Diversity highlights musical festival

By Korea Herald

This year’s lineup for Daegu International Musical Festival reflects Koreans’ diverse tastes

  • Published : Jun 25, 2014 - 20:41
  • Updated : Jun 25, 2014 - 20:41
This year’s Daegu International Musical Festival is bringing shows from countries like Slovakia, Russia and China, reflecting the Korean audience’s growing taste for diversity.

Opening this coming Saturday for a 17-day run, the festival will feature a total of 17 musicals, including four foreign works and two multinational (including Korea) ones.

Four original Korean shows will get their premieres during the fair, which includes “Wedding Shoes,” a musical about comfort women, Korean women who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II. 
Slovakian singer Sisa Sklovska plays Mata Hari in “Mata Hari.”

“There are good shows being produced off Broadway and the West End. I thought it is our role to introduce them to the Korean audience,” the festival’s programmer Lee Yu-ri said in a press conference last month.

“The DIMF also serves as a breeding ground for Korea’s original musicals,” she added.

Kicking off the fair on June 28 are two large-scale shows with impressive records back in their respective countries of production: “Mata Hari” from Slovakia and “Mama, Love Me Once Again” from China.

The Slovakian musical follows the dramatic life of Mata Hari, an exotic dancer and courtesan whose name has come to stand for a seductive female spy. Starring the country’s top singer Sisa Sklovska as the heroine, the show was a sold-out hit throughout its entire one-year run.

“Mama, Love Me Once Again” is one of the most successful Chinese musicals, having been performed over 80 times in almost 30 Chinese cities. 

Produced by Li Dun, one of the country’s most renowned producers, it tells the story of a devoted, single mother and her unfilial son, who pass from estrangement to reconciliation.

Also showing is “Lost Garden,” an ambitious five-year production by a five-nation creative team led by Korean producer Soh June-young.

Adapted from the short story “The Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde, the musical tells the tale of the Selfish Giant who returns from a journey only to find a group of mischievous children playing in his beautiful garden.

The giant, played by K-pop singer Kim Tae-woo, shuts them out. Little does he know that the act sets in motion a series of events that will change his life and teach him lessons about love, friendship and happiness. It premiered in Shanghai last year. 
A scene from “Monte Cristo.” (Daegu International Musical Festival)

A joint Korean-Chinese team is presenting “Hair Master,” a delightful musical about a young couple trying to make a name for themselves in the world of hair design.

The festival is to close with “Monte Cristo,” a smash hit in Russia.

A musical adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ masterpiece “The Count of Monte Cristo,” it is the longest running and most successful musical in Moscow and is one of the most anticipated shows of the upcoming festival.

For more information about the festival, visit

By Lee Sun-young (