'Hard Rock Cafe' opens doors again

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'Hard Rock Cafe' opens doors again

What do "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Star Wars" and "Jurassic Park" have in common? All were megahit films that spawned several sequels.

Many Korean films have also produced sequels. "Two Cops" gave birth to "Two Cops 2" and "Two Cops 3," and more creatively, "Whispering Corridors" was followed by "Memento Mori." Even Korea's erotic movies have had sequels - "Madame Aema" ("Aema Buin" in Korean) churned out eight hot-and-heavy successors.

But a sequel to a musical? That is something new to Korea. "Hard Rock Cafe," which premiered in 1998 at the Dongsung Hall in Seoul, will be the first Korean musical to have a sequel. Between Dec. 21 and 25, the Seoul Musical Company will stage "Hard Rock Cafe 2" at Jangchung Gymnasium.

The sequel opens at the same cafe, the Hard Rock, now run by Jeong-min, son of the former owner Lee Gang-ju. Jeong-min, just like his father was in the original, is a rock musician. Jeong-min, who has been running the cafe since his father died, is facing some tough financial times and risks losing the cafe. With the help of his friends, including his girlfriend Eun-hee and a dancer, Mi-yeon, he plans a rock concert to raise some revenue.

Jeong-min, however, finds he is not able to compose any new songs for the concert. Depressed, he abandons his music, the cafe and friends, and disappears. After reconciling with Eun-hee at a secluded beach, Jeong-min returns to the cafe and gives his best concert ever.

"Hard Rock Cafe 2" stars Heo Jun-ho as Jeong-min, Im Seon-ae as Eun-hee, and Baek Ji-young as Mi-yeon.

Of the players, Im Seon-ae is the one drawing the most attention. Ever since her debut in 1996 as Peggy in the musical "42nd Street," she has established herself as a star musical performer. She also appeared in the original "Hard Rock Cafe" and won a best supporting actress award at the Korea Musical Awards. "I will show more maturity as an actress," Ms. Im resolved for the sequel.

Heo Jun-ho, a television star, has been in musicals such as "Chicago" and "Life." Mr. Heo's father is also a well-known actor, Heo Jang-gang, interestingly paralleling the storyline of "Hard Rock 2."

Another big name in the show is the pop star Baek Ji-young, who will play a passionate dancer.

Decorated with popular stars and musical actors, the sequel expects to fill the 5,000-seat gymnasium with young audiences during the Christmas season.

There will also be many special events to promote the performances. For instance, if it snows more than 20 millimeters in one day, the audience that day will be reimbursed for tickets, providing a viewer bought his tickets before Dec. 14. In addition, the seats will be arranged to create an atmosphere of a rock cafe, and the audience can drink coffee, water or beer depending on what kind of seat a person buys. There will even be gifts to be won, such as an MP3 player.

The musical company's president, Kim Yong-hyun, said, "We may be criticized for spending so much on such events but our aim is to enlarge the market for musicals."

For more information, visit the Web site at www.hardrockcafe2.co.kr or call 02-562-8854.

by Jung Jae-wal

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