The Korea Herald


Daegu’s iconic musical festival kicks off ‘9 to 5’

By Park Ga-young

Published : May 21, 2023 - 13:35

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Musical Musical "9 to 5" is based on the 1980 film of the same title. (DIMF)

DAEGU -- The Daegu International Musical Festival kicked off Friday, with the Korean premiere of “9 to 5,” a West End musical based on the 1980 film of the same name, at Daegu Opera House.

Ahead of the performance, Bae Sung-hyuck, executive director of the DIMF, on Friday told reporters he was delighted to host the Korean premiere of “9 to 5."

“Dolly Parton was phenomenal for our generation and so was the music and film '9 to 5,'” Bae said. "So it is with a great pleasure to bring the musical to Daegu."

"9 to 5" starts and ends with the title song made famous by Dolly Parton, with a video appearance of the singer herself. Like the film, the musical follows the story of three working women who unite against their chauvinistic boss.

The stage version, which premiered in Los Angeles in September 2008 before opening on Broadway in April 2009 and moving on to London's West End three years later, is about friendship, joy, good times and sticking together, Richard Darbourne, senior producer of Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, said.

“Those messages remain important today as well.”

Including “9 to 5,” a total of 19 musicals from six countries will be performed at this year's festival.

Others include “Roza Baglanova,” a Kazakh musical, and “Effi Briest” from Germany. “Babel-O,” a satirical comedy from France, will present a mixture of parable, fairy-tale and pansori. South Korea presents “Secret Garden,” "Mary Anning” and “After Life.”

This year’s iteration will introduce four new original musicals -- “Battle of the Prince,” “The Coroner’s Diary,” “Town of Haebang,” and "The Tempest,” all created through the 17th DIMF Original Musical Creation Support Project.

The festival provides stages for aspiring students hoping to a musical stars with DIMF College Musical Festival. A total of eight college productions including one from Thailand are scheduled to be presented from May 20 to June 1.

To help foster talents for the musical industry, the DIMF Musical Academy in its 9th edition have selected 24 trainers for the creator course and another 24 for the acting course for a 9-month training program that will help participants pursue careers as playwrights, composers or actors.

The DIMF Awards will be presented at the finale of the festival on June 5.

In addition to the Daegu Opera House, festival venuse include Kolon Outdoors Music Hall, Seoul Art Center, Sueseong Artpia, Daeduk Cultural Center, Culture and Arts Theater CT, Seogu Cultural Center, Ayang Art Center, and Dalseo Art Center.

Choi Jae-rim, a leading musical actor, is this year’s festival ambassador along with content creators like Wonjoengman, Joen Changha, Sia Jiwoo and Elina Karimova.

The festival has arrived more than a month earlier than usual as the municipal city tries to introduce a joint brand for the city's festivals under "Fantasia Daegu Festa," which combines the DIMF with other 10 other events including the 42nd Daegu International Music Festival, Daegu Gukak Festival.

Hosted by the city of Daegu, the annual event was established in 2006 to promote the city as a musical hub of Asia.