Musical shadows organizers’ own paralysisKang Won-rae, a member of the dancing duo Clone, said that back in 2001 when he was lying in a hospital bed after being injured in a traffic accident, many celebrities and television personalities visited his room. However, those visitors weren’t for him.
“They came to my room to visit my roommate, KBS producer Kim Young-jin,” Kang said. Kim had also been injured in a traffic accident, which had occurred in the United States. The men have another thing in common ― since their accidents, both have been paralyzed from the waist down.
Kim and Kang have again reunited recently to organize a musical, titled “With Love.”
The storyline is about a musical actor who, like them both, is paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident. Despite the physical challenges, the musical tells of the actor’s successful return to the stage.
Kim is directing the musical while Kang is in charge of the choreography.
It was Kim who suggested that Kang do the choreography, saying, “Who else in Korea can dance in a wheelchair?” Kang said. The dancer said lately he has been spending a lot of time teaching fully-able actors how to dance in a wheelchair.
Kang and his dance partner Koo Joon-yeop appeared on national television in July last year performing their first wheelchair dance while singing a song dedicated to Kang’s wife, who stayed beside him through the difficult time in his life.
Kim is a KBS producer who specializes in Korean television dramas on social issues or significant historical events. “Yamang-ui Jeonseol,” which literally translates as “The Legend of Ambition,” was directed by him. The show, which aired seven years ago, followed the lives of two brothers who took different paths during a controversial time in Korea’s history, including the military coup of May 15, 1961.
The producer said he wanted to take the opportunity of directing the musical to expand the diversity of subjects he deals with.
Speaking of Kang, Kim said, “It would have been much easier for him to return to the music scene with ballads rather than dance music.”
The dancer in return said he is just happy that someone trusted him enough to assign such a project to him.
The cast of the musical will start practicing in February and the show will open as early as April.
The idea came from Kwon Hee-deuk, a close friend of Kim’s for more than a decade, who also voiced the previews of Kim’s television show.
“After Kim returned to the company after his accident, I heard there weren’t any projects being brought to him so, knowing he is a good director, I came up with the idea of doing a musical,” Kwon said.
The script for the musical was written by Jeong Ha-yeon, who was scriptwriter for the hit television shows “Myeongseonghwanghu” and “Shindon.”
by Hong Soo-hyun
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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