After spending some time in television drama, Park Hae-mi
has a really good feeling about acting in musicals again.
The 44-year-old diva's latest role is in "Really Really Like You", a homemade musical that reenacts the Korea of the 1970s and 80s. The story is set in a roller skating rink - which was one of the hippest places for young people at the time.
"Since I went to school in those days, I can relate a lot to the show and therefore my acting can be more real", Park said.
Park also said she was very proud to be a part of the show because it is a Korean musical, "not a licensed foreign one that we need to pay royalties for".
She said the show is better suited to the local audience's sentiments than licensed foreign musicals like Mamma Mia, the show which earned Park her initial fame.
The acting and dialogue in foreign musicals are a bit awkward, since they are from a different culture, she said.
Another draw for Park was that she could sing many old Korean songs.
"As I get older I started to prefer old pop songs to foreign songs, even though I have sung many of them in my past shows", said Park.
Park said her popularity hits home when she goes out.
"These days my fans recognize me whenever my family goes out together and I realize I've become more famous", said Park. "It's nice of them and although my son seems to enjoy the attention, family outings have become a little more uncomfortable than before".
Although she became recognized by the public relatively recently, Park has actually been around Daehagno, the country's theater mecca, for more than 20 years.
"Musical theater is like a hometown for me, even though I majored in vocal music in college and dreamed of becoming the prima donna in operas back then", the actress said.
"But as time passed, I found out that only through musicals can I dance, sing and act at the same time", she said. "Musicals especially are more fun for me because each show is a certain time and place that can never come back".
Park, however, continues to harbor ambitions for her television career.
Park added that she wants to act for a melodrama, saying although she tends to take the part of a strong and active woman, she is actually sweet and tender in real life.
"Shin Jang-mi, the role I'm playing in the show, is an innocent single teacher living with her niece who has never been in love before", Park said. "She learns about love through her relationship with the baseball manager from the same school. I think she is closer to the real me than Donna in Mamma Mia".
In fact, Park said she plans to do a couple of TV shows in the near future.
"TV shows are fun in their own ways and if a great crew like that of the sitcom 'High Kick' offers me a role".
Musical "Really Really Like You" plays at Universal Arts Center through Aug. 3. For more information, call (02) 741-5459 or check out Open the link
By Koh Young-aah