Forays into musicals by TV and movie actors have become common, but not for older actors.
But no one is ever too old to try something new. Veteran TV and movie actor No Joo-hyun
will make his musical debut as a central figure in the upcoming musical "Fiddler on the Roof", to be staged from November in Seoul.
Although he acted in plays during his early career, this is his first attempt at a musical. Many people, including his fans, are curious as to why an established actor like him wants to try a new genre at 63.
"Musicals are something that I have never tried before, but I accepted the opportunity without any hesitation", said Noh in a meeting with reporters Monday.
Noh said that he was very excited when he was offered the opportunity, because ever since he saw "Cats" on Broadway in the early 1990s he had been drawn to musicals and wanted to do one himself.
Noh made his TV debut in 1970 and has starred mostly in melodramas. Although he surprised his fans in 2000 by taking on a comic role in the TV sitcom "No One Can Easily Stop Them", his image is still engraved as a romantic actor.
"But as a father of two, I've always wanted to play the role of a typical loving and dedicated father", Noh said. It was why he chose "Fiddler on the Roof", a family story, as his debut musical.
In the show, Noh will play the role of Tevye - the philosophical Jewish milkman living in Russia who strives to maintain his family while keeping the Jewish religion and customs alive - in the domestic production of the Broadway show that premiered in 1964.
The show's sentiment, according to Noh, is very similar to that of the past patriarchal culture in Korea, and Tevye is similar to many dedicated Korean fathers. Given that, Noh said he could relate a lot to Tevye's character.
Noh said he especially sympathized Tevye in the scene where he weeps on seeing his daughter's room after she is married and moves out. "I felt and acted the same way when my daughter got married. I was so sorry that my eyes even watered", the actor said.
Noh said he was a little worried, but overall confident, about singing and dancing in the show.
For the singing part, Noh, who has no music background, said he was already rehearsing the numbers from the show, including the well-known "Sunrise, Sunset". He expected that with practice, he could manage around 10 solo tunes.
The dancing part seems to be more of a problem for the veteran actor.
"The solo dancing scenes are pretty much me just shaking my body without any exact choreography", said Noh, laughing. Other than that, he is mostly involved in group dances.
"I believe in myself and therefore am confident, and I hope that the show will be successful in attracting a big audience because it is a good show for families to watch at the year-end", Noh said.
Noh also mentioned the difficulties he went through in his 40-year career. He said that due to irregular income and low status of a career in entertainment, he once gave up on his job and tried establishing his own business in his thirties.
However, he said his love for his career grew even more after he became 40.
"Fiddler on the Roof" will be staged at the National Theater of Korea from Nov. 21 to Dec. 27. Tickets run from 30,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call (02) 501-7888.
By Koh Young-aah