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The most anticipated theatrical shows of 2022

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The cast of the musical, 'The Lion King' / Courtesy of S&Co
The cast of the musical, 'The Lion King' / Courtesy of S&Co

By Park Ji-won

This year's event schedule for theatrical performances is filled with large-scale musicals, as well as new works that have been waiting for the right time to be presented during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The original musical, "Lion King," of Disney fame, one of the most successful stage shows in history, will embark on its Seoul tour between Jan. 26 and March 18 at the Seoul Arts Center, followed by Busan in April. The original songs of the musical, composed by Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, and featuring other works by musicians, such as African composer Lebo, first presented its international tour in Korea in 2018 and tickets sold out. This tour will be the musical's first international run since it was presented in Auckland, New Zealand, last year.

The original French production of the musical, "Notre Dame de Paris," which has been running since November of last year, will hit the stage again in Korea between February and April at Blue Square Shinhancard Hall in Seoul as an encore show. Cirque du Soleil's "Alegria" will be also presented at Jamsil Olympic Stadium from Oct. 21 to Jan. 3.

EMK, one of the leading production companies here, will premiere the musical, "Frida," portraying the life of painter Frida Kahlo, at the Sejong Center for the Performing arts from February to May, as part of its efforts to make more musicals for smaller theaters.

The licensed musical, "Jekyll & Hyde," based on the 1886 novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, has been running from Oct. 19 to May. 8 at Charlotte Theater in Jamsil, Seoul.

The Korean production of "West Side Story," the landmark musical inspired by William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, will premiere in November at Chungmu Arts Center in Seoul. Kim Dong-yeon will direct the performance jointly with Julio Monge.

The musical adaptation of "Crash Landing on You," the megahit Netflix original Korean series, will also premiere at COEX Artium, Seoul, from Sept. 15 to Nov. 6. "Hotel del Luna," the tvN drama, will also be adapted into musical format within this year.

The poster for the play,
The poster for the play, "Freud's Last Session" / Courtesy of Park Company

The play, "Freud's Last Session," by Mark St. Germain will be performed at TOM in Seoul, from this Friday, January 7 to March 6. Oh Young-soo, a veteran actor who rose to stardom after acting in the Netflix's original series, "Squid Game," will take the lead as Freud, with Shin Goo, another veteran actor, also playing the founder of psychoanalysis.

The play, "Richard III," will be led by Hwang Jung-min, who is better known as a screen actor, at the Seoul Arts Center from Jan. 11 to Feb. 13. He will be acting in the play for the first time in four years. Actor Jung Kyung-ho, who has appeared in megahit TV drama series such as "Crash Landing on You" and "Hospital Playlist," will make his play debut with Tony Kushner's 1991 play, "Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika," the Part One of which premiered in November. The four-hour show will run at Myeongdong Theater from Feb. 25 to March. 27.

"King Lear" by Shakespeare will be turned into a changgeuk (a Korean traditional opera) by the National Changgeuk Company of Korea, and performed at the theater from March 17 to 27.

"Kim Ji-young, Born 1982," a play adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same title, will be premiered at Baekam Art Hall from Aug. 30 to Nov. 13.

Han Kang's award-winning novel, "The Vegetarian," will be adapted into a play by the National Theater Company of Korea (NTCK). The adaptation will open at the theater from Sept. 2 to Sept. 25.

Park Ji-won

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