TJE 14: Mom, the Music of the Night and my Musical Addiction

There was not a time I remember in which I provided luxury to my parents ever since I started my career and became self-sufficient. But recently, thanks to a chance vacation, I was able to do so for my mom.  I brought her to experience the Music of the Night.

Chuseok, the harvest festival and a major holiday in Korea, gave an opportunity for us working here to have 6 days off from work. I grabbed the chance to take a quick vacation in the Philippines!

I’ve mentioned previously that my recent home leave was travel packed, and that I didn’t have much time to bond with my family. So, I thought of spending more time with them in this short trip.

Actually, I wouldn’t be making this trip if it weren’t for a travel voucher I purchased from a friend’s office mate. Cutting the long story short, I bought a travel voucher for a cheaper price, thinking that I will have a trip with friends. However, due to conflict in schedule, I was left with no companions for my available dates. And because I need to use the voucher before the year ends, I opted to go home again. And I’m glad I did. 🙂

One activity I included in my itinerary was to catch one of the most successful musicals of all time: The Phantom of the Opera – a touring production of which stopped by Manila. Recently, I had an addiction to this musical.

Addiction, a Series of

Allow me to insert a history of this addiction. In June of this year, I watched a musical for the first time. The show is none other than Wicked, which was touring Asia and had a stop here in Korea. I knew only a few things about this musical, and one of them was, that the good song Defying Gravity came from it. Prior to the show, I started looking for renditions of this song on Youtube. I found that Lea Salonga had a version of it – an awesome one.

I got addicted to Lea Salonga’s voice. So, I watched different performances of her, until I stumbled upon Les Miserables, the Musical. The amazing Lea (who I later found out was a musical goddess, and I asked myself why haven’t I known it before?), at times became part of productions of this Musical. I became curious about the show, and so it started another addiction – one for Les Miserables. The music is just beautiful, I listened to it and watched performances every single day for several weeks.

Came the day when we watched Wicked. We were seated at the third row from the back. We didn’t want to spend too much because there might be a chance we won’t like it. But oh no, we were just blown away – the show was amazing! We all thought that spending more was worth it. And so I swore, that if ever I get to watch Les Miserables, I will definitely get a front seat!

Now, when did The Phantom of the Opera came to my attention? Two of my friends who were with me to watch Wicked mentioned about it, telling me that the movie was good. Because I was addicted to Les Miz, I didn’t check it out immediately. Then finally, I decided to get a copy of the Phantom of the Opera movie, and watched it.

After watching, I thought, it was just ok.  The music from Les Miz was better.  However, I became curious about the theater version. Searching led me to see the 25th anniversary version of the show. It was fantastic! I realized the main actors in the the movie didn’t have a good enough voice to match their acting to completely bring the emotion. Or maybe because it was pre-recorded? I’m not sure. I was somehow indifferent with that version. But watching the 25th anniversary version (on Youtube mind you), made me emotional. Damn that pitiful phantom in the end! LOL.  And so came yet another addiction: one for the Phantom of the Opera. So I had 2 must-watch productions in which I won’t hesitate to spend money on: Les Miz and POTO.


Before my addiction to POTO, I already knew that there will be a tour here in Asia which include Korea and the Philippines. And I heard it will be shown in the Philippines first. Because of my decision to go home, I then thought, it would be great to just catch the show there!

Who should I watch it with?  I immediately thought of my mom. I knew she’s the type who would appreciate a musical. And the show, being born in the 80s, must ring a bell to her. I also thought, it would be her first time to watch such, and for me, a first time to treat her for a luxury. I did mention it’s a must-see musical for me, so the idea of ticking 50% of my 2-item list was thrilling. Ha ha!

Almost a month before my vacation, i checked the show schedule and seat availability. I chose to watch on Friday, September 28, and bought 2 front row tickets, no less. 🙂 As my vacation drew near, my excitement just mounted!

Show Time

In a word, the production was fantastic.  I was however, underwhelmed with how it ended.  That’s the downside of watching the 25th anniversary production over and over again, especially the ending.  The actor from that show, Ramin Karimloo, was just awesome.  He made the ending quite sad.  So, I went to the show in Manila, thinking I would get the same feeling in the end.  But I didn’t.  Jonathan Roxmouth, seem to not convey enough sadness in the character, in that, I didn’t feel sympathy about the phantom’s demise in the end.  He even seemed too harsh to Christine all the time.  Hmmm, that’s the problem with expectations!  But I’m not saying he’s bad.  He’s quite good actually, his voice gave me goosebumps from time to time.  The actress who played Christine, Claire Lyon, was so beautiful and so good!  It’s amazing how a voice like that comes from a skinny frame like hers.

The traffic was slow by the time we reached Manila.  Mom and I were not able to eat dinner anymore.  During the intermission, I asked her if she was hungry.  She wasn’t, a sign that she was enjoying the show.  I wasn’t either.

The final line of the musical goes, “it’s over now, the music of the night.”  Well, that’s not true for the audience.  The music from POTO is something hard to forget.  And in the same way, I will remember the night I watched the show for the first time, the same night I first took my mom for a date.  Happy.

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