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‘Unchained Melody’ revisited on stage with stunning magic tricks

‘Unchained Melody’ revisited on stage with stunning magic tricks

Park Ji-yeon and Choi Jung-won shine in Asian premiere run of ‘Ghost the Musical’

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Published : 2013-12-23 19:22
Updated : 2013-12-23 19:22

A scene from the musical “Ghost.” (Seensee Company)

The highly anticipated musical of the year was finally unveiled to the public last month, starring some of the most celebrated musical stars in the country, including Joo Won and Ivy.

Titled “Ghost the Musical,” the show is an adaptation of the mega-hit romantic fantasy-thriller film “Ghost,” starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. The musical had its world premiere in Manchester, England, in 2011, and was also performed on Broadway in 2012. The current Korean production is the Asian premiere run of the show.

The 1990 movie, a tale of Molly, a grieving young woman in danger (Moore), and the ghost of her murdered boyfriend Sam (Swayze), who tries to save her with the help of a wacky psychic, was also hugely popular in Korea.

Many local viewers must have been excited the most to hear the famous song “Unchained Melody” live on stage in the Korean language, but the show offered much more than that. “Ghost the Musical” managed to impress the audience with fantastic magic tricks and illusions ― expect to see Sam’s ghost walking through doors before your eyes ― and a number of hilarious moments ― the wacky psychic will make you laugh no matter what ― while being a heartfelt tearjerker overall.

Sunday’s show starred actor Kim Woo-hyung as Sam, and up-and-coming Park Ji-yeon as Molly. Park, who turned 25 this year, won her first role ― Sophie in “Mamma Mia!” ― through an audition with a blank resume four years ago. Molly is Park’s third musical role after Sophie and Eponine in this year’s Seoul run of Cameron Mackintosh’s “Les Miserables.”

Park was convincing as the grieving and skeptical Molly, who eventually believes Oda Mae Brown ― the psychic who is approached by the ghost of Sam and ends up helping him communicate with his lover. Park also showed great chemistry with actor Kim Woo-hyung, especially in scenes when Sam tries to convince Molly of his presence so she can escape danger, when in fact Molly cannot see nor hear him.

Veteran actress Choi Jung-won’s Oda Mae Brown was certainly a scene-stealer, adding much comedy to the show. Choi is hilarious and fun as Oda Mae, and her presence is simply exceptional on stage.

The show also owes much credit to Paul Kieve, a British professional illusionist whose works include the Harry Potter films, to create the necessary special effects on stage. The stage design is also visually stimulating, almost cinematic and highly immersive.

“Ghost the Musical,” currently on show, runs until June of next year at D-Cube Arts Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call (02) 557-1987.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)

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