Actor follows his soul to KoreaIt’s too bad the Korean Musical Awards do not have a category for “most popular foreign musical actor.” If they did, the honor would have to be Brad Little’s.
The American musical actor drew over 195,000 Koreans to the theater last summer when he played the lead role in “The Phantom of the Opera.” Nearly 98 percent of available tickets were sold during the three months the show was on. That set a new record in Seoul for a touring production from Broadway.
The summer of 2005 was just as memorable for Little ― which is why he is back in Seoul for a stop between two scheduled tours.
Prior to making his return home to New York after a recent three- month stint in Singapore, he decided to visit Seoul for a brief two-day musical concert, featuring a number of songs from his various Broadway musical hits.
Along with the surprise concert, which was only decided upon one month ago, there is another treat in store for his Korean fans. The duets in the concert have been scripted in both English and Korean. Little will perform with Korean musical actress Kim So-hyun, who will participate in the spoken section of the event.
“This is the first time I have ever done a concert in a language that is not my own,” the actor said. “It’s like a trial for me. Hopefully, it will work out.”
Little’s concerns are probably unfounded. He has been preparing for the Seoul concert for an entire month, according to Barbara McCulloh, his theater-actress wife, who will also appear on stage with him as a special guest. She will sing a number from “Beauty and the Beast.”
“It was his own idea that we try the concert partly in Korean,” McCulloh said, accompanying Little during an interview with JoongAng Daily. “We want the audience to feel they are part of the show, as if they are in our living room. We chat so they will feel they are interacting with us and that’s easier when it is done for an English-speaking audience so here we felt we would need help from Kim So-hyun.”
Little is the son of a drama professor, and he was on stage singing by the time he was six years old. From then on, his life has been entirely focused on the theater. Sometimes he slept backstage or even in the aisles.
“I didn’t know anything else I could do,” he said smiling
He made his national debut in 1988 in the United States for the national tour of “Anything Goes,” as Billy Crocker.
The next year, he took the role of Perchik in “Fiddler on the Roof.” In 1994, Little joined the cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” as Raoul. He took the title role in 1996, and has appeared as the Phantom more than 1,800 times.
For the upcoming Seoul concert, Little will be singing numbers that are familiar to most audiences, including “This is the Moment,” from “Jekyll and Hyde,” “Memory” from “Cats” and “Maria” from “West Side Story.”
“Let your soul take you where you long to be,” Little said, referring to the lyric of “The Music of the Night” from “The Phantom of the Opera.” “That’s my philosophy for choosing the next place I want to hold a concert,” he said.
“Brad Little ― The Phantom Unmasked” will be held on Dec. 6 and 7 at the Seongnam Arts Center’s Opera House located near exit 1 at Imae station on subway line No. 8. Ticket prices for the afternoon show range from 20,000 won ($22) to 80,000 won, and for the late evening show from 40,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information on the concert, call, 02) 6000 - 6791.
by Lee Min-a