Taiwan only country to host 'Phantom of the Opera' safely amid pandemic

'Phantom of the Opera' to play in Taipei Arena from Nov. 19 to Dec. 6

(KHAM photo)

(KHAM photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Theatergoers in Taipei are being treated to only the second showing in the world of the Broadway musical "The Phantom of the Opera," as Taiwan has been one of the few countries in the world to keep the Wuhan coronavirus at bay.

As the coronavirus pandemic intensifies in much of the world, organizers of the "The Phantom of the Opera" were forced to cancel its worldwide schedule. However, because Taiwan has managed to contain the local outbreak and prevented a new local infection for 221 days, the musical is being presented in Taipei.

Due to Taiwan's strict epidemic prevention protocols, 130 cast and crew members of the production had to first undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, which ended on Tuesday (Nov. 17). There will be a total of 22 performances of the musical at Taipei Arena from Nov. 19 to Dec. 6.

Although this is the fourth time that "The Phantom of the Opera" has been performed in Taiwan, it has extra significance in that Taiwan's excellent handling of the coronavirus outbreak has enabled such a large-venue event to take place. According to the Taiwanese organizer of the performances, Following South Korea, Taiwan is the only the second country in the world where the musical has been performed since the start of the pandemic.

However, as the outbreak raged in South Korea, the Seoul production had a scare in April when two cast members tested positive for COVID-19 and had to be placed in isolation for three weeks, reported UDN. Fortunately, the actors recovered and were tested again prior to rejoining the performance to ensure there was no risk of transmission of the virus.

In this production of the musical, the Phantom is played by South African stage actor Jonathan Roxmouth. The creator of the musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber, sent a self-recorded video in which he wished the performers luck and expressed gratitude to Taiwan for "keeping their theater doors open."