Many Koreans have seen or are familiar with the 1964 film "My Fair Lady
", which stars Audrey Hepburn, an icon of beauty and grace that even the young generation looks up to.
Starting later this month, the local OD Musical Company plans to stage Korea's first musical version of the classic story.
"Because the original Broadway show premiered in 1956, people might think it's a bit late to stage the show here now, but we thought there is definitely a need for classic shows like this", said producer Shin Chun-soo
at a July 28 press conference in Seoul.
Shin also said that, while there is a wide selection of musicals, including homemade ones, currently on local stages, finding quality shows is a different matter.
"The show is what everyone grew up with and considered the greatest story in the West, with the well-made set, good music and costumes creating a good harmony", said David Swan, the show's director. "And the romantic and exciting story is more than just a Cinderella story".
Swan, of the United States, has worked with OD on its past five musicals.
This version has been cut to two and a half hours, compared to the original's three hours, and is modified in other ways better suiting the sentiments and culture of Koreans, Shin said.
The producer added that, while the show will be staged in Korean, they have left some parts in English because the humor comes from words or phrases unique to the Western language.
For example, the famous scene involving the phrase, "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain", will be delivered in English.
Since the original musical's fun is mostly based on the main character Eliza Doolittle being unable to pronounce words properly, it remains to be seen whether the local version of the show can deliver the same degree of humor.
TV actor Lee Hyung-chul
, who was featured in the recently completed SBS drama "On Air"
, will make his musical debut as Henry Higgins, while Kim So-hyun, a well-known musical actress who starred in numerous shows like "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", will play the role of Eliza Doolittle.
Lim Hye-young, the winner of "Singing in the Sky" - a reality show which began airing in April to select the other Eliza for the musical - will be an alternate to Kim in the main role.
The OD Musical Company is hopeful that the show will do well, in light of the news that a movie remake starring British actress Keira Knightley will premiere next year.
"My Fair Lady
" will be staged from Aug. 22-Sept. 14 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets run from 20,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call (02) 501-7888.
By Koh Young-aah