Star-Studded Cast Shine in Monte Cristo
By Chung Ah-young
The musical"The Count of Monte Cristo," the newest work from world-renowned composer Frank Wildhorn, will be staged in Korea for the first time with a star-studded cast. Celebrated musical stars Ryu Jung-han, Shin Sung-rok, Um Ki-joon, and Cha Ji-yeon, as well as singer-turned-actress Ock Joo-hyun, will perform in the Korean rendition.
The musical is based on the novel of the same title written by Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870). The music was composed by Wildhorn and the lyrics were penned by Jack Murphy.
The story depicts a mission of revenge undertaken by a young sailor named Edmond Dantes. Falsely accused, Dantes is incarcerated for 14 years. After escaping from prison, he assumes the identity of the wealthy Count of Monte Cristo, and exacts revenge on those who falsely charged him, one by one.
The original novel, which consists of five volumes, has been condensed into a two-hour show with fantastic stage sets that portray places such as Rome and Paris.
Ryu, Um and Shin will share the role of the count, while Ock and Cha will alternate in the role of Mercedes.
Ryu is considered a top musical star for his charismatic acting in such performances as "Jekyll and Hyde," "Man of La Mancha," "Thrill Me" and most recently "Hero."
Um recently starred in the musical "The Three Musketeers" and has gained in popularity from his appearances on several television dramas.
Shin has performed in the musicals "Hamlet," "My Scary Girl" and "Dancing Shadows."
Ock is currently performing in the musical "Chicago" after stints in "42nd Street" and "Aida." Cha is a rising musical actress and was cast in the musical "Queen Seondeok."
The musical premiered in Switzerland in 2009.
Robert Johanson, who has directed more than 200 musicals such as "Hamlet," and "Wizard of Oz" will direct the Korean production. He worked for 18 years as the artistic director at Paper Mill Playhouse in the United States and has participated in various works on Broadway and in Europe. His production of the Korean rendition of "Hamlet" garnered huge popularity.
The musical will be on stage from April 22 to June 13 at Universal Arts Center in Neung-dong, Seoul. Tickets cost from 40,000 to 120,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6391-6333.