Musical actor Ock Joo-hyun vows legal actions against rumormongers

Singer and musical theater actor Ock Joo-hyun smiles during a press conference for a Korean production of "Wicked" at Blue Square in Yonsang District, central Seoul, on Feb. 23, 2021. [YONHAP]

Singer and musical theater actor Ock Joo-hyun said that she will take legal actions against those who spread rumors related to her casting in the upcoming production of the musical "Elisabeth."

"I should not be the one to have to explain the speculations regarding the casting of 'Elisabeth,'" Ock wrote on her Instagram Wednesday. "All the rights [including casting] belong to the production company, which runs projects that take up to tens of billions of won. I am preparing to file a complaint against the people who have contributed to the flurry of rude speculations and news reports."

Ock's post follows rumors that Lee JI-hye, a musical theater actor and a close friend of Ock, was cast for the 10th production of the musical "Elisabeth" through personal connections rather than fair auditions. The rumors were first started by a few musical theater fans who were upset that another musical actor, Kim So-hyun, who had already been involved in the musical twice, wasn't cast again and was instead replaced by Ock and Lee.

Musical actor Kim Ho-young added fuel to these rumors by posting on his Instagram Stories a phrase that insinuated that Ock dominates the current musical industry scene.

"Elisabeth"'s production company, EMK Musical Company, also let out a statement denying the rumors on Wednesday.

"The new actors were selected through intense step-by-step auditions. Additionally, due to the nature of the licensed musical, the casting of the musical 'Elisabeth' is impossible without the final approval of the original company [abroad]," wrote EMK.

Musical "Elisabeth" will open on Aug. 25 at Blue Square in Yongsan District, central Seoul.

Ock debuted as a member of girl group Fin.K.L in 1998. After their last album “Forever Fin.K.L” was released in 2005, the members went their separate ways. Ock went on to become one of the country's most beloved musical theater actors, starring in lead roles in large productions such as "Wicked" and "Rebecca."