Where the soju’s cold, and the piano’s hot.
For K-Pop Stars, one way to show off your musical chops is to participate in musicals. There was no shortage of idol participation in musicals this year, which made it a thrilling watch for everyone involved.
EXO’s Chanyeol (Meissa’s Song) and Xiumin (Hadestown)
One of the biggest groups in K-Pop history, EXO is now on military hiatus (they have four members currently serving and have two more due to enlist in the next two years). There is a trend in the Korean military to hold musicals to be viewed by fellow army men, and while some view these efforts as merely military propaganda, the trend doesn’t seem to be stopping soon.
Member Chanyeol is set to star in “Meissa’s Song,” which follows Raman (Chanyeol) from the fictional, war-torn country Kamur to Korea, where he is looking for dispatched soldier Meissa who encouraged him to follow his dreams. Other K-Pop idols in the cast are Infinite’s Myungsoo and B.A.P’s Daehyun. Tickets are available online for those who wish to watch.
When Xiumin, the first EXO member to complete his enlistment was in the army, he and fellow member D.O. were also part of another musical: Return: The Promise of the Day. Now that he has finished his requirements, Xiumin is now back to a full-time idol working schedule, including a stint at the upcoming public-wide musical Hadestown.
Hadestown, winner of Best Musical at the 73rd Tony Awards combines two stories: that of Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone against a backdrop of the warring forces of doubt versus faith, and fear against love. Xiumin is set to play Orpheus, and while he is no doubt prepared for the role, EXO’s eldest member mentioned that he is a little nervous about playing the guitar: “All Orpheus will be under a lot of stress the moment we hold the guitar. Everyone’s in pain when they hold the guitar.”
NCT 127’s Doyoung in Marie Antoinette
In the middle of NCT 127’s latest hit comeback Sticker, member Doyoung was also finishing up his musical promotions in Marie Antoinette. Playing Count Axel von Fersen (if your only knowledge of the life of Marie Antoinette is the Sofia Coppola movie, he played Jaime Dornan’s role), the man who has an affair with the last queen of France amid her loveless marriage to Louis XVI.
This was Doyoung’s first try at a musical and he did very well in both acting and singing, impressing both his co-workers (one of whom wished for him to write how he was raised by his parents so she could raise her son the same way), the lucky fans who were able to watch the shows, and as expected, his supportive group members who watched him on stage. Interpark, the company behind the show, announced plans to stream the musical online, to the excitement of many.
SNSD’s Tiffany (Chicago)
Since leaving SM Entertainment in October 2017, Tiffany Young has stayed busy with her overseas music career, mostly promoting in the United States. However, due to COVID-19 she moved back to South Korea and started once again appearing on variety shows. In 2021, she auditioned for and got the role of Roxie Hart in Korea’s production of Chicago (2021 also being the year the musical celebrated its 21st year successfully showing in Korea).
Tiffany, a member of SNSD’s famed vocal line, got the role through her hard work, as SeenSee Company, the show’s producers, proudly announced: “Tiffany has impressed us with her passion and effort for the role. She went through a very competitive audition just like any other applicants, without getting any preferential treatment.” She did so well she won the Musical Category Award at the Korean Arts and Cultural Awards 2021
Super Junior’s Kyuhyun in Phantom and Frankenstein
Widely acknowledged as the best singer in K-Pop’s 2nd Generation of idols, Super Junior’s Kyuhyun has been doing musicals since 2010. This year, he did both Phantom as the titular role (Phantom is different from Phantom of the Opera, with a bigger focus on Erik, the Phantom) and Victor Frankenstein in the musical Frankenstein. This year, he was part of the Museezn Concert, which brings together some of the biggest musical singers in Korea to sing songs from select musicals, and as expected, he did very well.