"Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812," a Broadway musical inspired by Leo Tolstoy's 1869 novel "War and Peace," will premiere in Korea in September as the nation's theater industry strives to continue amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The musical, composed and written by the multi-talented Dave Malloy, premiered in Off-Broadway's Ars Nova in 2012 and moved to Broadway in 2016. It was critically acclaimed for its immersive theater experience, staged in an opulent Russian club setting.
In the Korean production, one of the nation's most acclaimed musical actors Hong Kwang-ho will alternate the lead role of Pierre Bezukhov with K-pop singer K.Will. On Broadway, singer-songwriter Josh Groban played the role. In the play, Pierre, an illegitimate son of a Russian aristocrat, is an outsider in society and has doubts about life despite his wealth.
Hong has impressive credits under his belt including the roles of Raoul and the Phantom in "The Phantom of the Opera," the titular role in "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" and Quasimodo in "Notre-Dame de Paris." He also played Thuy in the 25th anniversary production of "Miss Saigon" in London's West End.
Two performers from K-pop girl bands ― Jeong Eun-ji of Apink and Haena of Matilda ― will play the female lead Natasha Rostova, an ingenue who is engaged to Andrey, but falls in love with hedonist Anatole while Andrey is away at war.
Jeong of "Reply 1997" fame and who recently released her fourth mini-album "Simple," will showcase her singing and acting in "The Great Comet."
Lee Choong-joo, Park Kang-hyun and Ko Eun-sung will play Anatole Kuragin.
Another notable aspect of the show is that the actors play musical instruments while acting, including Pierre playing the accordion and the piano.
The Korean production is directed by Kim Dong-yeon of "Maybe Happy Ending" and the music will be supervised by Kim Moon-jeong, adding a touch of class to the diverse music of "The Great Comet" ranging from classical and Russian folk music to rock and electronic music.
Set designer Oh Pil-young will transform the Universal Arts Center, known for its classical interior of red and gold, into a Russian opera theater where audiences can immerse themselves in the story. There will be no boundary between stage and house, providing a novel theatrical experience.
The Korean production of "The Great Comet" will play at the Universal Arts Center in eastern Seoul from Sept. 15 to Nov. 29. For more information, visit www.shownote.com.
source: The Korea Times