Awards ceremony honors musicalsA total of 150 musicals will be produced and performed in Seoul in 2007.
The Korean film industry, which is having a Rennaisance, produced 100 films last year. Since 2000, the market has grown 15 to 20 percent every year. “Considering that there are few theaters dedicated for musicals, the growth is unprecedented,” said Ko Jung-min, the senior researcher of Samsung Economic Research Institute.
The Musical Awards in Korea could support theis “Big Bang of the Musical” as the Tony Awards in America and the Laurence Olivier Awards in Britain support Broadway and the West End.
Held under the joint auspices of JMnet, the parent company of the JoongAng Ilbo, and the Korean Musical Association, the awards are co-sponsored by Samsung Electronics, Shinhan Finance Group, Kookmin Bank, Hyundai Mobis, SK Telecom and KTF.
For fairness in evaluation, there will plenty of judges: 40 for preliminaries, 10 for the final.
The award ceremony will take place at the Universal Art Center, Gwangjin district, Seoul, on May 14 and will be aired on SBS television.
Yun Ho-jin, 59, the chairman of the Korean Musical Association, is also the co-chairman of the executive board of The Musical Awards.
“The awards will focus on both fairness and popularity,” he said. “It will be a festivity that fans as well as musical actors, staff and producers can enjoy together,” he added.
Q.Why the Musical Awards?
A.Korea’s musical market has been growing rapidly since the performance of “The Phantom of Opera.” It’s an unprecedented case that musicals came into the spotlight in this digital age.
Foreign musical industry officials predict that Korea will be the third biggest musical market behind the United States and Britain. However, compared with the size of the market, there is not yet proper evaluation of the work and a standard for evaluation. In order to develop an art genre, the four factors of creation, production, critique and learning, should be balanced. The Musical Awards could be the rudder of the Korean musicals.
We already have another award ceremony.
It’s the 13th year for Korea Musical Awards this year. It has contributed to the development of Korean musicals.
On the other hand, the Musical Awards are concerned with popularity and marketability as well as creativity. Therefore, the musical that has the most popular appeal will be awarded.
We already have several film awards: the Daejong Awards, Blue Dragon Film Awards, Korea Film Awards and the Baeksang Arts Awards. Competition is essential for progress.
What about the commercialization of the awards?
The musical is a popular art form. The audience buys cultural products and is wise, and knows what it wants. An outstanding work of art should be able to satisfy both the public and industry professionals. In addition, we don’t vest all authority in the general public. The votes of the 200 spectator judges will be weighed 30 percent for the final evaluation, and the rest will be charged by musical industry specialists. The Musical Awards will satisfy both popularity and professionalism.
Musicals are often presented again after modification and improvement. Will this characteristic be considered?
There is the Repeat Performance Award, and the actors and the producers in the reopened musicals will have chances to be awarded. For this award, the criteria will be the degree of progress they made.
The awards are held under the joint auspices of JMnet and the Korean Musical Association, whose members include many musical producers. Won’t that damage the fairness of the awards?
The executive committee is responsible for the overall situation. Still, the committee cannot interfere with evaluation.
For fairness, we selected 40 judges for preliminary evaluation and 10 judges for the final one. I’m sure that the check and balance system will uphold the fairness and integriy of the awards.
By Choi Min-woo JoongAng Ilbo [email@example.com]