Different cast, same ‘Chicago’
Again, this year’s cast for “Chicago” includes the two Korean Velmas, but as always, they are joined by two new actresses playing Roxie Hart - Lee Ha-nui, also known as Honey Lee, and Oh Jin-young.
According to the production firm, Seensee Company, the “charm of the musical is witnessing how the veteran actresses Insooni and Choi Jung-won are able to express the different styles of Velma upon meeting different Roxie Harts.”
Insooni, who saw Choi as Roxie Hart in 2000, commented that Choi’s version was “a lot more voluptuous.”
“When she was singing ‘Funny Honey,’ back then, we had a scene where she sings it lying on top of a piano. I was like, ‘wow, she’s charming,’?” said Insooni. “Roxie Hart is also charming these days in a different way. She’s more distinctive, and more attractive than voluptuous. I am just amazed every time how one character can be expressed such differently and in depth by different actresses.”
“The strength of the musical ‘Chicago’ is also the fact that the stage setting hardly changes and the actors hardly change costumes,” said Choi. “That way, you can really witness the actors’ acting, the facial expressions and the passion. You really get absorbed into us, not the showy glamor of what’s on the stage.”
For Lee, a former Miss Korea, it’s her first musical since “Legally Blonde” three years ago.
“I’ve always wanted to participate in the musical ‘Chicago.’ I am so honored to be a part of it this time,” said Lee last week. But she confessed she went through an “unexpected slump” while she was practicing for the musical.
While casting the same actors for consecutive appearances could be a let down for some theatergoers, Sung Gi-yoon, an actor who has been cast for the role of “Billy” for the third time, said, “Many actors and actresses have staged the show over and over again and we have to admit that we were somewhat busy trying to work on the dance moves and how it’s being ‘shown.’ But this time, it’s faithful to the inside. Those of us who took the roles many times know the roles inside out by now. So this version will be something more special for those who have already watched the show.”
The musical is based on a 1926 play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins about actual criminals and crimes she reported on in Chicago. The musical revolves around Roxie Hart, an ambitious chorus girl, who murders her lover in Chicago.
The musical “Chicago,” which kicked off July 6 at the National Theater of Korea, will run until Aug. 31. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 120,000 won.
BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [email@example.com]