From singing nuns to graceful ballet, these are Seoul performances to watch out for
D-Cube Arts Center
Through Feb. 11: This international tour production of “Sister Act” is Korean musical production company EMK Musical’s latest work. Directed by Robert Johanson, the show is a “totally new version of ‘Sister Act’ with a different tone and look,” Johanson said during a press conference for the show.
Johanson and choreographer Jayme Mcdaniel are among those newly stepping into "Sister Act," while music director BA Huffman has worked on the musical since its initial Broadway production alongside composer Alan Menken.
Actors like Nicole Vanessa Ortiz playing the lead Deloris and Kim So-hyang playing Mary Robert have been part of the Korean production of "Sister Act" productions, and others, including Mary Gutzi playing Mother Superior and six other Korean actors who have been cast in the show's ensemble, are joining the team for the first time.
The show will be staged in English.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturdays and public holidays; and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. There are no shows on Mondays.
Tickets range from 80,000 won ($60) to 170,000 won.
Sindorim Station, lines No. 1 and 2, exit 1 or 5
KOREA EMOTION 'JEONG'
Universal Art Center
Feb. 16 – 18: “Jeong” will kick off the Universal Ballet Company’s season this year. The work, choreographed by the company’s artistic director Liu Bingxian, uses traditional Korean music known as gugak, as the dancers on stage attempt to express the Korean sentiment known as jeong. The work is divided into nine chapters, telling nine short stories that focus on different aspects of jeong. The closest single word in English that can capture the meaning of jeong could be “affection.”
The performance begins at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won.
Achasan Station, line No. 5, exit 4
LG Arts Center, LG Signature Hall
Through Feb. 24: Korea’s hit musical “Rebecca,” which had its 10th-anniversary run last year, is back at the LG Arts Center for an encore run.
The musical is based on Daphne du Maurie's Gothic romance novel, but is reportedly also inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film “Rebecca.”
The musical, which combines romance and suspense, first hit the stage in Vienna in 2006, and the Korean production premiered in 2013.
Set in a mansion called Manderley, “Rebecca” tells the story of Maxim de Winter, a wealthy widower who lost his wife Rebecca in a drowning accident and cannot get over the traumatic incident. Maxim marries another woman, but his new wife learns a disturbing secret — Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper of the mansion, still worships the late Rebecca.
When the musical was first staged in Seoul, it was the highest-selling musical for five consecutive weeks. It still attracts musical aficionados who have watched it multiple times.
Musical director Robert Johanson has been at the helm of the production since its premiere.
Four actors, including Min Young-ki, Ryu Jeong-han, Oh Man-seok and Tei will alternate the role of Mr. de Winter, while Shin Young-sook, Lisa, Ock Joo-hyun and Jang Eun-ah will play Mrs. Danvers.
It starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays; and at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m. on weekends and public holidays. There are no shows on Mondays.
Tickets range from 80,000 won to 170,000 won.
Magongnaru Station, line No. 9, exit 3 or 4
Coex Shinhan Card Artium
Through Feb. 25: The musical “Rent” is back in Seoul after its last run in the summer. "Rent" is an American musical by Jonathan Larson, inspired by Giacomo Puccini's opera from 1896, "La Bohême." It depicts the lives of young, aspiring artists in New York City during the late '80s and early '90s. Since 2000, "Rent" has had eight productions in Korea, not including the current run.
Bae Do-hoon, a member of the crossover group Forestella, and Jeong Won-young alternate the role of Mark.
Jeon Na-young, who was part of the 2020 cast, is playing Maureen again. She is alternating the role with Kim Soo-yeon.
Jo Kwon, musical actor and member of boy band 2AM, and Kim Ho-young are alternating the role of Angel.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekends. There are no shows on Mondays.
Tickets range from 70,000 won to 140,000 won.
Samsung Station, line No. 2, exit 5 or 6
D-Cube Arts Center
Feb. 27 – May 26: The Korean production of the hit musical "Marie Antoinette" is returning to the D-Cube Arts Center in western Seoul for its 10th anniversary. The musical tells the story of Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France, but some fictional characters have been added, like Margrid Arnaud, to add more drama to the life of the queen who was sentenced to death by the guillotine.
The nearly three-hour-long performance uses several settings, from the Palace of Versailles to Tuileries Garden to the Marais district, and the show jumps from place to place by using a revolving stage.
Musical actor Kim So-hyang and Lee Ji-hye alternate the role of Marie Antoinette. Ock Joo-hyun, Lee Areumsol and Yoon Gong-joo have been cast to play the role of Margrid, who begs for money on the street but later becomes a revolutionary leader.
The male protagonist Fersen will be alternated by three actors — Lee Hae-jun, Yoon So-ho and Baekho.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays; at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturdays and national holidays; and 3 p.m. on Sundays. There are no shows on Mondays.
Tickets range from 80,000 won to 170,000 won.
