‘Elisabeth’ steals show at 6th Musical Awards

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‘Elisabeth’ steals show at 6th Musical Awards

The Sixth Musical Awards - Korea’s version of the Tonys - was dominated by the German musical “Elisabeth,” as it won in eight of the 18 award categories, including best musical, best actress, best supporting actor, best lighting and best sound. The ceremony took place Monday at the National Theater of Korea.

With the recent rise of K-pop stars on the international music scene, foreign fans of K-pop filled up the venue while some who couldn’t get tickets waited outside, praying for their idols to win an award. Sunny from Girls’ Generation, Eun-hyuck from Super Junior and Kim Jun-su from JYJ were K-pop stars who appeared in the nominated musicals for the Musical Awards.

“Although I couldn’t get tickets, I came here to root for Jun-su,” said Yuan Ju-huang, 24, from Taiwan, who introduced herself as a fan of Kim Jun-su, a member of a boy band JYJ. Kim, who starred in “Elisabeth,” won the most popular star award for the third consecutive year.

Twenty-three musicals, including creative musicals and foreign licensed musicals, vied for awards in 18 categories at the event hosted by the JoongAng Ilbo, JTBC and the Korean Musical Theatre Association.

The best actress award went to Ock Joo-hyun. In winning for the second time in four years, the 32-year-old former member of girl group Fin.K.L. seems to have situated herself in the long line of successful musical divas.

Ock made her musical debut in 2005 in the 12 billion won ($10 million) production of “Aida.” Though she appeared in several more musicals, Ock remained a target of critics who believed a former girl group member could not be a musical star.

“I think I was able to understand the mental pain of Elisabeth by experiencing mental distress myself,” said Ock during her acceptance speech.

Ock played the role of Elisabeth (1837-1898), the empress of Austria and spouse of Emperor Franz Joseph I (1830-1916). The musical focuses on the struggles Elisabeth went through after she was married when her desire for freedom came into conflict with the restrictions of life as a part of the royal family.

The best actor award went to Jo Seung-woo, 32, who is known as one of the musical industry’s biggest box office draws, for his role in the creative musical “Sherlock Holmes.”

It was his third best actor award. He won for the first time in 2008 for “Man of La Mancha” and again last year with “Jekyll and Hyde.”

By Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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