ``See What I Wanna See.'' He will alternate as the Phantom with Yoon Young-suk, who performed the role in 2001.
Kim will alternate her role with Choi Hyun-joo, a member of Shiki, a Japanese major theater troupe.
For the role of Raoul, musical heartthrobs Hong Kwang-ho of ``Jekyll and Hyde'' and Jung Sang-yun will share responsibilities.
``The Phantom of The Opera,'' by legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, is one of the world's best-selling Broadway musicals and a landmark in local musical history.
It quickly drew 240,000 viewers when it was first staged here in 2001, a record that still stands.
The company will not release the specific cast lists before each individual show to prevent an unbalanced preference for certain actors.
The performance will open on Sept. 23 and run until Aug. 8 of next year at the Charlotte Theater.
A seasonal ticket system will be operated that will see prices adjusted during high-demand and slow seasons.
They will cost 130,000 won on weekdays and 140,000 won on weekends in July and August, but will drop to 110,000 won on weekdays and 120,000 won on weekends from January to March.
For reservations, call 1588-7890.