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Korean movies morphed into musicals

2008/01/17 Source

Musicals based on hit movies are set to dominate the local entertainment industry this year.

Of the musicals scheduled to be staged this year, more than 30 percent are based on or related to movies. There are already many Korean adaptations of Broadway musicals based on Hollywood films. But what makes this year remarkable is that there will be more musicals based on Korean movies.

Why are Korean production companies turning to "moviecals"? The answer is quite simple. Audiences already know and like the storylines of hit movies, and are therefore more likely to watch musicals that have been adapted from movies.

Moviecal productions in Korea are following in Broadway's footsteps.

Like Disney, MGM and Warner Brothers staged musicals based on the smash-hit movies they produced, Korean moviecals are mostly created by companies who hold the copyrights of scripts and titles. This allows companies to invest more in castings or employing famous composers as they don't need to fork out extra cash to create storylines and characters.

The first moviecal to hit the stage this year is "Singles", featuring Son Ho-young, a former member of the boy band g.o.d. The musical vividly describes the younger generation's thoughts on love and marriage. In the musical, which runs through Feb. 24 at the Hoam Art Hall in Seoul, Son plays the role of Park Soo-heon, a not-so-sophisticated but warm-hearted 30-something man working in the finance industry.

Next week, "Radio Star" will be staged at the Towol Theater of the Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul.

Like the film directed by Lee Joon-ik, the musical version depicts the dramatic friendship between a popular rock singer in the mid-1980s -- who descended into notoriety after getting involved in a couple of crimes -- and his long-time manager who tries to find ways of restoring his reputation.

The musical version of the film "200 Pounds Beauty", which starred Kim Ah-joong and Joo Jin-mo, is scheduled to hit the stage in November, while several other romance movies including as "My Scary Girl" and "Miss Gold Digger" are also being adapted.

In July, the musical "My Love, My Bride" hits the stage at the PMC Ja-u Theater in Daehangno while "The Harmonium in My Memory" turns into a musical piece at the Hoam Art Hall.

The upgraded version of the musical "Dae Jang Geum" -- a remake of a drama series about a royal chef-turned-physician -- will be staged at Gyeonghui Palace outdoor theater in September.

Korean adaptations of foreign movie-based musicals are also scheduled to go on stage this year.

On Jan. 22, "Nine" will begin a seven-week run at the LG Arts Center in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul. Based on an Italian play by Mario Fratti, which was inspired by Federico Fellini's autobiographical film "8 1/2", the musical tells the story of a 40-year-old man entangled in a web of romantic difficulties in early-1960s Venice. Versatile actor Hwang Jung-min takes the role of Guido Contini, a film director facing a midlife crisis.

The off-Broadway musical "Evil Dead" will also be staged in Korean in March, featuring musical star Ryu Jung-han, while the Korean rendition of "Spitfire Grill" hits the stage in April.

By Cho Chung-un

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