Seoul City places all bets on W1.8b original musical

  • Published : Jul 5, 2010 - 16:43
  • Updated : Jul 5, 2010 - 16:43

Taking a cue from what filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s musicals have done for China’s tourism industry, Seoul city announced Friday the production of an original, large scale musical set in Pimatgol -- a 600-year-old stretch of walkway in downtown Seoul famous for rustic, street-side eateries and bars.

Set against a backdrop of an ill-fated love story during the Joseon period, the Seoul metropolitan government has reportedly foot the 1.8 billion won budget in the hopes that the Bae Sam-sik-penned production will attract local and foreign visitors just as Zhang’s “Impressions” series did for Guilin in China.

“The motivation to create a musical that would best reflect and symbolize Seoul’s history and cultural identity was how the production of ‘Pimatgol Sonata’ came about,” said Eom Yeon-sook, Seoul city’s director of culture and performing arts, during the press conference. “We’re confident this musical will be successful in getting renewed interest in the history of the area,” she said.

Writer Bae Sam-sik added “it was a shame that Pimatgol in its original form has been demolished.”

“I wrote the script thinking that even though its physical presence no longer exists, I want the story to have a lingering, longing effect.”
The main cast of the forthcoming original musical “Pimatgol Sonata” poses after a press conference in Seoul on Friday. Musical actors Park Eun-tae (left) and Cho Jung-eun flank veteran television and stage actress Yang Hee-kyung. Yonhap News

Set to begin its limited run from Sept. 4 - 14, local musical stalwarts Cho Jung-eun and Park Eun-tae portray the two star-crossed lovers alongside veteran television and theater actress Yang Hee-kyung.

The story jumps back and forth between the present and the past as the storied alley faces redevelopment, threatening to erase many untold stories of the past -- one of which is the central love story of the musical.

The story follows the torrid love affair between an illegitimately born commoner and the daughter of an upper class family during the strict, hierarchical Joseon period.

Their love transcends time and space with the help of a mysterious, shaman-like woman portrayed by Yang.

For the veteran television actress, her part in the production marks her return to the stage after a six-year hiatus.

“This is a project that I personally hold dear in my heart and a production I am honored to be a part of,” Yang said.

“We all hope this musical will help boost Seoul’s presence and attract more visitors.”

Yu Hui-sung, who helmed local stage versions of “Mozart” and “Wizard of Oz,” directs the forthcoming musical which will go on limited runs annually until 2012.

In order to attract interest from foreign visitors, English subtitles will be provided throughout the performance.

Tickets costs between 20,000 won to 50,000 won.

For more information on the production, call (02) 399-1114~6.

By Song Woong-ki  (kws@heraldcorp.com)