Sindorim Station, lines No. 1 and 2, exit 1 or 5
Yongin Poeun Art Hall
March 1 and 2: The Universal Ballet Company (UBC) is staging Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” one of the world’s most popular ballets, which has been part of the UBC’s repertory for nearly 30 years.
The best-known version of this ballet was produced in St. Petersburg at the Mariinsky Theater and choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. It was the UBC that introduced the work to Korea in 1992, and since then, the company has been performing Petipa and Ivanov’s version.
Dancers will be announced in February.
The performance begins at 3 p.m. on both days.
Tickets range from 40,000 won to 70,000 won.
Jukjeon Station, Suin-Bundang line, exit 1
Blue Square, Shinhan Card Hall
Through March 10: The Korean production of the masterpiece musical “Les Misérables” is being staged at the Blue Square in central Seoul. The show is based on the French novel set in 1832 and follows the life of Jean Valjean, who is sentenced to 10 years behind bars for stealing a loaf of bread.
The main protagonist Jean Valjean, a runaway prisoner who was in jail for 19 years for stealing a piece of bread, will be played alternately by Min Woo-hyuk and Choi Jae-rim.
In the 2015 production of "Les Misérables," Min played Enjolras, the leading student revolutionary; his first entry into blockbuster musicals. Today, he is best known for musical roles such as Ahn Jung-geun in "Hero," Victor Frankenstein in "Frankenstein" and Ben Hur in "Ben Hur."
Choi is a veteran musical star best known for playing Miss Trunchbull in "Matilda" and Billy Flynn in "Chicago."
Kim Woo-hyung and Kai have been cast as Inspector Javert, an uncompromising police officer who has been hunting down Jean Valjean for decades. Kim is also a familiar face of "Les Misérables," having played Enjolras in the 2013 production of "Les Misérables" and Javert in the 2015 production. His recent roles include Radames in "Aida" and Hades in "Hadestown."
The popular film adaptation was first released in 2012, starring actors such as Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe. The movie was a box-office hit in Korea, ranking as the 86th most-watched movie of all time in Korea, according to data from the Korean Film Council.
The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays; and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekends and public holidays. There are no shows on Mondays.
Tickets are priced from 90,000 won to 180,000 won.
Hangangjin Station, line No. 6, exit 2 or 3
SCHOOL OF ROCK WORLD TOUR
Seoul Arts Center, Opera Theater
Through March 24: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical “School of Rock,” which has been rocking the world, is being staged at the Seoul Arts Center. Based on the hit movie of the same name that starred Jack Black, the musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who poses as a substitute teacher at a prep school to earn a few bucks. After discovering musical talents in his straight-A students, he forms a rock band with them to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands contest.
The musical had its Broadway premiere in 2015 and its West End debut in 2016. The international tour began in 2018 with shows in Australia, China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan.
The show will be staged in English with Korean subtitles.
Dewey Finn will be played by actors Conner Gillooly and Reuben Browne.
The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Fridays; at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. There are no performances on Mondays.
Tickets range from 60,000 won to 170,000 won.
Nambu Bus Terminal Station, line No. 3, exit 5
NOTRE DAME DE PARIS
Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, Grand Theater
Through March 24: The Korean production of the famed musical “Notre Dame de Paris” is back for the first time in six years.
The musical is based on the 1831 French novel by Victor Hugo. Set in the 15th century, “Notre Dame” follows several characters including Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer of the Notre-Dame Cathedral who is in love with a beautiful dancer named Esmeralda.
Musical actors Chung Sung-hwa, Yang Joon-mo and Yoon Hyeong-ryeol will alternate the role of Quasimodo. Esmeralda, the captivating gypsy protagonist, will be played by musical actors Yuria and Jung Yoo-ji and Solar of girl group Mamamoo.
The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays; 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays and public holidays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.
Tickets range from 70,000 won to 170,000 won.
Gwanghwamun Station, line No. 5, exit 8
LG Arts Center Seoul, LG Signature Hall
March 27 – 31: The Korean National Ballet presents the timeless ballet classic “Swan Lake.”
Of the many versions of “Swan Lake,” the national ballet company will perform the work of choreographer Yuri Grigorovich, who is known as a living legend in the ballet world.
Grigorovich’s version cuts out some parts of the ballet that could be seen as less dynamic and adds more dance sequences such as pas de deux and folk dance to maximize the sheer fun of the performance.
The Tchaikovsky music is arranged more rhythmically compared to other versions.
Unlike the tragic ending of the original story, this version has a happy ending where the protagonists fight off the main villains.
Dancers Park Seul-ki, Cho Yeon-jae and Sim Hyun-hee were cast to play Odette and Odile, while Heo Seo-myeong, Park Jong-suk and Ha Ji-seok alternate the role of Siegfried.
The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are priced from 5,000 won to 100,000 won.
Magoknaru Station, line No. 9, exit 3 or 4
*Most tickets are available at ticket.interpark.com/global or by calling 1544-1555
BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [firstname.lastname@example.org]