Musical: CHICAGO
Musical: CHICAGO
  • Kang Seung-wan (ST Reporter)
  • 승인 2022.06.12 15:41
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     The Korean production of the musical Chicago created history with the strongest casting in which both classical and novelty themes coexist. ST watched Chicago, which was also loved in Korea, and dug into every detail. ................Ed

     Have Soongsilians ever watched a musical? Musicals are a type of a stage play performance that combines singing, dancing, and acting. Musicals were unfamiliar to the public due to relatively expensive performance admission fees. However, due to the recent influence of YouTube algorithms, musical performances, which are rarely seen, have become more accessible. Now musicals are approaching the public, with musical actors appearing in dramas, including in last year‘s popular screening of Hospital Playlist. ST tries to learn about the world of musicals through the steady seller musical, Chicago in the United States and in Korea.

     Chicago has won several awards at the world‘s most prestigious awards, including the Tony Awards and the Olivier Awards, and has attracted more than 33 million audiences in more than 500 cities from 36 countries around the world. Moreover, the work is like Broadway‘s symbol, as it has been performed more than 9,690 times on Broadway from 1996 to the present.


     In the 1920s, when Chicago City was prevalent with jazz fever and cold-blooded killers, Velma, a former vaudeville actor, was a hot topic prisoner for committing murder. Meanwhile, chorus girl Roxie Hart kills the lover, Fred Casely, she met at a nightclub. Roxie lies to her husband, Amos, that Fred was a robber, and Amos innocently covers Roxie‘s sins instead. Soon, the police inform Amos that Roxie knew the robber well, and Amos asks Roxie to pay for the crime.

     Roxie gets to know Billy Flynn, the best lawyer in Chicago, through her guard, Mama Morton, and approaches him. Billy decides to take on Roxie‘s case, and completely re-adapts her story, providing reporters with an article that everyone has a little bit of a good side. Roxie‘s press conference is expressed as Billy, a ventriloquist who recites the adapted truth, and a puppet with only a mouthful. Roxie‘s story emerges as a new topic in Chicago, and in order to catch public attention, Roxie lies that she is pregnant while in prison, and the trial proceeds.


     In Korea, the popularity of Chicago has been extraordinary since its first performance in 2000. Debuted in Korea with super-luxury casting, such as In Su-ni, Heon Joon-ho, and Choi Jung-won, Chicago was presented differently from the original performance through a licensed production.

     The performance held at the Seongnam Art Center Opera House in 2010 added special meaning. In particular, they had a warm opportunity to repay the love of the audience by donating the proceeds from the sales of all seats in the final dress rehearsal for 10,000 won, in a bazaar and auction collected by the Beautiful Foundation and Seongnam Art Center to the Singleparent Women‘s Health Rights Support Project.

     A success story after breaking box office records every season, Chicago held an open audition. The audition, which attracted more than a thousand applicants, selected a number of veteran actors and up-and-coming actors who have been associated with the work so far, including famous performers. In particular, actor Choi Jaerim received plenty of favorable reviews from the audience and won the Best Supporting Actor Award at the Korea Musical Awards held on January 10.


     This reporter watched the musical on January 1. First, I watched the movie, which is based on the 1996 revival version of the musical, Chicago, released in 2002, and went to watch the musical. Many parts of the performance have been adapted over a long period of time, and it was easy to understand by knowing the overall plot while watching it. In particular, unlike in the movies, Velma‘s proportion has increased significantly, which has made the progress of the musical smoother.

     Though it was set in Chicago, US, I felt that there was no incompatibility in proceeding with the play in Korean by adapting the lines well. In particular, in the musical No. 8, ‘We Both Reached for the Gun,’ I was able to enjoy a stage that transcends the original work. Actor Choi Jae-rim‘s ventriloquism was excellent. Moreover, Soongsilians can purchase various goods at the gift shop before and after the performance. In the case of program books, the price is reasonable and easy to store, so it is recommended to purchase them after watching the musical.

     With the prolonged COVID-19 restrictions, the industry of culture and the arts is in a difficult situation of meeting even the break-even point. Under such trying conditions, the performances are continuing while following quarantine rules through the efforts of related workers and the cooperation of the audience. In particular, in the case of musical performances, there have been no cases of spreading COVID-19 infection in the concert hall on January 22. ST hopes that Soongsilians will be able to enjoy the performance while complying with quarantine rules. As the rules of social distancing are eased, enjoying a new cultural life could be the first step back to daily life.

Kang Seung-wan (ST Reporter)

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