New musical tackles realm of multi-reality

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New musical tackles realm of multi-reality

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A scene from off-Broadway musical “See What I Wanna See” at Seoul Arts Center. Provided by the organizer

The truth is out there, but there are many different ways of seeing it.

Michael John LaChiusa tackles this idea in “See What I Wanna See,” an off-Broadway musical currently on at Seoul Art Center’s Jayu Theater.

“See what you want to see from the musical,” said Ahn Sam from Musical Heaven, the Korean production company.

“As the stage is open on all four sides, the musical offers different interpretations depending where you sit,” she said.

The story is inspired by Japanese writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s (1892-1927) three short stories, including “Dragon: The Old Potter’s Tale” (1919).

In this story, the witnesses to a rape and murder have differing views on what actually took place.

The cast includes Kim Sun-yung who sang in the musicals “Evita” (2006) and “Man of La Mancha” (2007).

Producer LaChiusa, 46, premiered See What I Wanna See at a small theater in New York in 2004. Off-Broadway musicals are usually smaller scale productions compared to Broadway shows.

“[LaChiusa] has tried to escape from commercial and conventional musicals,” Ahn said.

Three years ago, LaChiusa harshly criticized popular Broadway musicals such as “Hairspray” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

He wrote in the 2005 August issue of Opera News, an American monthly opera magazine, that big-scaled productions are “mechanical” and that “there is no challenge, no confrontation and no art.”

LaChiusa’s work, including “First Lady Suite” (1993) and “Highest Yellow” (2004), offers the musical industry the reverse.

“The Korean musical industry is overflowing with conventional Broadway shows, which can make Korean audiences fed up,” Ahn said.

“See What I Wanna See offers a new perspective.”


“See What I Wanna See” is staged at 8 p.m. on weekdays and at 3 and 7:30 p.m. on weekends. No shows Mondays.

Tickets cost 50,000 won ($49.15). The musical runs until Aug. 24.

For more information, call (02) 744-4337.


By Lee Eun-joo Staff Reporter [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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