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New Musical

Posted July. 04, 2006 03:38,   


“Dancing With the Shadows” previewed seven of its major scenes and captured the eyes and ears of the audience through its songs and dances that included the “Chorus of the Forest” with lyrics such as, “Tonight the mountain burns, another tree dies, the mountain burns tonight,” and “I need a Man,” where part of the song sang, “I need a man, a man to lie by my side, I need somebody.”

The leader of popular rock band Alan Parsons Project, famous for songs such “Eye in the Sky,” Eric Woolfson took charge of the music, which was diverse, ranging from intense tango to lyrical folk, while the dances were also played out magnificently, including tango, folk dance and sexy dancing.

The musical “Dancing With the Shadows” brought all the characters from the original piece, but significant portions of the plot were changed.

The new piece focused on being a fable dealing with the inner side of human beings rather than focusing on ideological conflicts like the original piece. Since the planning stages, the piece was created with a global audience in mind, so in order to gain as much universal consensus as possible, the background was changed from a village in the skirts of Sobaek Mountain during the Korean War to an imaginary village devastated by war in an unspecified period of time.

The highlight of the piece, which is the ending scene, is bright unlike the original ending. In the original work, Sa-wol who is pregnant with the child of the communist guerrilla Kyu-bok, commits suicide by drinking lye, but in the new version Cinda, the same character as Sa-wol, decides to give birth to the child, who represents hope, and brings the musical to an end by singing a song full of hope with the village housewives.

It Will Open on July 2007 at Seoul Arts Center—

The cast of “Dancing With the Shadows” was comprised of experienced actors and expert musical actors. Actress Kim Sung-nyo made her comeback to musicals after 12 years by playing the role of Mama Aster, the mother of Sa-wol. It is reported that all spots were filled after auditions, but only this role was reserved for Kim, who left such a great impression on Ariel Dorfman, who visited Korea and saw her performance in his play “Death and the Maiden,” that he directly recommended her for that role.

The main character Nashtala (Jum-rye from the original piece) is played by Kim Bo-kyung, who also plays the protagonist of musical “Miss Saigon.” Another role that was coveted by many actresses, the role of another main character Cinda (Sa-wol), was taken by musical star Bae Hae-sun. Musical actor Shin Sang-rok was signed up to play the role of the male protagonist Solomon (Kyu-bok).

The creation system of original musical “Dancing With the Shadows” is grabbing attention, because it took an unprecedented five years to prepare and revise the work, something very rare in Korean show business. It is also the first that a preview is held one year before the actual performance starts.

The musical will be performed for two months at the Seoul Arts Center Opera House in July of next year, and the script and music are completed but arrangement of songs is yet to be finished.

The production company, Seensee Musical Company President Park Myung-sung said, “Originally the first performance was planned to be held in early March of next year in Japan, and then perform in Korea, but we followed the wishes of senior theater actors and producers that since the original piece ‘Wild Fire’ had such a great significance in Korean theatrical history it would be right to open in Korea first. That is why it is opening first in Korea.”

Sue-Jean Kang sjkang@donga.com