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Big-name musicals hit Seoul’s theatres

A scene from the current Korean run of musical “Hairspray” (Seensee Company)

Publication Date : 20-06-2012


This summer Seoul’s musical scene is packed with more top-name shows than ever.

One of the most anticipated shows Wicked had a successful opening last month, while local production Bungee-Jump and the 1983 Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles are slated to kick off their first runs next month.

Adding to the excitement is the opening of two big-name musicals this month ― Chicago and Hairspray. Both shows have been performed in Seoul before; Chicago first premiered in 2000 while Hairspray held its first show in 2007.

The much loved shows are making their returns with top musical stars and heavyweight staff.


Veteran singer and musical star Insooni (Cats) and heavyweight musical actress Choi Jung-won (Mama Mia, Guys and Dolls) are returning as Velma Kelly, the vaudevillian and murderess in Chicago.

The two actresses have performed the role a number of times since the show’s first Seoul run in 2000. While Insooni played the role in 2000, 2009, and 2010 runs, Choi participated in every single run in 2000, 2007, 2009, and 2010.

“I haven’t done a lot of musicals in my life, but Chicago is the show that I’d like to perform as many times as I can,” said Insooni through a statement.

“I feel very fortunate that I can be a part of the show again.”

Choi also expressed her attachment to the character and the piece, calling it the “perfect” musical which has all the right components.

“It’s got great music, dance, and amazing characters,” said Choi in a statement. “And because Velma is such a complex character, I find it more fun to play her as I get older.”

The “celebrity criminal” musical, which delves into the corruption of the authorities surrounding a murder case and a cabaret singer in Chicago in the 1920s, is Broadway’s fourth longest-running show since its first run in 1975.

The upcoming Seoul production’s music is directed by popular conductor and actress Kolleen Park. Park, who was the conductor for the musical Aida in 2010 and directed the Korean production of the musical “Rent” last year, will be conducting a 14-member band who will perform live along with the cast for the upcoming run.

Chicago runs until October 7 at the D-Cube Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won (US$35) to 110,000 won ($95). For tickets and more information, call 1544-1555.


Another beloved Broadway musical Hairspray is returning for its third run in Seoul. It first premiered in 2007, and had another successful run in 2009.

The musical, which first opened in Broadway in 2002, won a total of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical in 2003. It takes place in the early 1960s, and tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, an overweight yet optimistic teenager who dreams of becoming a star dancer by appearing on a dance-themed TV show.

The role of Tracy is shared by rising musical star Oh So-yeon (Next to Normal, Lovers in Paris) and Kim Min-young, who appeared as the dowdy girl in filmmaker Kang Hyung-chul’s retro flick Sunny.

Hairspray runs until August 5 at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 90,000 won. For more information, call +82 (02) 2230-6601.


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