Saturday, May 31, 2008

'Hedwig' returns freestyle

Mega-hit rock musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" will run for a fourth season starting late June, production company Shownote announced.

But there will be a twist this season: Six different actors will take on the title role, each for three to six weeks at a time. All the Hedwigs will be completely different from the others, with outfits, make-up, and even lights personalized to fit and reinforce each Hedwig, the production company said.

Shownote added that five of the Hedwigs will be from past performances. Auditions will be held for the last actor.

Starting off "Hedwig-Freestyle" are two former Hedwigs: Kim Da-hyun, lead vocalist of rock band Yada and dubbed the "prettiest" Hedwig; and Song Yong-jin, lead vocalist of the band Cuba, who is regarded as the most provocative and passionate Hedwig.

Since its Korean premiere in 2005, the musical, whose protagonist is a transgender singer, has been a huge success, contrary to naysayers who thought that Koreans would find the subject uncomfortable.

Almost every performance was sold out, with ardent fans going over and over again. In its first season in 2005, the musical was also nominated for eight categories in the Korea Musical Awards, hosted by Sports Chosun.

"Hedwig" tells the tale of a transgender singer from East Germany who overcomes disappointment from a botched sex change operation and failed love life, finding healing through rock music.

The "angry inch" in the title is a reference to what she was left with after the operation, as well as the attitudes of people toward her.

The fourth season of "Hedwig" will be preceded by "Hedwig Concert," in which the cast performs songs from the musical.

The concert will feature John Cameron Mitchell, who created the show and played the original "Hedwig," and actor Oh Man-suk, one of Korea's most popular former Hedwigs.

Mitchell took part in "Hedwig Concert 2007" after seeing Oh's interpretation of Hedwig on Youtube. It was the first time that Mitchell performed as Hedwig outside the United States.

Oh and Mitchell will separately sing around a dozen songs from the musical, then take the stage together in a joint performance. The new Hedwig and other special guests will also be featured.

"Hedwig Concert" is slated for June 17 at the Olympic Hall in Olympic Park, eastern Seoul. Tickets are 55,000 won and 77,000 won.

The freestyle version of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" will kick off its fourth run from June 27 at KT&G Sang Sang Art Hall in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets cost between 45,000 won and 55,000 won. For more information, call (02) 501-7888.

By Koh Young-aah



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