On June 24th, 2021 I attended Phantom at Lotte World's Charlotte Theatre. I originally attended to see my favorite member from my top K-pop group (also known as an ultimate bias), Cho Kyuhyun. I really was not that excited to see the musical since Phantom of the Opera, which Phantom, is based on is my least favorite musical. However, by the end of the show, I was now a complete fan of Phantom. Do you think they have a fandom I could join?
I bought my tickets off of Global Interpark under the "Musical" tab. Global Interpark is the nicest play to buy tickets since the interface is the easiest to use, it takes foreign cards, and it has the widest selection. A lot of ticket websites in Korea require a Korean telephone number or Alien registration number. I have neither so I made sure to use a foreigner-friendly website. Some other ticket buying websites are Melon Global and Ticketlink Global. Both of these are very foreigner-friendly. I paid for the second-highest tier of seats which cost me 133,000 won (or about $133 USD). There are much cheaper tickets available, but having a nicer view or being close to the stage can cost more. I was 7 rows back so my view was great and well worth the money.
Ticket pick-up was super easy. Make sure to know the last four digits of your phone number and where you bought it from. Merchandise from the musical is also super cheap. I bought Kyuhyun's postcard set and playbook which cost 22,000 won (or about $22 USD). Merchandise at musicals in the United States is much more expensive with a commemorative playbook usually being $50. So it was super nice to be able to save some money. However, keep in mind that Seoul is now a plastic bag-free city which means that plastic bags cost money to use. The bag I got cost about 500 won so that is a cost to keep in mind.
Another perk of attending a musical in Seoul is the decorations set up. They had several photo spots set up and the area in which the actors' headshots were displayed was gorgeous. The whole lobby was transformed to reflect 1910 Paris and it was so nice to be in. I made sure to take lots of pictures at all the set-up spots. Asking people to take pictures was also not hard to do at all. Everyone was more than happy for me to take a photo and even made sure to get my best angles!
The show itself was amazing. It started right on time and opened with a bang. The set decorations and props were beautiful. The costumes were stunning. The actors were putting on a great show, all while singing some amazing music. If you want to listen to some of it check out this performance by Kyuhyun. The show even had English subtitles on monitors to the side of the stage. My Korean is decent but it was super nice to have subtitles to help me make sure I fully understood what was going on. Even the lyrics of the songs had subtitles. It was an amazing show and I wish you all could have experienced it with me. I was completely captivated the whole time and definitely enjoyed seeing my ultimate bias in the flesh.
Overall, I highly recommend attending a musical in Seoul. It is one way to immerse yourself in Seoul's contemporary culture and a great way to see some world-class performance. While it was nice to see my ultimate bias in person, it was even better to see him perform in such an amazing musical. I never thought I would like the musical as much as I did. Consider adding a musical on your list of things to do while studying abroad in Seoul!