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Daegu musical straight from ‘Madhouse’

Daegu is set to see some crazed singing this weekend, as two expat theater groups present their original production “Madhouse: The Musical.”

The plot of the musical, written by the cast and Daegu expat Joshua Vise, centers on the testing of a new drug, Sopranozol, by Dr. Moss.

Sopranozol lowers patients’ inhibitions and increases cognitive awareness. There’s just one notable side effect: It makes them sing.

“Dr. Moss and her assistant, Dr. Dreyfuss, are supposed to be observing and recording the effects of Sopranozol, but as the patients become less cooperative and their behavior threatens to ruin what Moss believes to be the defining moment of her career, she becomes more controlling and begins to lose her mind,” said director Jamie Kistler.

The cast of “Madhouse: The Musical” (Laura Rhoades)
The cast of “Madhouse: The Musical” (Laura Rhoades)

He said that the highlight was the show’s irreverent ― and sometimes offensive ― humor.

“We have a hilarious cast, and they have created some incredibly vivid and original characters,” he said.

The music in the show will consist of parodies of familiar pop songs and musical numbers, with the words humorously twisted to fit the plot.

Kistler said that a musical was something expats in Daegu had wanted to do for a long time, but were unable to make happen.

“It is, of course, very ambitious to produce a musical with most us working either hagwon or public school jobs, but that wasn’t what was preventing us. The real problem was that we could not get the publishers to give us the rights to perform any of the musicals that we wanted,” he said, although he pointed out that Opera Spoonful had performed “Pirates of Penzance” in public.

The producers came up with creating their own “jukebox musical” ― which uses already existing songs ― as a way of getting around the red tape.

“Someone pitched the idea of everything taking place in a ‘nuthouse,’ and our enthusiasm snowballed,” Kistler said.

The production is a collaboration between Daegu Theatre Troupe and Opera Spoonful, which was formed by DTT members who wanted to put on more musical performances.

“With new people at the helm of DTT and such a massive project like ‘Madhouse’ in the works, it seemed only right to try to bring the two groups back together. I like to think of us as a supertroupe now,” Kistler said.

The director said he thought people would be impressed by the standard of production that they had achieved.

“I honestly hope it inspires more people to get involved with us, or another group, and to devote more time to creative pursuits,” he said.

“This show is crazy, but at its core, it is a story of acceptance and friendship. It is no coincidence that these are the core values of the Daegu Theatre Troupe and Opera Spoonful.”

The show will run Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Hanwoolim Theatre near Namsan Station on Daegu’s Subway Line No. 3.

Tickets are 10,000 won, available at the door or by contacting

By Paul Kerry (