Cast: Taeyeon Hong Eun-joo (as Kaoru), Koh Joon-shik Jung Sun-young (as Koji), Lee Kyung-joon Park Bong-jin (as dad)
In one sentence: The story about Kaoru who suffers from a rare disease yet continues to love and does not lose hope up until the moment of her death
Showing date: May 7 to 29, 2010 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts
Kaoru (played by Taeyeon) suffers from a rare disease called xeroderma pigmentosum which dries up her skin and contracts her muscles when exposed to strong ultraviolet rays of sunlight, yet she ironically lives on a small beach called 'The Village of the Sun.' The people of the village enjoy the summers, making a living off tourists who visit to surf during the high season but Kaoru sleeps while everyone lives such a life and instead wakes up at night and sings when everyone is in bed. The sole reason she can bear living a lonely life is because of singing and Koji (played by Koh Joon-shik) whom she has admired for a long time. Kaoru lives each day to the fullest although she cannot see the beautiful sunrise nor check the surfing skills of the man she so loves.
Musical "Midnight Sun," which has received much hype after news broke that female idol group member Taeyeon has been cast to play the main character, is based on a Japanese novel from 2006 of the same name. The film version of the novel starring Japanese artist and singer Yui and the drama adaptation with Erika Sawajiri was received well not only in its home country but in Korea as well. The musical will run from May 7 to 29 at the M Theater of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul, South Korea.
A musical which is for, by and is Tayeon's: 7
Many idol singers have recently been taking their shot at musicals, regardless of whether they are original or licensed productions -- Big Bang's Daesung in "Cats," Big Bang's Seungri in "Shouting," Girls' Generation's Jessica in "Legally Blonde," TVXQ's Xiah Junsu in "Mozart!," Super Junior's Yesung and Sungmin in "Hong Gil-dong," and SHINee's Onew in "Hey, Bro!" But aside from the massive number of tickets their shows sell, the appearance of idol stars in musicals continues to remain an issue of heated controversy, the topic being that the characters they play are different from the images they have portrayed as idols so far and that their acting is awkward.
This is why Taeyeon receives the highest mark for her role in "Midnight Sun." Her role as Kaoru is in perfect sync with Taeyeon's originally cheerful and cute image that the public have become so used to, and her clear tone too is quite befitting of Kaoru's tone. Her singing ability, which has already been proven through her contribution to a number of drama soundtracks, also goes quite well with musical numbers. The musical is even more ideal for Taeyeon's voice because the production adopts music used in its movie adaptation, including "Goodbye Days" and "Skyline," which breaks away from grandioseness of typical musical tunes and rather stimulates the audiences' sensitivity. But the reason her singing ability can receive such attention is that of the 12 songs in the musical, five of them are sung almost solo by Kaoru. From the very start, the production does not leave any room for controversy regarding the ensemble work of the idol singer.
Taeyeon does a better job than expected and the musical draws attention with its musical numbers and cheerful choreography but "Midnight Sun" leaves much left to be desired for. Many of the characters are cliche -- from the slow-witted main male character to the nosy middle-aged lady to the idiotic friend to the juvenile jocks who disregard the main character. It is true that the story is about Kaoru but outside of her, most of the characters are extremely typical and one-dimensional, as well as their acting being exaggerated. Also, the slightly dull development of the story touches lightly on Kaoru's rare disease, making her death seem quite plain. It would have been nice if the interest and affection for the production had been distributed equally throughout. Taeyeon is not the only one in "Midnight Sun."
Reporter : Jang Kyung-Jin three@
Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@
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