Palace jewel retooled for new performances and global ambitions

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Palace jewel retooled for new performances and global ambitions

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The three main characters of the newly improved musical “Daejanggeum.” Provided by PMC Productions

“Daejanggeum” or “Jewel in the Palace,” a hit television drama about a royal chef that was turned into a musical, is returning to the stage on Saturday at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, with some improvements.
Song Seung-whan, the co-president of PMC Productions, said the basic structure of their musical is almost the same as when it was first staged a few months ago.
However, Song said that the musical has been through changes to make it more entertaining.
“We have focused a bit more on the relationships between the different characters,” Song said. “In the previous show the events were the most important element.”
To achieve these improvements some of the scenes in the show have been rearranged.
Previously the musical was criticized on grounds that the producers had tried too hard to condense 54 one-hour episodes into just two hours and 40 minutes.
Song says this perception was based on a misunderstanding.
“We can’t put 54 episodes into a two-hour-long musical,” Song said. “We just used the same beginning and ending to give the audience a better understanding of how Janggeum [the lead character] was accepted at the palace. The same beginning and end were the main source of the misunderstanding.”
Song said they have put more emphasis on making the music sound grander. The biggest change is the addition of “Onara,” which was the hit song from the TV show.
PMC Production has lowered its VIP ticket price for this new version of Daejanggeum from 150,000 won to 120,000 won. “We chose the original prices because the French musical “Romeo and Juliet,” had theirs set at 200,000 won,” Song said. “We thought it would be an affordable price at the time.”
He added that foreign promoters are interested and that a Beijing performance of show is already booked.
“With the help of the performance at Sejong we are hoping to take the show to other Asian countries such as China, Singapore and Japan,” Song said.
Lee Kwang-ho, co president of PMC, said the company is working to improve the musical so it will be loved by Korean audiences for a long time like “Nanta,” which was PMC’s first musical production and is still running today.
Daejanggeum will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays. On Wednesdays there will be an extra show at 2:00 p.m. On Saturdays shows are at 3:00 and a 7: 30 p.m. and on Sundays and holidays the shows are at 2:00 and 6:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from 40,000 won ($44) to 120,000 won.
For more information call (02) 738-8289 or visit the Web site http.dae-janggum.com


By Lee Ho-jeong Staff Writer [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]
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