By Chung Ah-young
French musical, ``Romeo et Juliette'' will be staged in Korean, starring high-profile musical actors Shin Sung-rok, Im Tae-kyung, Kim So-hyun and Park So-yeon. It is the first time for the French musical to be adapted into a foreign language.
Based on Shakespeare's original play, ``Romeo and Juliet'' and written by French composer Gerard Presgurvic, the musical will open at Seoul Arts Center on July 4.
The musical premiered in Paris in 2001, and since then has toured some 16 countries, entertaining more than four million people. The original cast of the show first hit the stage in Korea in 2007 and gave an encore performance in February this year.
Musical heartthrob Shin will alternate playing the role of Romeo with crossover tenor Im. Renowned for numerous hit musicals such as ``Dracula,'' ``Dancing Shadows,'' ``Hamlet'' and recently ``My Scary Girl,'' Shin is set to captivate the female audience with his charismatic acting performance and low-pitched baritone voice, which is suitable for portraying the tragic protagonist, according to OD Musical Company.
Crossover tenor Im has built up his reputation through playing difficult and extraordinary characters in such musicals as ``Hamlet'' and ``Jesus Christ Super Star.'' He is expected to triumph in playing the role due to his gifted vocals as the two hour show mostly consists of songs rather than dialogue.
Actress Kim will play Juliette along with rising star Park. The award-winning actress Kim has shown her plush high notes in major blockbuster musicals such as ``My Fair Lady'' and ``The Phantom of The Opera.'' Park is drawing the public attention as an emerging star in ``Dreaming in Mars'' and ``Dracula.''
Also, 22 professional dancers will present the ravishing group performance as the French original troupe did.
Director Kim Deok-nam and music director Kim Moon-jung will participate in the Korean production.
In the original musical, the role of Romeo was portrayed by outstanding vocalist Damien Sargue, and Joy Esther took the role of Juliette, both of whom already have a wide fan base here.
The musical follows a unique structure in the style of French musicals, which are expressed mainly through emphasis on music and song. The contrast of melodies and strong pop and rock elements highlight the musical.
With separate dancing and singing performances distinguished from Broadway and West End musicals which use live orchestras, the French musicals feature more dynamic and rhythmic music from various genres.
The musical features 36 songs, including hit numbers ``Aimer'' and ``Les Rois du Monde'' and four new songs ― ``Avoir 20 Ans,'' ``Le Pote,'' ``On Dit Dans la Rue'' and ``Le Pouvoir.''
The costumes, marked by the symbolic colors of red and blue, represent the conflict of the two families ― the Montagues and Capulets.
The musical will be on stage from July 4 to Aug. 2 at Seoul Arts Center Opera Theater.
Tickets cost from 55,000 won to 150,000 won. For more information, call (02) 1588-5212.