Cleo and her Korean musical makeover

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Cleo and her Korean musical makeover


Kim Sun-kyung, above, and Park Ji-yoon, below, play Cleopatra in a Korean adaptation of the Czech musical. Provided by the organizer

This fall Koreans will be able to meet one of history’s most famous women in one of the most vibrant, versatile forms of performing arts.

The musical “Kleopatra” will be performed in Korea for the first time with Korean actors.

The life of the ambitious Egyptian pharaoh who lived 2,000 years ago has fascinated the world over the years. Her story has all the right ingredients for a best-selling novel - power, love, conspiracy, war and death.

The musical premiered in 2002 in Prague, Czech Republic, and was performed more than 500 times between 2002 and 2003 in front of more than half a million people.


Park Ji-yoon

The show embarked on a four-month tour in September.

But audiences in Korea will be presented with a slightly different version of the performance.

Unlike Broadway and West End productions, the original Czech producers have given the Korean creative team working on the production the freedom to reinterpret and recreate parts of the musical, adding local flavor and perspective, with the exception of certain elements like the plot.

“While maintaining the beauty of the original production, Kleopatra in Korea will be more Korean, and more beautiful, especially in the staging and costume designs,” said Lee Eun-kyeong of the Korean production company.

Award-winning stage designer Seo Suk-jin took charge of the set and costumes, dreaming of re-enacting the sumptuous Egyptian kingdom for a local audience.

Seo was the stage designer for “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Man of La Mancha,” and “Daejanggeum.”

Kleopatra is known for its beautiful music, with several of its scores hitting the European pop charts. Music director Jang So-yeong, who won last year’s Korea Musical Awards for “Singles,” has rearranged the score for the upcoming premiere here.

As for the role of Cleopatra, singer-turned-actress Park Ji-yoon and veteran actress Kim Sun-kyung will play the role on alternate nights.

It will be Park’s debut in a musical. She started her career as a young pop singer in 1994 and had many hit songs like “Sky-blue Colored Dream,” “Baby, Baby, Baby” and “Adult Ceremony.”

“Kleopatra” will be performed from Oct. 15 to Nov. 30 at the Universal Arts Center every day except Mondays. To get there, go to Achasan Station, line No. 5.

Tickets cost between 40,000 won ($33.16) and 100,000 won.

For reservations, visit or call 1544-1555. For other inquiries, contact the production company at (02) 549-4167.

By Kim Hyung-eun Staff Reporter []
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