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Big-name musicals to shake off the summer heat

Local scene gets busy, with major shows to hit Seoul

The long, hot and humid summer may not be favored by everyone in Seoul, but some are excited by the seasons’ arrival.

Local musical fans would certainly be among them.

Three of the most anticipated shows of the year are finally going onstage in Seoul this summer ― all for their first runs ― to the delight of the musical goers here.

This Thursday will mark the opening of the popular Broadway musical “Wicked.” The show, which is based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel “Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” a parallel novel of the classic “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” is being staged in Seoul by an Australian production company. 
From left: Official posters of upcoming musicals, “Wicked,” “Bungee Jump” and “La Cage aux Folles” (Seol & Company, Musical Heaven, Aga Company)
From left: Official posters of upcoming musicals, “Wicked,” “Bungee Jump” and “La Cage aux Folles” (Seol & Company, Musical Heaven, Aga Company)

Following “Wicked” is “Bungee-Jump,” a musical adaptation of filmmaker Kim Dai-seung’s 2001 unusual romance “Bungee Jumping on Their Own.” The 2001 film featured the late actress Lee Eun-joo and hallyu heartthrob Lee Byung-hun, and deftly linked the theme of magic and curse of first love, reincarnation and even homosexuality.

Competing against “Bungee Jump” in July is the Korean production of 1983 Broadway musical “La Cage aux Folles.” The show, which pivots around the life of a French gay couple, is creating hype as it features top musical actors Jung Sung-hwa and Nam Kyung-ju.


“Wicked,” one of the most anticipated musicals of the year, begins its run in Seoul this week.

Some 30 million people have seen the show since its 2003 Broadway debut, breaking box office records around the world. It has won 35 awards, including three Tony awards, one Grammy award, and six Helpmann awards.

Telling the story of the two witches in the Land of Oz ― green-skinned Elphaba and beautiful Glinda ― “Wicked” promises to offer a ravishing spectacle and fantasy.

The upcoming show is an Australian production, with actresses Jemma Rix and Suzie Mathers taking the lead roles.

The show is also part of the Australian team’s first Asian tour, which kicked off in Singapore in December. About 23,000 tickets were sold on the first day of sales in Seoul in February.

The show opens Thursday and runs until June 30 at Blue Square’s Samsung Electronics Hall in Hannam-doing, Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 160,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363.


The opening of “Bungee-Jump” follows on the heels of several retro, first-love-themed local musicals, such as “Roly Poly” and “Gwanghwamun Younga” which enjoyed much popularity.

The upcoming musical tries to differentiate itself with its unusual narrative from the original film and by collaborating with foreign musical staff. The show, which tells the story of a man who lost his first love to a car accident back in the 1980s, is directed by Adrian Osmond, who previously orchestrated the Korean production of “Sweeney Todd.”

American Broadway composer Will Aronson is taking charge of its music. Exploring the theme of reincarnation, fate and taboo, the show promises a one-of-a-kind musical theater experience this summer.

“Bungee-Jump” opens on July 14 and runs until Sept. 2 at Blue Square’s Samsung Card Hall in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 80,000 won. For more information, call 1544 1555.

“La Cage aux Folles”

Award-winning musical star Jung Sung-hwa (“Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Hero: the Musical”) is returning as a gay man in the first Korean run of the 1983 Broadway musical “La Cage aux Folles.”

The six-time Tony Award-winning musical pivots around the story of a gay couple ― Georges, who owns a nightclub called “La Cage aux Folles,” and Albin, the star drag queen of his partner’s club.

Its plot develops as Jean-Michel, Georges’ son from a temporary affair with a woman some 20 years before, gets engaged. Things get complicated as Jean-Michel wants to bring his fiancee Anne and her extremely conservative parents to meet his father Georges and Albin.

Jung, who previously starred as a gay character in “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” is returning as the drag queen Albin, while another musical heavyweight, Nam Kyung-ju, stars as his partner Georges.

The role of Jean-Michel is being performed by K-pop band 2AM member Lee Chang-min and rising TV actor Lee Min-ho.

“La Cage aux Folles” opens July 4 and runs until Sept. 4 at LG Arts Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 130,000 won. The show is restricted to those aged 13 or older. For more information, call 1566-7527.

By Claire Lee (
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Korea Herald daum