Popular TV and film actor Kim Seung-woo and top musical actor Oh Man-suk have been cast to play Curtis in the upcoming Korea-U.S. joint musical "Dreamgirls."
The announcement, made last week, came as a surprise as this will be Kim`s musical debut.
Shin Chun-su, head of OD Musical Company, which is co-producing the show with Broadway, said they made the proposal to Kim after judging him fit for the character of Curtis, a cold-blooded producer who would do anything to satisfy his ambition. In the 2006 movie version, Curtis was played by Jamie Fox.
The latest venture by OD Musical, a leading local musical production company, has received a lot of hype for deviating from the usual process of bringing a Broadway show to the country - by licensing.
By co-producing, the Korean company said it is able to have more say in the overall production and also rake in more royalties once the show starts touring overseas. The show will open in Korea at Charlotte Theater in southern Seoul next March before moving to Boston to start its U.S. tour.
The show, according to OD, will combine up-to-date technology and revised scripts, while adding popular tunes from the movie, including "Listen."
The musical "Dreamgirls" premiered in Broadway in 1981, though it is better known to the Korean public as the 2006 movie starring pop stars Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Hudson, loved by many for its catchy tunes and touching story.
In the Seoul show, the main characters Deena will be played by musical actress Jung Sun-ah, who has proven her talent in hit shows including "Nine" and "Xanadu," while Effie will be doubled by musical actresses Hong Ji-min and Cha Ji-yeon.
Jung said although she is a big fan of Knowles and loved her performance in the movie, she will present a completely different Deena in the show.
"Dreamgirls" will be staged at Charlotte Theater in Jamsil-dong, Seoul. For details, call (02) 556-8556 or go to www.musicaldreamgirls.co.kr
Meanwhile, musical fans will also be able to see the Korean production of hit British musical "Billy Elliot" in 2010.
"After watching both the movie, and the musical adaptation at the West End, I felt that I must bring the show to Korea," said Moon Mi-ho, the head of Magistella Inc., the show`s production company, in a recent press conference in Seoul.
"I thought there was no foreign show other than this one that suits the Koreans` sentiment better."
After months of request, Moon said she was able to get permission from the producers of the original show, "Working Title," to stage the licensed production in Korea for the first time in Asia.
Finding the right Billy and his friend Michael will be the biggest challenge for Magistella. Moon said she is looking for boys with potential and the passion to undergo the entire training process, rather than those who have a background in dancing or acting.
Any boy age 9 to 12 who is less than 150 centimeters tall is eligible for the role. Actors who pass the first audition will start receiving vocal, dance and acting lessons. English and private tutoring will also be provided for the actors who made it to the final 10 through the second audition by Magistella to keep them up with school.
Applications can be submitted until Jan. 22. For more information, call (02) 3446-9630 or visit www.musicalbillyelliot.co.kr
By Koh Young-aah