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Last of three French musicals kicks off world tour at Sejong

Jan 19,2007
Following the success of “Notre Dame de Paris” and “Les Dix Commandments,” the last of a trio of French musicals that have been hits worldwide has arrived in Korea.
“Romeo et Juliette,” the latest of the widely-known French productions, opens this weekend. Promoters are excited that they have already sold more than 35 percent, or 40,000, of the tickets as of early this month.
“The first two months of the year is usually considered the off-season for performances,” said Lee Sa-hong, a staffer from Erum-ENT, a Korean production company that has teamed up with the French producers of the show. “But apparently the Korean audience was waiting for it to start.”
The French musical “Romeo et Juliette” opened in Paris in 2001, instantly becoming a hit. Seats were sold out for six months.
The original soundtrack, which is composed of 36 songs including such hits as “Aimer’’ and “Les Rois du Monde,’’ sold over 2 million copies in the first year. Its DVD and CD sales stand at 7 million worldwide.
“So far more than 4 million people from 16 countries have watched this musical and loved it,” said Ms. Lee. “And it’s Seoul’s turn to get excited.”
For the Seoul performance, the show has been “upgraded,” according to Erum-ENT. Producer Gerard Presgurvic and director and choreographer Redha have recast the show, bringing in a new lineup of 43 performers and choreographers, 15-ton stage sets and 132 costumes.
A total of 6.5 billion won ($6.7 million) has been spent to create the 2007-version.
Among performers, Damien Sargue, who plays Romeo, is the only member who has remained with the troupe since its premier in 2001.
Juliette will be played by Joy Esther.
“Our Korean audiences will have the privilege of seeing the new version of the musical in the first stop of the world tour,’’ Choi Nam-ju, CEO of Erum-ENT, told reporters in a press conference earlier this month.
Gerard Presgurvic, also at the press conference, said he was excited about promoting the French musical in Seoul. French musicals are different from West End and Broadway musicals in that they are more flexible about staging a performance, the producer said.
The French troupe is currently in Gwangju, where rehearsals have been going on a month. To celebrate the new year, Korean fans visited them with traditional Korean rice cakes, apricot tea and pumpkin taffy.


“Romeo et Juliette” opens tomorrow and runs through Feb. 27, except for Mondays, at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets cost from 50,000 won ($53) to 200,000 won. For more information visit, www.romeon-juliette.com or call, (02) 541-2614.


By Lee Min-a Staff Writer mina@joongang.co.kr


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