Applause rings for musicals of Paris
“Korean fans’ passion provides us new energy,” said Gerard Presgurvid, the composer and producer of the musical. “I am very touched by their love.”
French musicals have not been very popular in English-speaking communities, but are unexpectedly enjoying a lot of the love Presgurvid spoke of from Korean audiences. No French musicals have been performed on New York’s Broadway, and only a few have been staged in London’s West End.
“In England and America, musical performers have to act, sing and dance and be good at all three of them,” said Jo Yong-sin, a music critic. “But French musicals separate the three factors, and audiences in English-speaking countries are unfamiliar with that performance style.”
The fever continued unabated here. After the success of “Notre Dame de Paris,” “Les Dix Commandments” and “Romeo et Juliette” were imported.
“Don Juan,” which was staged at the Seoul Arts Center at the end of last year, was sent to Korea as its first overseas stop outside of the French-speaking world. Korea seems to have become an important market for French musicals.
The Korean passion for French musicals is also influencing business trends. NDPK, which imported “Notre Dame de Paris,” bought the rights to stage the musical in Asia after the Korean appearance. For two years in a row, the musical was a big hit in Taiwan. The company also signed a performance deal in Singapore. “French musical companies think Korea is their bridgehead to enter the Asian market,” said Pil Jung-yeon, an NDPK manager.
Although some Koreans are giddy, a few are sour. Won Jong-won, who teaches journalism and broadcasting at Soonchunhyang University, called the French musicals’ popularity a reflection of Korean vanity in their cultural sophistication. But even critics agree that the market is dynamic, whatever the cause.
By Choi Min-woo(JoongAng Ilbo) / Ser Myo-ja(Staff Writer) [email@example.com]