Girls’ Generation singer makes theatrical debut
This is the plot of the musical “Midnight Sun,” which opened in Seoul last Friday. The musical is based on the Japanese novel by the same name, written by Aya Denkawa in 2006. The book was so popular in Japan that it was made into a film and television drama later that year.
The Korean version of the musical generated a buzz even before it opened because it marks the musical theater debut of Taeyeon, the lead vocalist in the well-known Korean pop group Girls’ Generation.
At a packed dress rehearsal for the musical last Friday afternoon, Taeyeon was the right actress for the role. Her status as a pop star doesn’t hurt either, a fact the musical’s production company was not afraid to acknowledge.
Shows featuring Taeyeon were reported to be sold out, demonstrating that the star factor has had a positive impact on ticket sales. In fact, that is a strategy that is being employed by an increasing number of producers in the local musical theater industry in recent years.
But Hwang Jae-hun, the director of the musical, has a more positive view of the trend.
“I think that engaging stars in the cast of a musical theater production can have a positive effect, for instance, it can entice the general public to become more familiar with the art form,” Hwang said.
But the idol effect only goes so far, he added.
“If a production is below the standard, the audience will turn away, even if there are stars in the cast,” he said.
Nevertheless, the support of Taeyeon’s fans was evident on the day of the dress rehearsal. The entrance to the theater was full of standing wreaths sent by Girls’ Generation fans to wish their idol good luck on her debut.
But Taeyeon is not letting the attention distract her from her performance.
“I have long wanted to do the musical, so I was delighted at the suggestion,” Taeyeon said Monday in a telephone interview with the JoongAng Daily. “And I knew about Midnight Sun from listening to the music from the film, which was good for me.”
Though some had wondered about her acting ability, Taeyeon did a good job of expressing the thoughts and emotions of a girl who is struggling against a terminal illness. And her mellifluous voice is a good instrument for the delicate pitch of the music.
“I’ve been on stage three times so far and it feels like the more I do it the more comfortable it is,” she said. “I feel more confident today than yesterday.”
*Midnight Sun runs until May 29 at the M Theater at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. The musical starts at 8 p.m. on weekdays, at 3 and 7 p.m. on Saturdays and at 4 p.m. on Sundays. There are no performances on Mondays. Tickets range from 30,000 won ($26.40) to 50,000 won. Go to Gwanghwamun Station, line No. 5, exit 1 or 8. For more information, call (02) 399-1114 or visit www.sejongpac.or.kr.
By Park Sun-young [firstname.lastname@example.org]