Musical actor Nam Kyung-joo weighs in on musical casting conundrum

Musical actor Nam Kyung-joo [JOONGANG ILBO]

Musical actor Nam Kyung-joo said he “could not understand why the situation had to go to the extent of taking legal action” regarding the recent controversy of unfair casting in the musical industry.

The controversy was first ignited when singer and musical actor Ock Joo-hyun was said to have used personal connections to influence the casting of the 10th production of the musical “Elisabeth” through personal connections rather than going through an audition process. The rumor was spread by a few musical theater fans who were upset that musical actor Kim So-hyun, who had already been involved in the musical twice, wasn't cast again and was instead replaced by Lee Ji-hye, who is known to be close to Ock.

In a video uploaded on YouTube channel Videomug on Thursday, Nam said “I found out through a news article that [musical actor] Kim Ho-young had used that sort of expression [that Ock dominates the industry], but you can’t assume that he was targeting [the unfair casting problems].”

Kim was the one who initially posted on his Instagram story a phrase insinuating that Ock dominates the current musical industry scene, sparking the controversy alleging that Ock used her connections to influence the casting.

After Kim's Instagram story, Ock filed a lawsuit against him and two other online users for defamation on Monday.

EMK Musical Company, production company of “Elisabeth,” also denied the rumors on the same day, arguing that the actors “were selected through intense step-by-step auditions.”

Musical actors Ock Joo-hyun, left, and Kim Ho-young [YONHAP, JOONGANG ILBO]

“I thought it strange how [Ock] was overreacting,” Nam continued in Videomug's video. “The problem could’ve been resolved if [Ock and Kim Ho-young] just simply called each other and sorted it out. Maybe she feels guilty, but I don’t get why she would drag this to a lawsuit.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Nam and a couple other veteran musical actors released a joint statement online stating that they felt “responsible” for the recent incident and will “attempt to face the problems beforehand and correct such malpractices if there were any during the [casting] process.”

Adding to the conflict, YouTuber Lee Jin-ho posted a video on Thursday in which he alleged that Ock abuses her power as one of the top actors in the musical industry when dealing with other crew members.

Lee gave examples that Ock wastes water by turning the shower on for at least three hours and prevents staff members from using the heater or air conditioner.

Lee said that Ock turns the shower on for hours because the “steam helps to moisturize her throat on the day of a show,” and that “even though staff members urge her to stop wasting so much water, she does not listen.”

He added that Ock did not allow others to use the heater or air conditioner because her “throat may get dry.”

The video was viewed over 1 million times as of Friday.