I'm a Journalist in Korea 12: Dracula
DRACULA: The Musical by Kim Miso aka Rahel Limor
March 8, 2020
Do not miss this performance of “Dracula the Musical”. Words cannot properly express the greatness of this superb theater production. Nevertheless I will try.
Written in 1897 by Bram Stoker, a British business manager for the Lyceum Theater in London, “Dracula” is an ever-popular classic among fictional fantasy stories about vampires in particular. It has inspired readers, actors, directors, audiences and especially vampire fans since it was first published over one hundred years ago.
Surely a story as popular as this one demands actors who are just as popular, well-loved and talented to perform it. South Korea can stand proud in this regard. I have seen quite a few Korean theater productions this past year, each one displaying the highest caliber of talent.
“Dracula; The Musical” is currently showing until June 7th at the Charlotte Theater in Seoul, a charming mid-sized venue that provides a more personal and intimate theater experience. This is a high energy fast moving musical boasting the best in Korean talent.
The performance I attended featured Korea’s most well-loved actor / singer / dancer XIA Kim Junsu. Honestly there are very few performers who can own and command the stage as he can. As Count Dracula XIA Junsu is completely in his element. His performance is electrifying. He is a major presence, force and energy that completely overwhelms you as you watch. They don’t call him an “idol” for nothing. Though I prefer to describe him as Divinely inspired. A man with the confidence of knowing that even when standing alone he enraptures an audience all by himself. Especially when singing. His voice carries as much weight as his presence. That is not to make light of the other actors. They are all superb.
The musical selections written by USA composer Frank Wildhorn, who whose music is also featured in the productions “Deathnote” and “Xcalibur” both featuring XIA Junsu as the main actor, are not only beautiful and pleasing to the ear but are also performed extremely well by the actors. The lyrics (in Korean) are available in the theater program guide.
The set design is particularly effective using a rotating stage in a manner that allows scenes to easily flow one into the next without interruption.
A bit of web research will reveal that the name “Dracula” was likely drawn on the 15th century Romanian prince Vlad Dracul III, a bloodthirsty warrior who was known to impale his enemies alive then drink their blood. Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” however is not actually about the real life prince. It is a fictional story about a vampire who relocates to a new town. His need to drink blood for his survival as a vampire wreaks havoc on the townspeople. The original story of “Dracula” hinted at the fight against Imperialism in Victorian England. Over the decades the element of romance has superseded the original content. Today “Dracula” undoubtedly reads as a tragic love story between the Count and the beautiful “Mina”, a woman who has set out to help rid the town of the Count and the blood-sucking libels.
At a time when the Corona virus is keeping us all fairly isolated and away from large crowds you will be happy to know that the Charlotte Theater has employed strict measures to ensure our health and safety rather than cancel the performances. These measures include:
Installation of a thermal imaging camera at the theater entrance and the additional temperature measurement of non-contact thermometer
Mandatory theater staff wearing masks and measuring daily temperatures
Additional special quarantine for theater facilities
Sanitary items including hand sanitizer
Temporary stops for importing theater drinks and ice cream (bottled water only)
Performance & Ticket Information: http://www.charlottetheater.co.kr/performence/current.asp
Find the Charlotte Theater: Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul (Jamsil-dong), Lotte Shopping Co., Ltd. CEO, Lotte Theater , Contact: (facilities and operations) 1644-0078, Web: http://www.charlottetheater.co.kr/
Kim Miso aka Rahel Limor; Writer, Actor, Singer, Model, www.rahelmusic.com, IG: @rahelinkorea