April 28th, 2012 by Oh! Kpop
Moby Dick ends triumphant run Sunday
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Scenes from the musical theater production Moby Dick.
‘By Kwon Mee-yoo
The musical Moby Dick will end its voyage Sunday at Yonkang Hall of Doosan Art Center in central Seoul. Tickets are selling better than ever and the last performance is nearly sold out.
The show begins with Ishmael playing modern jazz and develops into a duet with him on the piano and harpooner Queequeg, whose violin bow doubles as his harpoon, as they become friends. The sound of the sea and the waves is expressed through Latin rhythms such as the samba.
The musical has received critical acclaim for its unique use of actors playing musical instruments while simultaneously acting. It premiered at 110-seat theater Space 111 last July and then transferred to the 600-seat Yonkang Hall in March with improved music, more spectacular sets and new actor/musicians.
Composer and music director Chung Yea-kyung, 28, is the person behind the flowing and elegant melodies.
Chung was a precocious musical talent. She won the MBC Children’s Song Contest with a song of her own in the sixth grade and graduated from the Department of Composition Studies at Seoul National University. Her sense of perfect pitch is well-known through an encounter with esteemed soprano Sumi Jo.
When Chung was a high school senior, Jo lost the sheet music for her orchestra and she had to wait a week to get another copy of the score from Rome. Jo heard about “music prodigy” Chung and asked her to listen to the music and write down the score. She finished the job in five hours.
Since then, Chung has arranged orchestration for Jo in Korea and worked with other artists such as Italian chamber orchestra I Musici, pianist Paik Hae-sun and cellist Mischa Maisky.
Extending the boundary of classical music, she released her first album “Cocktail Tale” as a singer-songwriter in 2006.
In 2010, Chung joined Moby Dick as composer, pianist and singer-songwriter.
“I always had the idea of writing a musical and the opportunity came suddenly when director Cho Yong-shin contacted me”, Chung said. “I wanted to write a musical that music dominates the whole show and becomes a part of the direction”.
She loved musical films such as “Singin’ in the Rain” from elementary school and went on a backpacking trip to see Broadway musicals while at university.
The project saw the light as it was selected for CJ Creative Minds, a support program for young musical creative staff, in November 2010.
Her aim was clear from the beginning. “The music of Moby Dick should be artistic and played by professional musicians”, she said.
The match between the characters and the musical instruments struck her almost instinctively, she said.
“The musical began from the concept of actors playing the musical instruments. However, I could not give up basic musical balance. I needed a bass, drums and piano at the minimum to create rhythm, melody and harmony”, the composer said. “Then I added instruments that could add more tune and style to the show. For instance, third mate Flask is a talkative character and portrayed by a brass player and a woodwind player, alternately”.
Unlike other musicals, Moby Dick heavily relies on each cast member’s ability. The arrangement changed several times when a new actor/musician joined the show.
She produced new scores every time the actors changed. “When an instrument is replaced by another, I have to rearrange the whole number. I have written at least eight drafts”, she said.
After a successful premiere of Moby Dick last summer, Chung left for the United States to study for a master’s degree at New York University’s scoring for film and multimedia program.
However, she temporarily left school after the first semester to join the encore of the show but her cousin Kim Jae-hyun, CEO of Musical Moby Dick Company and Crevisse Partners, advised her to finish what she had begun.
Kim also invested in the musical with individual angel investors, fueling the second run of “Moby Dick“. “These angel investors invested in our project to enrich culture and create new values”, Chung said. “Other creators and I also invested in the musical and we have a strong sense of ownership”.
Second voyage of ‘Moby Dick‘
Chung said the second season of Moby Dick strengthened the storyline and direction. “We premiered in a small theater and it could be led by music in an atmosphere like a jazz bar. However, the encore is in a proscenium theater where audiences see the show more objectively”, she said.
She added three new songs including “The Song of Wave” and the 110-minute one-act play was extended to a 140-minute show with an intermission. Finding the right performers was the biggest challenge. “We met musicians and actors with the flimsiest possibility and were disappointed a lot. We literally had our antennas on to find the right person”, Chung said. “That’s how we found sprouting talent now on board Pequod now”.
She said she went to school with gypsy violinist KoN, playing Queequeg, and talked him into the project. “We were introduced to handsome pianist Shin Ji-ho, who had already featured in a television show”, she said. “Ji Hyun-jun, who joined the second run as Queequeg, is a veteran actor who happened to learn violin for years and we spotted him playing the violin at a talent show”.
The music of Moby Dick adheres to the story and characters. A 16-track album was recently released which includes all numbers from the show.
As a pioneer of the genre in which actors play musical instruments, Chung is eager to present new works and nurture artists.
“In the process of developing Moby Dick, I grew up, as did the performers”, she said. “I have several ideas for a new musical and will have a workshop when I find the right people”.
Moby Dick runs through Sunday. Tickets cost from 45,000 to 65,000 won.
For more information, visit www.musicalmobydick.com or call 1577-3363.Tags : BOA, Dia, friend, ham, Psy, Tickets, Uee, United States kpop dick kpop big dick