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Home-town Musicals Gain Wider Fan Base Updated: 2007-07-14 12:00:00 KST

Home-town Musicals Gain Wider Fan Base
The fan base for DOMESTIC musicals here in Korea is growing more and more diverse.
And changing tastes of audiences seem to be stoking the ever-rising figures for men and women watching homegrown musicals.
Son Heekyung has this story.
Up to now Korean musicals barely registered a pulse when compared to their brethren on Broadway.
But according to figures released by a Korean musicals association audiences' tastes are changing.
The association says that in 2006 alone, domestic theaters staged more than 70 homegrown musicals.
That's nearly a third more than the year before.
In the past, musicals were mainly seen by women in their 20s.
But not anymore.
A growing number of women and men in their 30s and 40s as well as families are starting to enjoy the genre.

''Musicals are just getting going in Korea. It's a good idea to produce large-scale musicals that contain elements of Korea, but most of all, we need to come up with stories that have common ground so they can easily be understood by audiences overseas. I believe 'Dancing Shadows' has that quality to appeal to foreigners.''

Many say the country's musicals business is undergoing an unprecedented boom.
Musical production companies no longer shy away from big budget musicals for fear of drowning in red ink.
In May, the drama-turned-musical ''Dae Jang Geum'' hit the stage hoping to ride the coattails of hallyu or the Korean Wave that's spread Korean pop culture throughout the world.
It was based on a historical TV drama of the same name about a woman who goes from royal chef to court physician.
So what factors into the growing interest?

''Audience tastes are becoming broader. Thus, there is a need for both large-scale Korean musicals as well as fun, comical, light and small-scale musicals. Directors like me will continue to work hard to avoid being turned down by audiences.''

He added that hopes are high that ''Dancing Shadows'' will be the launchpad for a more active domestic musical scene.

''Korean musicals have long been outmatched by their Broadway counterparts, but the home-made musical 'Dancing Shadows', set during the Korean War, is hoping to change that.
With a production budget of 5 billion won or around 5 million US dollars, 'Dancing Shadows' may just have the stuff to push the appeal of Korean musicals far beyond the country's borders.

Son Heekyung, Arirang News.''
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