The cast of musical "Wedding Singer" at the press conference [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]
A guy who sweats hard while singing a song at a wedding and a guy who proposes with a romantic guitar performance. This guy, who may seem like two different people, is an aspiring songwriter named Robbie Hart, the wedding singer. The 1998 hit film starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler has transformed into a musical and landed in Korea. The press conference for musical “The Wedding Singer”, set for a world premiere in Korea on November 27, was held at Doosan Art Center on October 20.
Demonstration performance from "Wedding Singer" [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]썝蹂몃낫湲 븘씠肄
The character who leads the musical “The Wedding Singer” is none other than Robbie Hart. The timid yet romantic Robbie will be played by actors Hwang Jung-min and Park Geon-hyeong, who both started in theater but are now better suit movie stars. The two actors grabbed attention during the 20-minute demonstration performance by showcasing two very different Robbies. Hwang put forth his unique country-style appeal, while Park who “got a perm for the first time ever” is likely to capture the audience with his cheeky charm. Besides the attractiveness of Robbie's character, many of the cast and crew members say the musical set in the 1980s offers plenty of “cheerful and energetic” performances. With powerful choreography and disco music representing the 80s style, the love between Julia and Robbie who sing “I'll even let you hold the remote control” will melt the cold hearts of the audience. Like director Choi Sung-shin said he hopes to make “a story where we can share our hearts”, will the musical “Wedding Singer” be able to deliver warmth and happiness to us during the cold year-end? The musical is set to run from November 27 to January 31 at Chungmu Art Hall. Below are excerpts from a joint interview after the highlight demo performance.
Actor Hwang Jung-min as Robbie [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]썝蹂몃낫湲 븘씠肄
Q: You are working on a lot of things besides TV dramas and movies. Is there a special reason you chose to star in the musical “Wedding Singer”?
Hwang Jung-min (Hwang): I had received many offers these days. Personally, what I consider important is communication with the audience. So communication becomes a criteria for selecting my next work. Last time, I did the musical “Nine” but the communication wasn’t so great at the time. (laugh) Personally, I wanted to show that the musical genre isn’t just about happy, cheerful stories but the audience had a hard time with it. So then, I thought, what if I did something more light, happy and cheerful? I'm sometimes a nuisance at the rehearsal studio because I’m old, (laugh) but I’m trying to go with a young attitude. I’m not going have surgeries because I’m old. (laugh)
Actor Park Geon-hyeong as Robbie [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]썝蹂몃낫湲 븘씠肄
Q: The main character Robbie Hart is going to be played by two actors, Hwang Jung-min and Park Geon-hyeong. You two have different images and you both displayed different charms during the demonstration performance. How are getting into the character?
Hwang: I am currently working on sharing my thoughts [about the character] with Geon-hyeong. What I can tell you for sure is that I at least want our curly hairstyles to be different. (laugh) The most important thing is that there is only one Robbie Hart and we have to show him in a way that will make the audience feel the same way about him. But the character is played by two different actors so it is going to be different. In a way, I think that’s a good thing for the musical.
Park Geon-hyeon (Park): We have different images so there will be scenes that suit us better separately. But that’s not much of a problem -- I think it will be a fun element. So, what I’m saying is, you must see the show twice. (laugh)
Actress Bang Jin-ui as Julia [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]썝蹂몃낫湲 븘씠肄
Bang: First, they are not the same age. (laugh) I don’t really know yet. It’s been two weeks since we started rehearsing and it would be a lie to say that I know the difference. While Hwang is awkward around me, he’s down-to-earth and honest. On the other hand, Geon-hyeon is a little cheesy. His stares are a little overwhelming. (laugh) In those aspects, I guess you could say they are opposites. But what they have in common is that they both rehearse very very hard.
Q: Park recently finished the musical “Three Musketeers”. What kind of transformation are you preparing for this show?
Park: I got my first perm ever. (laugh) Just as Jung-min hates his naturally curly hair, I'm tired of my straight hair. (laugh) It could be said that the “Three Musketeers” was a western historical play. (laugh) But “Wedding Singer” is different from my previous works. In the past, most of the musicals I did contained a lot of powerful choreography, but this one is different. Robbie is not a quiet character but acting-wise, he is a little more quiet and timid than the previous characters I played. The decisive factor in taking on this musical was because it was a happy story. I want to deliver this feeling of happiness to the audience.
Q: Since it is based on a film, there are memories of the lovely Drew Barrymore from the movie. How do you plan to portray Bang Jin-ui’s version of Julia?
Bang Jin-ui (Bang): To be honest, I do feel some pressure because Drew Barrymore was so great. But I think she could still come off as a lovely character if I do my best with the situation. I didn’t have a particularly different approach to the character. I’m going to practice very hard with the two Robbies.
Actress Yoon Gong-joo as Holly [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]썝蹂몃낫湲 븘씠肄
Yoon Gong-joo: I actually prepared for the audition as Julia. But then I started hearing that Holly was a very attractive role, so I looked up all the performance videos and the movie. When I saw them again, I realized that Holly is the one that makes Julia shine. And Holly is a very passionate dancer. I think I also wanted to dance. (laugh) Most people think that I have the image for Julia's part, but I personally wanted to break that image.
Q: Only one person, Bang Jin-ui, has been cast to play Julia. You act with the two Robbies, Hwang and Park, who would you say is closer to your ideal man?
Hwang: Say Geon-hyeong. I’m married. (laugh)
Bang: I’ll go with Park Geon-hyeong since there is more of a chance. (laugh) It's going to be tough rehearsing in the future.
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