Theater productions in different languages in different countries around the world is not a new idea. I happen to think that the global impact and reach of theater is part of what makes it special. But watching the newly released clips from the South Korean production of “Wicked,” I was reminded why.
By now, it’s no secret that “Wicked” is my favorite show. But watching Son Seung Yeon belt out “The Wizard and I” as part of the Korean-language production in Seoul, I was brought to tears. While I know absolutely nothing about the Korean language, I was incredibly moved by Son Seung Yeon’s performance. Her energy and authenticity (unsurprisingly) brought so much life into the character that I love, and while I didn’t actually understand a word of what she said, I knew exactly what she was singing about (and not because I know the English version of the song).
In that moment, it didn’t matter what language she was singing in because she was a part of something so much bigger. In a time when theater is on hold in most parts of the world, South Korea has served as a beacon of hope. Both “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Cats” have been able to perform full shows to full-capacity audiences since the pandemic began, reminding us that there is a (stage) light at the end of the tunnel. Listening to Son Seung Yeon sing, I was reminded of why I love theater. In a 60 second Instagram video, she managed to bring thousands upon thousands of people together as they shared their common love.
The production will feature two rotating casts, with Son Seung Yeon as Elphaba, Na Ha Na as Glinda, Jin Tae Hwa as Fiyero, Lee Sang Jun as Wizard, and Kim Ji Sun as Madame Morrible in one set of performances. The second cast will feature Ock Joo Hyun as Elphaba, Jeong Sun Ah as Glinda, Seo Kyoung Su as Fiyero, Nam Kyoung Joo as the Wizard, and Lee So You as Madame Morrible, according to Playbill.
The musical will play in Seoul until May 2, when it will then transfer to the Dream Theatre in Busan, with performances scheduled to begin May 20, 2021, according to a Playbill report.
Check out photos of the new South Korean production of “Wicked” below.
Feature Photo: Jin Tae Hwa and Son Seung Yeon
All photo credit to Juho Sim