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'Showman' takes home best musical of the year

Jan. 17, 2023 - 19:10 By Park Ga-young
Winners for best actor, Yoon Na-mu (top), and best actress, Lee Ja-ram, speak at the 7th Korea Musical Awards ceremony at LG Arts Center in Seoul on Monday. (Korea Musical Theatre Association)

“Showman: A Dictator’s Fourth Body Double,” a black comedy created by a Korean creative team, took home the award for best musical of the year at the 7th Korea Musical Awards ceremony, Monday evening at LG Arts Center in Seoul.

“Showman,” a story revolving around Nebula, a mysterious, eccentric old man who insists that he is a body double, and Sua, a fake photographer who tries to prey on Nebula, was created by writer Han Jung-seok, composer Lee Sun Young, and director Park So-young. It ran from March 29 to May 15 last year at the National Jeongdong Theater of Korea.

"'Showman' is neither spectacular nor special. Having said that, if you feel touched when stepping out of the theater, that means it's a good musical and I believe 'Showman' is recognized as such a work," Chung Sung-sook, CEO of the National Jeongdong Theater of Korea, which produced the musical, said during the ceremony. "It will return to the stage this September, please come and check out," she added.

The award for best musical of the year, presented to an original production that premiered during the year regardless of production size, “Showman” was in competition with “Frida,” “Almond,” “Let Me Fly,” “ Sylvia, Live” and "L'Art Reste."

"Showman" grabbed two more trophies Monday, with Yoon Na-mu recognized for best actor and Han Jung-seok for best script.

The award for best actress was given to Lee Ja-ram of “Seopyeonje.” Lee appeared in the musical for 12 years, from the premiere to the last season last year.

“Death Note” bagged four awards, including for best musical with 400 seats or more, best supporting actor, best production and best staging technique.

The honor for best among productions with fewer than 400 seats was given to "Let Me Fly," which also was recognized for best composer and best new actor.

The candidates for the seventh edition of the awards were selected among 94 first or re-runs of creative and licensed works that opened in Korea from Dec. 1, 2021 to Dec. 4, 2022. A total of 200 voters, including 100 industry personnel composed of actors, writers, composers, directors, planners, creators, theater officials, critics and reporters, and 100 musical audience members.

This year's ceremony took place Monday at LG Arts Center in Magok, western Seoul, and was livestreamed in 154 countries.