The curtain had hardly gone down at the world premiere of “Kun (Goong) — Love in a Palace” in Seoul in 2010 when the musical suddenly became the hottest ticket in South Korea’s entertainment scene.
The Cinderella-style story has a love-triangle twist, involving a dashing fictional Korean prince named Shin and his cousin, a romantic rival. The story had already existed as a top-selling girls; comic of the same name by Park So Hee when it was adapted for television in 2006. With the groundwork already laid, the producer of the TV series, Song Byung Joon, took the idea and headed for the stage.
In making this transition, Song has said he put extra emphasis on the musical’s tunes — by K-pop star Howl — being high-quality, stand-alone numbers and not just lyrical tools to relay the plot. To aid him in the Tokyo run, the songs will get extra sparkle from K-pop stars Sungmo and Kim Kyu Jong from the groups Supernova and SS501, respectively, who will alternate in the role of the dashing prince — so ensuring, too, that their legions of fans will have to go to at least two shows.
This take on “Cinderella” will also feature some of K-pop’s top hip-hop dancers.
“Kun (Goong) — Love in a Palace” (with Japanese subtitles) runs Dec. 16-30 at the Tokyo International Forum’s Hall C in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. For more information, visit www.musical-k.com.