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Korean Musicals Likely to Ride on Korean Wave

2006/02/03 | 215 views | Permalink | Source

Since early this year, Korean musicals have been planned to be staged in Japan.

The musical "Winter Sonata" will be staged in Japan this month. The musical "Jekyll & Hyde", which is being staged at the Opera House of the Seoul Arts Center until Feb. 4, will also make its debut in Japan as soon as its current production comes to an end.

Attention is now on whether the hallyu boom, which began in the pop culture genres of TV dramas, films and pop songs, will advance into stage art.

A preview performance of the musical "Winter Sonata" was staged at the Sapporo Education & Culture Center in Japan, Jan. 7-13, and a full-scale performance will be given on Feb. 6-9 during the Sapporo Snow Festival. The musical was originally produced with Japanese fans in mind, given that it is based on the TV drama "Winter Sonata", the indisputed originator of the hallyu boom in Japan. Therefore, the musical premiered in Japan, not in Korea, and its production was managed by Yun Seok-ho, the director of the original TV drama "Winter Sonata".

Performing in the musical will be popera singer Im Tae-kyung, Koh Young-bin, who is working at the Japanese theater company "Siki", Park Hong-joo, Suh Jung-hyun, Chung Sun-ah, Lee Pil-seung, Chin Bok-ja, Yim Sun-ae, and Jeannie. Following its upcoming premiere, the musical will tour Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, and Seoul next year. It remains to be seen whether "Winter Sonata" can make its presence felt as a long-running musical on the back of the original TV drama's popularity.

The musical "Jekyll & Hyde" has won resounding popularity in Korea thanks to stellar performances by the two double-cast starring actors Cho Seung-woo and Ryu Jung-han. As such, many people are paying attention to whether it can be successful in Japan as well. Performances are scheduled to be held at the Tokyo Yuport Theater, Mar. 13-19 and at the NHK Osaka Hall, Mar. 22-24.

"Jekyll & Hyde" has pushed its lead actor Jo to prominence as a popular musical star. Its previous performances in the 2004-2005 season made headlines, as tickets for the performances starring Jo were sold out and were even traded on an online auction site. A reservation rate of over 90 percent is being recorded for its current run of performances that are being given at the Seoul Arts Center.

The actors and actresses who are performing in the current production at the Seoul Arts Center, including Jo, Ryu, Lee Hye-kyung and Kim Sun-young, will also perform in Japan.

An official from the production agency OD Musical Company said, "As the film "Marathon" starring Cho Seung-woo has already been screened in Japan, Japanese news media are showing interest in the upcoming musical performances. Some avid domestic fans will go to the length of traveling to Japan to see the performances".

In addition to these two musicals, preparations are being made to stage the musicals "Winter Wayfarer" and "Hedwig" in Japan as well. As such, Korean musicals are expected to more briskly advance into the Japanese market on the back of domestic musicals' rapid growth.

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