My HanCinema | Sign up, Why ? Your E-mail   Password    Auto| Help
HanCinema :: The Korean Movie and Drama Database, discover the South Korean cinema and drama diversity Contact HanCinema HanCinema on TwitterFaceBook HanCinema PageHanCinema on Twitter
NewsLetter DailyWeekly

Musical portray modern family woes

2012/01/21 | 434 views |  | Permalink | Source

Learn to read Korean in 90 minutes or less using visual associations

Lee Jung-yeol, left, and Kolleen Park act in a scene from the musical "Next to Normal". / Courtesy of Musical Heaven

By Kwon Mee-yoo

The rock musical "Next to Normal" brings the story of a perfect-looking middle class family to the stage.

Dan (played by Nam Kyung-joo and Lee Jung-yeol) is an architect and devoted father with two children - his handsome and mischievous 18-year-old son Gabe (Han Ji-sang and Choi Jae-rim) and sweet, overachieving daughter Natalie (Oh So-yeon). However, their day goes wrong as the mother Diana tries to make too many sandwiches by spreading the ingredients on the table, a chair and even the floor.

She has been suffering from manic-depression with hallucinations for 16 years, casting a shadow over the whole family. A crack has been developing for years. Dan is exhausted and Natalie becomes rebellious, suffering from a lack of motherly love.

In this production, Kolleen Park and Kim Ji-hyun alternate in portraying the fragile character. Park is famed music director of "Rent" in Korea who also led the chorus on hit KBS show "Qualifications of a Man". Kim is a veteran actress who was once a member of Japanese theater company Shiki and played Velma Kelly in "Chicago" here in 2008.

Park plays an edgy, sensitive woman suffering a mental disorder, while Kim is more subtle in expressing how Diana deals with her longtime problem.

Nam and Lee show Dan worn out by endless efforts to keep his family somewhat normal.

The show is composed of layers of relations between the characters. Diana and Dan's relationship overlaps with that of Natalie and her boyfriend Henry, while Dan and Gabe create symmetry around Diana. Each character copes with their own problems in their own way.

The set is like a contemporary art piece. A silvery iron structure divides the stage into nine blocks which the actors dash around.
The ruptured space is similar to the breached relationships among the family members. With lights changing from white to red and purple to black, the scaffolding transforms between a middle-class house and Diana's fractured mentality. The set also embodies the thin line between reality and fantasy and present and past.

A six-member band is situated on the second and third level of the stage, instead of in the orchestra pit, and performs more than 30 original rock songs, ranging from country to ballads.

Diana and Dan's conflict bursts out in "You Don't Know", while Gabe asserts his presence through "I'm Alive". Diana is desperate enough to attempt suicide in "Catch Me I'm Falling" and "I Dreamed a Dance" and her electroconvulsive therapy is described in "Wish I Were Here".

Instead of heading to a stereotyped "everyone-lives-happily-ever-after" ending, "Next to Normal" shows how Life Goes on for the Goodman family in a rather ordinary, calm way. Diana finally confesses the family secret to her daughter and Natalie sings with Dan, "Give me pain if that's what's real. It's the price we pay to feel".

With script and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt, the play made its debut off-Broadway in 2008.

Currently onstage at the Yonkang Hall of Doosan Arts Center in Jongno, central Seoul, the musical runs through Feb. 12. Tickets cost from 60,000 to 90,000 won. For more information, visit or call (02) 744-4033.

Attention You're reading the news with potential spoilers, make them spoiler free, dismiss


Comment Policy

- Stay on topic and do not spam.
- Post only in English, as this is an English language community.
- Do not request or mention illegal download/streaming services.
- Do not post sexist, racist, homophobic or other hateful and discriminatory content.
- Refrain from abusive language.
- No graphic content allowed.
- Respect the right of other users to share their opinion. Arguments are welcome, fights are not.

Comments which break the rules will be moderated or erased. Repeated rule breaking will result in warnings followed by blacklisting upon non-compliance.

 Previous news
  • Social justice level in Korea to stay low in 2020: report
    2012/01/21 (Source)
    "Media is full of news on corruption by high-ranking government officials, business leaders and rich people. Parents try not to send their sons to mandatory military service and candidates for Cabinet ministers turn out to be corrupt in the screening process. Frankly, immorality is engulfing the cou,...More

  • 60% of Koreans Believe Social System Causes Poverty
    2012/01/21 (Source)
    A majority of Koreans believe the country's social structure is to blame for poverty, according to a study by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs. In the study, 58.2 percent of respondents said Korea's social structure is responsible. Only 41.8 percent said poverty is due to a lack of,...More

  • Mina Cheon treats politics like lollipops
    2012/01/21 (Source)
    Artist Mina Cheon poses in front of her work "Yes, We Can! Obama & Me" currently on exhibit at,...More

Subscribe to HanCinema Pure to remove ads from the website (not for episode and movie videos) for US$2.99 per month (you can cancel anytime).
The first step is to be a member, please click here : Sign up, then a subscribe button will show up.


Remove ads

Sign up




Visible, hide

By Cédric Collemine | Privacy policy | Contact | Partners

Mobile version