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Marriage of Movies, Musicals in 2008

2008/01/14 Source

By Chung Ah-young
Staff Reporter

Koreans are using the word "movical" more and more these days. It is an apparent keyword to define a trend in the local musical industry.

"Movical", a combination of "movie" and "musical", refers to interaction between the two industries. It started with a local film, "Waikiki Brothers", (2001) directed by Yim Soon-rye, which was adapted for the musical stage in 2004.

For this year alone, about seven or eight musicals based on films are expected to be put on stage.

"Singles", the musical based on the namesake local film, which premiered last year, will launch its second season, starring singer-turned-actor Son Ho-young, former member of all-men pop group G.O.D. starting from Jan. 15 to Feb. 24 at Hoam Art Hall.

"Radio Star", based on the film featuring Park Joong-hoon and Ahn Sung-ki, will now be made into the musical, starring comedian-turned-actor Jung Sung-hwa who stole the limelight in last year's excellent performance of "Man of La Mancha". Seo Bum-suk will alternate performing the role with Jung. "Radio Star" will take to the stage at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul from Jan. 26 to March 2.

"200 Pounds Beauty", a film starring Kim Ah-joong that had attracted 6.6 million theatergoers, will be re-created into a musical at Chungmu Arts Hall in November. The original work featured Kim who played the double role ― a chubby girl and a beautiful lady with a slim body. It is interesting to see how the musical version will portray the different characters performed by the same actress in the movie.

"The Harmonium in My Memory", featuring award-winning actress Jeon Do-yeon and hallyu star Lee Byung-hun, will be adapted into the musical show, starring Oh Man-seok. Oh will alternate playing the leading role with Jo Jung-suk. The musical will be put on stage at Hoam Arts Hall from July 22 to Sept. 11.

Also, there is the Korean production of "Nine". The original musical is based on a play by Mario Fratti inspired by Federico Fellini's autobiographical film "8 1/2". The original musical premiered in 1982 on Broadway and was nominated in 10 categories of Tony Awards and won five of them, including the Best Revival award.

In the Korean production of the musical, popular actor Hwang Jung-min will play the lead male role and award-winning actress Kim Sun-young will play the part of Luisa, Guido Contini's wife. Kang Pil-suk will alternate playing the role of Guido with Hwang. The musical will be staged at LG Arts Center in southern Seoul Jan. 22, running through March 2.

Also, the film, "My Scary Girl" directed by Son Jae-gon will become a musical in November. The musical will take part in the New York Musical Theater Festival and then will debut in the local musical scene.

The combination of movie and musicals have proved a success formula in the Broadway and West End musicals such as "Producers", "Billy Elliot" and "Lord of the Rings" from 1990s.

This boom cashes on the success of the proven contents of the hit films. Yet these musicals are often vulnerable as the audience can easily compare the two productions.

Won Jong-won, a musical critic, said that through the use of the name values of the hit films the lack of the awareness about homegrown musicals is being altered by the movical boom.

"But the movical boom is expected to continue because the use of one content for diverse purposes is a growing trend", said Won.

Cho Haeng-deok, head of the Aga Entertainment & Contents Group, said that the success of the musical "Singles" lies in its distinctive reinterpretation of the original work.

"The audience might feel bored if the musical simply follows the same storyline of the film. So the musical used many musical numbers and more sophisticated stage sets to better entertain the audience", Cho said.

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