The 2014 production of the musical Seopyeonje was meaningful for a number of reasons. I want to share my Top 6 as they pertain to that talented guy above. Four are important as they pertain to the musical and G.O, and two ring especially important for me personally.
The Power of Four
I think if given the opportunity, I could go on and on for months about Seopyeonje even though I have talked about it before. But, I ask that you humor me on this wonderful 12th day of G.O’s enlistment, and let me talk about it once again.
The year G.O starred in the lead role of Dong Ho in the musical Seopyeonje was important for him. He may wave me off and exclaim, “Nooooooo.” We would argue, but I would win.^^ It was very important. The 2014 production was making its way to the musical stage for the 4th time. Considered a masterpiece work of literature, film and musical theater, it held great prestige. I would say four was indeed a magic number for the musical that year.
I know I said I had six reasons as to why this particular production of the musical was important (and I do) but it is these first four that are truly special.
First, Seopyeonje was G.O’s first musical role on the Korean stage. True, he had a successful run in the role of Kang Hyun Woo in the jukebox musical, Gwanghwamun Sonata. And, true, Gwanghwamun is a Korean musical. However, when G.O was cast in Gwanghwamun, it was having its debut and run on the Japanese musical stage. When he took the stage for his first performance of Seopyeonje on March 22, 2014, however, it was his first time on the Korean musical stage.
Second, this was the first time an idol was cast in the complex role of Dong Ho. Some may have considered that a risky choice by Director Lee Gina. But she already knew a thing or two about G.O’s talent and incredible work ethic from Gwanghwamun. She would not have chosen him for the role of Dong Ho if she thought he was not capable.
Third, the 2014 production featured two new original songs by composer Yoon Il Sang, both of which were sung by Dong Ho.
The aggressive rock number Alive:
And, the poignant ballad, My Life Is Gone:
Important and pivotal.
The songs added more bulk and complexity to the role and let us see further into Dong Ho’s fragile psyche as he navigated the pathos that surrounded him and his life began to spiral out of control. Also, giving G.O more music time to showcase that incredibly gorgeous voice of his was extremely important – not only for the musical but for him, the idol, who was given the opportunity to show musical theater audiences that he had the talent strong enough to carry the role. Not just musically, but as an actor as well. G.O’s performances were miracle moments. Moments I wish I could revisit over and over again.
Fourth, the 2014 production saw four wins at the 8th Korean Musical Awards. Yes, 4. And one of those wins went to the gentle newcomer of the bunch, G.O (Best Newcomer Male Actor). The other Seopyeonje winners were Lee Ja Ram (Best Actress – oh and as an aside, I have to mention that the first time Lee Ja Ram was cast in Seopyeonje she also won the award for Best Newcomer Female Actress); Yoon Il Sang (Best Composer); and Yang Joon Mo (Best Supporting Actor).
So very important, right?
The final two reasons (to round off the six) are personal to me. But I want to include them because they are a part of why the 2014 production of Seopyeonje was special. For me, in its small way, it was life-changing.
First, Seopyeonje was my introduction to Korean musical theater. I may have not understood the language fully, but I went into the musical prepared knowing what the story was about. If you have some base foundation, the music will take care of the rest and the music in Seopyeonje was haunting, emotional and beautiful.
Here is some contraband audio I captured during one of the shows at the opening of the second act before G.O lit up the stage with 청춘이:
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Seopyeonje was where I met G.O, the man and the artist, for the first time. Prior to seeing the musical, I had only known G.O through the recorded music I listened to, the videos I watched of him from Korean music programs, fancams and variety shows. This was my first in-person experience. It was magical. And, I would not change a single moment of it, how it played out, or where it has led me to today. It has been like a dream and I can say with absolutely certainty that I am not prepared to wake up….at least not just yet.
[Video cr. 박정희]