An unusual musical will be staged June 4-21 at the Centennial Memorial Hall of Yonsei University in Seoul. It is a comedy musical starring comedians who are popular these days on KBS TV2's Gag Concert.
Entitled "We Are Comedians", the musical stands apart from Gag Concert, in which each comedian has only three to five minutes to perform on stage. The musical features a comical plot, singing and dancing. Its production was possible thanks to the creativity and determination of comedian Kim Byung-man
, 34, who has gained popularity for his Gag Concert segment Master. The founder of the planning agency BM Entertainment, which manages the majority of comedians appearing in the musical, Kim collaborated with his coworkers and performance planning professionals to come up with this unusual production.
"We talked constantly about the expansion of Gag Concert's 'Musical' segment, which was a big hit in 2007. We also wanted to produce this musical because comedians don't have much opportunity these days. We could present many unknown young comedians with a chance to make their name", said Kim.
Kim thoroughly selected roles for the musical cast, because it's the first production of its kind. The musical depicts the joys and sorrows of comedians' real lives in a comical way. For example, it contains a scene showing comedians successfully taping a performance but later receiving a notification from the producer that their segment could disappear soon, and a scene in which an aspiring singer finally receives an offer from a music record company but later finds out that it is a fake company that trains imitation singers.
"This musical honestly depicts the life of a comedian. Comedians have to laugh in front of people and make others laugh even when their families live in dire straits or when their beloved father is ill, like in my case. It shows what arduous efforts comedians make to gain popularity", said Kim.
But that doesn't mean that this musical deals with hard-core subjects only. It borrows characters and popular expressions from Gag Concert to make audiences laugh. The cast includes such popular comedians as Kim Jae-wook-I, Lee Dong-yun, Roh Woo-jin and Song Jun-keun. Han Min-gwan
and Ryu Dam
were assigned to small roles. Other actors include Chung Kyung-mi, Heo Mi-young and Kim Kyung-ah. Kim himself plays several roles: a planning agency boss, a bank employee and a victim of an accident.
"Lee Dong-yun and Heo Mi-young are very interested in this production because they want to try their skills in musicals. But their singing is not as good as that of real musical actors, because they are comedians. Nonetheless, it'll be fun to see them singing seriously with their husky voices", said Kim. "Cho Yun-ho, Lee Sang-ho and Lee Sang-min-IV
are very good at dancing, while Lee Dong-yun, Heo Mi-young and Ryu Dam
are good singers. I play small roles because I'm personally more interested in traditional drama than in musicals", added Kim.
Unlike conventional musicals, which use songs written specifically for each production, this comedy musical features popular songs such as "Musical" and "The Dream of The Goose". Singer MC Sniper agreed to act as the musical director while the choreography is being overseen by Ji Won-sung, who choreographed the musical "Really Like You".
Kim has been carrying out diverse activities to push the boundaries of comedy. In 2007, he staged a performance at a small theater in Japan, and recently performed with junior comedians in Chengdu, China. "I don't think that Korean comedy lags behind Japanese comedy. I want to show everyone that we can promote Korean culture not only through TV dramas but through comedy as well. We will hold a comedy tour sometime after July in China, and if our comedy musical proves to be a success, we will try to produce it into a movie or regional performance to expand the boundaries of comedy", said Kim.