Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ju Ji-hun quits musical 'Doctor Zhivago


Actor Ju Ji-hun has decided not to star in the musical “Doctor Zhivago,” a work that was to be his comeback stage after some two year absence from the entertainment business.

Ju’s agency said that the actor has damaged his vocal chords and that doctors have recommended that he stop practicing for the show that will go on stage at Charlotte Theater on Jan. 27.

Ju is a popular star whose works include the hit television drama “Princess Hours” (2006). But in 2009, he was slapped with a six-month prison term suspended for one year for taking ecstasy in March 2008 during parties with fellow entertainers. He was also sentenced 120 hours of community service and a 360,000 won fine. He entered his mandatory military service in February 2010 and was discharged last November.

OD Musical, the producing company of “Doctor Zhivago,” said that Ju’s role was not dominant and that they are currently searching for Ju’s replacement. In January, Hong Kwang-ho, who was scheduled to alternate the role with Ju, will cover the show for January.

The musical will run through June. 

And I was so heppey reading this:
'Doctor Zhivago' staged in musical Hong Kwang-ho

By Kwon Mee-yoo

A musical version of Boris Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago” will be staged in Korea in January 2012 at the Charlotte Theater in southern Seoul. Best known for the 1965 movie adaptation featuring Omar Sharif as Doctor Yuri Zhivago, the story revolves around Zhivago’s life and love amid the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent Russian Civil War. The musical began as a tryout at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2006 as “Zhivago”; and the first major production — “Doctor Zhivago” — premiered after revision at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney, Australia in February 2011 with Anthony Warlow as Zhivago and Lucy Ju Ji-hun Maunder as Lara. 

The Korean production will be another tryout before heading to the West End and Broadway. Shin Chun-soo of OD Musical Company participated in the musical as one of the producers in a general partnership. He produced “Dreamgirls” in Korea in 2009 and said it made him enter the global network of musical producers, leading to “Doctor Zhivago.” “Set in Russia in the early 1900s, the musical is about a woman and the three men who loved her. It is rather a personal, sensitive story,” Shin said. “I am sure that the Korean audiences will love this musical with high literary value.” 

In the Korean rendition, musical actor Hong Kwang-ho and model-turned-actor Ju Ji-hun will alternate the role of Zhivago. Ju, who debuted in the 2006 drama “Princess Hours” and starred in “Devil” (2007) and “The Naked Kitchen” (2009), received a suspended jail term for illegal drug use in 2009 and entered military service in early 2010. This is his return to the entertainment scene after some three years and he has received much of the spotlight for choosing a musical for his comeback. “I know I owe a debt that cannot be repaid to my family and fans. I am taking it seriously,” he said at a press conference. “I concluded that the only thing I could do is to act better. If I have to apologize or recompense, I must to do the best thing I can do and for me, that is acting.” 

Hong, who shares the role with Ju, is known for his career in musicals, including Raoul and Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” and Jekyll in “Jekyll and Hyde.” Producer Shin said that Hong is the most musically gifted actor in Korea. “My heart throbbed when I saw a video clip of Zhivago and Lara singing a song from the show ‘Now,’” Hong said. “I usually choose the script and music that move my heart, but this time, I feel I was selected by Zhivago.” 

The musical casts actresses Kim Ji-woo and Jeun Mi-do as Lara, the love interest of Zhivago. Kim previously starred in the musicals “Rent” and “Legally Blonde.” “This is the first time for me to perform in such a big musical,” she said. “I will learn a lot from this musical and break the prejudice against me that I am not so good at singing.” Jeun, who played Lingling in “Hero” and recently Nina in Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull,” said she only read the script once for the audition. “Lara’s character had the power to charm — I wonder what made her fascinate the three men and I hope I can express the appeal of Lara best.” 
Choi Hyun-joo will play Tonia, the wife of Zhivago. Choi was the diva in “The Phantom of the Opera” both in Korea and Japan. “Joining a Korean premiere production of such a great musical is an honor to me. It is always thrilling to perform with new people in a new musical,” she said. Actor Kang Pil-suk will play Lara’s husband Pasha. “I am attracted to Pasha, whose pure heart is shaken by the era and becomes a man of vengeance,” Kang said. Most of the actors are in their late 20s or early 30s, relatively young compared to other veteran actors who play lead roles in other big musicals. “I hope ‘Doctor Zhivago’ will bring a new wave to the Korean musical scene. The actors’ subtle portrayal of characters will be a sign of the shift in generations,” producer Shin said. The musical, with music by Lucy Simon, lyrics Michael Korie and Amy Powers and book by Michael Weller, is directed by Tony Award-winning Des McAnuff. The musical runs from Jan. 27, 2012 to June 3 at the Charlotte Theater. Tickets cost from 70,000 to 130,000 won. For more, visit or call 1588-5212.