Broadway’s ‘Jekyll’ cast to make debut in Korea

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Broadway’s ‘Jekyll’ cast to make debut in Korea

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The cast of “Jekyll and Hyde” and organizers of the musical at an Aug. 10 press conference in Seoul. Provided by the organizer

Local audiences have repeatedly given the famous musical “Jekyll and Hyde” a fairly strong report card. In fact, you could say it has made the honor roll multiple times.

The initial Korean-language version of the musical, featuring star actor Cho Seung-woo, attracted 300,000 people in 2004. An encore performance in 2005 sold out in just seven hours, and the show came back again the following year.

A fourth run without Cho last November through February at the LG Art Center proved that audiences were interested in the story even without the presence of the big-name actor. On average, 85 percent of the seats at those shows were filled, resulting in a net profit of 2 billion won ($1.6 million).

Korean audiences will get another chance starting next week to see this haunting story about the duality of man. Only this time around, the original Broadway cast will take the stage for the first time in Korea, performing the musical in English as part of a three-week run in Seoul.

It’s all part of the troupe’s world tour. But Seoul isn’t just another city on the itinerary - it’s the first stop, highlighting the growing clout of Korea’s musical industry, which insiders say has been growing by about 20 percent every year since 2000.

“The creative team of the world tour - choreographer Jo-Anne Robinson, musical director Peter Casey and director John Dietrich - makes the show all the more credible,” said Sin Chun-su, the producer of the Korean version of the musical. “Also, the fact that Brad Little, who’s known as the best Jekyll ever, is coming to Korea makes it even more exciting.”

Little is better known for his role in “Phantom of the Opera,” playing the title character more than 2,000 times on Broadway and in theaters across America and Asia since 1997. Little performed in Korea as the Phantom in 2005 and even came back the following year as part of a separate concert, where he performed songs from the musicals he’s been in.

Jekyll and Hyde, which opened on Broadway in 1997, is a thriller set in 1880s London. It’s based on “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” a novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson and first published in 1886. Jekyll, a benevolent doctor and scientist, creates a potion that releases his evil impulses in the form of his alter ego, the bestial Hyde. The doctor struggles between the two sides of his personality, signifying the personal conflict that all human beings battle.

Jekyll has been known as one of the most difficult, energy-consuming roles on stage, as the performer has to show both the best and worst sides of human nature.

The Broadway cast will perform in China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok, among other countries, after its three-week run in Seoul.

Jekyll and Hyde will run from Aug. 28 to Sept. 20. Tickets cost between 22,000 won and 140,000 won. For reservations, call 1544-1555 or visit www.interpark.com. For more information, call 1588-5212 or visit www.musicaljekyllnhyde.com.


By Kim Hyung-eun [hkim@joongang.co.kr]
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