One of the most infamous American love stories is arriving in Seoul in the form of a musical next month, featuring an all-Korean cast including local stars Han Ji-sang and Lisa.
Based on the famous story of Bonnie Parker (1910-1934) and Clyde Barrow (1909-1934), the well-known American robbers who traveled across the central U.S. during the Great Depression, “Bonnie & Clyde” had its Broadway premiere in 2011 and won two Tony Award nominations in 2012.
The upcoming Seoul run is the Korean premiere of the musical, starring some of the nation’s prominent musical stars.
The role of Clyde is being shared by actors Han Ji-sang (“The Scarlet Pimpernel,” “Jesus Christ Superstar”), Um Ki-joon (“Catch Me if You Can,” “Jack the Ripper”) and K-pop idol group SHINee member Key.
“I would say this musical is very American,” actor Han, who is currently enjoying much popularity for his performance as the elusive British hero in “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” said during a press meeting last week.
“A lot of the scenes have to do with guns and gunshots. The American gun culture alone will come across as something new and intrigue the local audiences, I think.”
Meanwhile, the role of Bonnie is shared by musical actresses Lisa (“Evita,” “Gwanghwamun Younga”), Ahn Yoo-jin (“Finding Mr. Destiny,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) and girl group The Grace member Dana.
“Bonnie & Clyde” is the first musical Lisa is starring in after her public breakup with fellow actor and ex-boyfriend Song Chang-ui, which was announced recently.
A promotional image for the upcoming musical “Bonnie and Clyde” (CJ E&M)
The actress is best known for her performance in jukebox musical “Gwanghwamun Younga,” in which she co-starred with Song.
“We talked a lot and ended on good terms,” the actress said when asked about how she is coping with the breakup.
Dana, on the other hand, said she and her character, an impoverished waitress bored by her job who falls in love with Clyde, a wild and young criminal, have a lot of things in common.
“Bonnie is very gutsy and honest,” she said. “I didn’t have to try too hard to understand her character. I’ve been having a lot of fun.”
The story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow ― the ill-fated lovers’ two-year crime rampage that included bank robberies and murder was brought to an end when they were shot to death by Texas and Louisiana state police officers in 1934 ― was famously made into an eponymous movie in 1967. The film also enjoyed much popularity in Korea in the 1960s. Parker was only 23 when she died, Barrow 25.
“I think a lot of people felt vicariously satisfied by Bonnie and Clyde and their activities during the Great Depression,” said actress Lisa. “They were criminals, but in some strange ways, also heroic.”
“Bonnie & Clyde” runs from Sept. 4 to Oct. 27 at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call 1588-0688.
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org