Fri, Mar 22, 2002 - Page 7 News List

Broadway's best to tour Taiwan

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Craig Schulman comes to Taiwan this week.


For music lovers in Taiwan, it's always a hassle to see a musical. They have to go to either Hong Kong, Singapore, London or New York to see their favorite shows: Les Miserables, Miss Saigon or Phantom of the Opera. Big musical companies have so far not landed in Taiwan.

Now, fans are cheering at the coming of "Mr Broadway" Craig Schulman. Starting next week, he will be giving five concerts throughout Taiwan. And because of Schulman's star status, it is hoped that his tour can give a boost to Taiwan's musical scene.

"We invited him to Asia especially for a Taiwan-only tour," said Klaus Lin (林建寰) from Kuang-hong Arts Management (寬宏藝術). The arts management company has been largely introducing Broadway performances and concerts, including concerts focusing on the songs of Les Miserables and Phantom. And last year, Kham put together two musicals: West Side Story and Evita. "We're trying to connect Taiwan to Broadway," said Lin.

Schulman is highly anticipated. He is the only performer in the world to have performed the Broadway roles of Jekyll & Hyde, the phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera, and nearly 2000 performances of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, both on Broadway and around the world.

The Chicago Sun Times once called Schulman the quintessential Jean Valjean, and praised his beautiful voice and gripping stage presence. And his thousands of times playing Jean Valjean also led to his being chosen to represent the US at the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert at Royal Albert Hall in London.

The 46 year-old Schulman's voice has been described as high flowing, and full of feeling. "Soul-stirring" or "vivid" are the words usually used to describe Schulman's turns as both the phantom and Jean Valjean. And given his 2000 performances of Les Miserables in 10 years, he is also blessed with "vocal chords of steel."

Performance Notes:

What: Craig Schulman on Broadway (克雷格舒爾曼的音樂劇世界)

When & Where: 7:30pm March 27 at Chih-teh Hall in Kaohsiung, Chiang Kai-shek Cultural Center; March 28 at National Concert Hall, Taipei; March 29 at Performance Hall of Cultural Affair Bureau, Taoyuan County; March 30 at the Performance Hall of Cultural Affairs Bureau, Hualien County; March 31 at the Tainan City Arts Center. See bottom of page eight for venue information

Tickets: available through ERA ticketing outlets

"I was inspired by the human elements of the Phantom, his deep need for love and the constant pain of rejection, even from his earlier memories of childhood. The phantom says `this face which earned a mother's fear and loathing, a mask my first unfeeling scrap of clothing.' I drew on this as the essence of my characterization," said Craig Schulman in an interview with the magazine Talkin' Braodway.

This is perhaps why there has always been a tearful house when Schulman sings "Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera. Time magazine also described Schulman as the embodiment of the phantom character.

For his Taiwan performances, which start Wednesday, Schulman will be singing 14 tunes from well-known musicals, and accompanied by pianist and musical producer and performer Sue Anderson. The show will begin with songs from West Side Story, to Sunset Boulevard and of course Les Miserables. The repertoire guarantees a night filled with musical sentiment. So far, all the NT$300 tickets have been sold out.

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