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Hedwig

Posted May. 24, 2007 03:34,   

한국어

John Cameron Mitchell wrote the text, directed the film, and played the main character in “Hedwig,” a musical theater production and film. He visited Korea to participate in a “Hedwig” concert to be held at Jamsil Stadium on May 27 and 29.

Oh Man-seok, who gained the nickname “Oh-dwig” when the musical premiered in Korea two years ago, has been waiting for the opportunity to meet Mitchell since the dates for Mitchell’s visit were decided. Oh talked with Mitchell in English without an interpreter for one and half hours.

Mitchell’s response to “Oh-dwig,” after watching a video recording of Oh’s performance was, “What a voice! Your Hedwig is prettier than mine.” Oh said, “I have seen the movie ‘Hedwig’ more than ten times. Every time I admired it, wondering ‘Who made such a fine movie?’”

Mitchell recalled that his performance was so consuming emotionally and physically that he did not have strength even to remove his make-up after the show. Oh responded, “Exactly. I used to sit absent-mindedly with a cigarette for 20 minutes after finishing my performance.” Mitchell expressed his intention to invite Oh to a 10th anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall next year.

“Hedwig,” a musical about a transgender rock and roll singer, premiered in the U.S. in 1998 and has since been performed in about 70 cities around the world. Mitchell said that the biggest hit was made “definitely in Korea.”

The musical “Hedwig” was staged in Daehak-ro in 2005 after the movie was first introduced in 2002. The musical has attracted an audience of almost 200,000. Oh won Best Male Actor at the Korean Musical Awards.

Mitchell said, “I hope the audience will realize that being different is not always bad.”

When Oh said, “95% of the ‘Hedwig’ audience has comprised young women,” Mitchell, who made a public announcement of homosexuality, made a joke with a mischievous expression, “Then, please make cute guys sit in the first row.”

All the actors who played Hedwig in the musical, including Oh, Kim Da-hyeon, Song Yong-jin and Eom Ki-joon, except for Cho Seung-woo, will participate in the “Hedwig” concert. Mitchell said, “I am practicing Korean to sing a Korean song – “Wings” by Korean group Mott – which I chose for Korean fans.” For any inquiries, please call 02-3285-8711.



sjkang@donga.com