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Choi Jung-won shines in musical 'Chicago'

2008/07/31 | Permalink | Source

Hot and sexy were the two words that described last Sunday's musical "Chicago". The simple black theater had a jazz bar atmosphere that drew people in.

The show's music, including "All That Jazz" - the familiar tune that opens and continues throughout the show - was one highlight, while the performers' sensual dances and outfits that strongly appealed to the audience was another.

Currently staging its third run in downtown Seoul, the show is drawing a lot of attention from fans of musicals amid strong competition this summer.

Despite its rivalry with other popular musicals "Gambler" and "Thrill me", the show has secured healthy audiences, partly due to its previous success and its cast of well-known actors.

Singer-turned-actress Ock Joo-hyun, starring as Roxie Hart in the show for the second time, has contributed especially to the show's popularity, along with popular musical actor Nam Kyung-joo, who is to feature for the first time in the show this year.

But in Sunday's show, Choi Jeong-won-I, who plays the role of Velma Kelly, outshined Ok. Choi - who played Roxie in the first run and appears as Velma in the second - proved herself once again this year.

The veteran musical actress presented a stable and experienced overall performance. She showed off her strong vocals while acting fearlessly yet skillfully.

Meanwhile, Ok proved her capability as a musical actress and made her presence felt on the large stage, hitting high notes and dancing to the music effortlessly. She excelled in the marionette-style scene, lip-synching Sung Ki-yoon playing Billy Flynn's singing, metaphorically showing that Roxie is merely the puppet while Billy is in charge of everything.

However, acting-wise, she did not seem to be completely engrossed in Roxie's character. Although Ok did a good job expressing the witty and snobbish aspects of Roxie, she could have better presented her sharper, crueler side.

In the last scene, Choi and Ok replicate the choreography Bob Fosse designed for the original Broadway show in 1975. Appearing as a duo stage front, the dancing was brought off perfectly, receiving wild appreciation from the audience.

Another thing that made the show unique was the 14-piece orchestra - composed of typical Western instruments like the tuba and trumpet - which was placed on a tiered podium right in the center of the stage.

Members of the orchestra not only played their instruments but also interacted with the cast. Most notably, the conductor talked and made faces at the actors, even blanking them as they talked to her every now and then, to chuckles from the audience.

"Chicago" will run through Aug. 30 at the National Theater of Korea. Tickets are from 40,000 won to 120,000 won. To find out more about the show, call (02) 577-1987 or check out www.musicalchicago.co.kr

By Koh Young-aah

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