Performing arts company features special actors in Christmas musical

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Performing arts company features special actors in Christmas musical

If too much shopping ― and the irritation that follows it ― has figured in your holiday plans, let Tiny Tim bring back the meaning of the year-end season.

Playing the role of the good-hearted boy who moves the heart of cold-hearted miser Ebenezer Scrooge in the seasonal tradition of the Seoul Performing Arts Company is 9-year-old Yoon Seon-hye. And she can tell better than anyone the meaning of giving at Christmas.
“I just try to say ‘I love you’ more often because that way I can return the attention people have given me,” the young actress says.
Among the child actors bustling around during rehearsals of the musical “A Christmas Carol,” Seon-hye sits quietly, listening and humming to the CD recording of her musical number.
Seon-hye is visually impaired. Since she was diagnosed several years ago as completely blind, her dream has been to become a singer.
“I like singing, so I am going to study singing when I grow up,” she said. “I think it is a gift from God that I can sing.”
Although Seon-hye has never studied singing professionally, she said she sings along to CDs at home, and plays the piano. People have often praised her singing ability and her parents suggested she audition for the Tiny Tim role. She auditioned without high expectations and was chosen for the role.
That was three years ago, and this will be her third consecutive year playing the character with the Seoul Performing Arts Company.
“I am not nervous at all. I love the moment when there is loud applause from the audience,” she said proudly.
Joining Seon-hye in this year’s performance are three more special young guests. Park Habibi and Yeom Joseph have Pakistani fathers, and Park Jini is half-Filipino. The three were nominated as “potential actors” by Pearl S. Buck International, an organization that promotes interracial adoption and programs.
“We try to give more chances to minority groups in our society to stand on stage,” said Joo Mi-seok, the promoter of “A Christmas Carol.” “That’s the true meaning of this seasonal performance, and the kids here are very talented because we go through tough try-outs.”
Last year the same musical starred three boys from a local juvenile hall who passed the auditions to perform on stage. The year before, Seon-hye and five other disabled children joined the troupe.

Based on the Charles Dickens tale and songs by Zdenek Bartak, the script has been rewritten by Kim Eui-gyeong and Ahn Hyeon-jeong. Lee Byeong-hun, a professor and producer, directs. Actor Park Seok-yong will play Ebenezer Scrooge for the fourth year in a row.

“A Christmas Carol” runs from today until Christmas Day at the Changdong Seoul Open Theater located near Changdong subway station on line No. 4. Tickets cost from 15,000 won ($16) to 35,000 won. A four-person family discount package is available for 100,000 won in the best R seats. For reservations, call, (02) 1588-7890.

by Lee Min-a
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