[Herald Review] ‘Cinderella’ musical enchanting, comical

By 줄리 잭슨 (Julie Jackson)
  • Published : Sept 29, 2015 - 16:20
  • Updated : Sept 29, 2015 - 16:20

Yang Yo-seob of the boy band Beast plays Prince Christopher in the ongoing musical production of “Cinderella.” (Showholic)

One of the world’s most recognized and enchanting fairy tales, “Cinderella” has now taken center stage as one of Korea’s newest musical productions.

With music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, the Broadway hit musical has made its way to Seoul for the first time. Hammerstein’s original Broadway show made a grand debut on the musical scene in 2013, receiving nine Tony nominations, including a win for Best Costumes.

In hopes of continuing its success story, the Korean version of the musical opens its curtains earlier this month. The production stars Seo hyun-jin, An Si-ha and pop singers Youn-ha and Baek A-yeon in the leading role of Cinderella. While prince charming is played by K-pop idols Yang Yo-seop of Beast, Sandeul of B1A4 and VIXX’s Ken, along with musical actor Um Ki-joon.

As everyone would expect, the musical version of the timeless classic is as full of magical fun and charm as the original story, with much welcomed flashes of perfectly timed comedy. However, despite keeping true to most of the tale and its characters, this Cinderella story has been given a bit of a contemporary twist.  
A scene from the production of the musical “Cinderella.” (Showholic)

As opposed to dashing off and accidentally losing her glass slipper, Cinderella purposely leaves her shoe in a desperate bid to meet her prince charming once again. And although there’s an obvious sense of elevated maturity, this being a live theater performance, there were a few moments where the show was quite Disney-like in spirit -- no doubt a pleasant treat for the youngsters in the audience.

With Yang taking to the spotlight as the village’s most eligible and handsome bachelor Prince Christopher, his mere presence was enough to send the hordes of K-pop fan girls that filled the theater swooning. Undeniably a talented and melodic singer, Yang’s performance however lacked an air of strength and masculinity that would have lent credibility to the attempt at a more mature reprising of the fairy tale.

The naturally hushed tones of the 25-year-old’s singing voice coupled with his baby face made the character come across like more of a teen prince than a young man, adding to the slightly adolescent tone of his performance.

On the other hand, actress Seo Hyun-jin as Cinderella -- with her glow of light-hearted innocence and impressive singing chops -- was a breath of fresh air. It’s no wonder her Prince Charming went to great lengths not to let their love slip away.

The musical “Cinderella” is being held daily at the Chungmu Art Hall’s Grand Theater in Seoul until Nov. 8. Ticket prices range from 50,000 won ($42) to 140,000 won. For more information, visit www.musicalcinderella.co.kr.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)