For an actor, I would suspect that a one-dimensional character would perhaps be easier to interpret but ultimately lack challenge. The tender rebel Kang Hyun Woo in the jukebox musical 광화문 연가 [Gwanghwamun Sonata] was a demanding role for a first time musical theater actor. Nuanced and layered, it gave G.O the wonderful opportunity to explore his range as actor playing a character opposite to his own personality and demeanor.
Hyun Woo is a student activist rallying support during politically turbulent times in 1980’s Korea. He is defiant, outspoken and aggressive. Yes, perhaps he is all that is opposite to our gentle main vocal. However, G.O does have a history of speaking his mind rather decidedly when something does not sit well with him. He just approaches it in a far less threatening manner than his counterpart Hyun Woo.
What both men share, however, is a powerful and magnetic charisma that is impossible to ignore. They also share a love and commitment to their causes. Hyun Woo wants to effect change and reform in politics and G.O simply wants to affect your heart with his art. What I absolutely adore so very much in 광화문 연가 [Gwanghwamun Sonata] is that G.O played opposite musical theater actress Lisa in his initial performances. He is so very lucky to have debuted on the musical theater stage with a wonderful and experienced musical theater actress. Where he could have easily been intimidated by Lisa’s experience and fame, he played opposite her as an equal, holding his own even in light of the fact that Lisa is his noona by seven years and yet they had to portray lovers who ultimately wed and have a child together.
I think I have made my feelings quite clear about how I feel seeing G.O in a romantic role of any kind. The swoon meter begins to shake a bit and throw sparks!!><
Although the romance part is perhaps secondary to the overall premise of the show which revolves around political upheaval and the subsequent civil disobedience that resulted, it is still the thread that ties the three main leads together. Hyun Woo and his teacher and mentor Sang Hoon both love Yeon Joo. Yeon Joo chooses the wildly unpredictable Hyun Woo. Ultimately, her love is unable to temper the storm of rebellion that dictates his conscious Yet, their moments together are idyllic, even when Hyun Woo sits wounded in Yeon Joo’s arms.
G.O continues to prove (to me, at least) that regardless of who he is cast opposite of in a musical, drama, or even song, it is he who possesses the special ingredients that create chemistry between himself and the other cast members, especially his leading ladies. That elixir of ingredients is a potent combination of talent, poise, work ethic and magnetic charm.