By Victoria L. Dammer
If you don’t know what K-pop (Korean pop music) is, you might not live on planet earth, and you’re missing some of the most famous rock, hip-hop, and electronic music, loudly performed with synchronized dance movements. This energizing genre has traveled around the globe like lightning, and finally, KPOP has come to Broadway. The show is a spectacular treat to both eyes and ears.
With a storyline that exposes the downside and struggle, and rewards of success in becoming a member of a girl or boy K-pop group or a solo artist, the music and dance moves performed by the company had the audience screaming and swaying to the techno sound. They packed the Circle in the Square theater to capacity.
This Broadway production stars Luna (MwE), the South Korean singer, musical actress, main vocalist, and lead dancer of the K-pop girl group f(x). MwE struggles with becoming a female rising star in an industry that often leaves no survivors, and her mentor and dance captain Ruby (Jully Lee) is, for lack of a better term, a Tiger-Mom, who wants success as much as MwE does. The production also stars veteran K-pop star BoHyung in her role as Tiny.
On the boy side of fame, Brad (Zachary Noah Piser) struggles to fit in with the Korean members of his group, with his inability to speak the language and their overall coolness to him as he tries to fit in. Korean-American singer, songwriter, and former member of U-KISS Kevin Woo (Jun Hyuk) was an audience favorite, and every time he danced, all eyes were upon him. The audience’s screams were deafening. Warning, grab earplugs at the front door because it’s loud, deafening, and thunderous from the first dance until the end.
Honestly, every actor on the stage was exalted every time they sang and danced.
The dance moves are incredibly dynamic, with members of their respective groups switching positions during every routine. The costumes were dazzling throughout the show, and the lighting was a techno feat of magic, pulsing to the beat of the K-pop sound.
But the ending dance finale, where both groups combined in one incredible performance, brought the noise level to a crescendo rarely heard on Broadway. It was more like a concert, and those in attendance were sorry the show was over so quickly.
See the show, and you’ll understand why K-pop and its stars have taken over the musical universe.
KPOP, produced by Tim Forbes and Joey Parnes; conceived by Woodshed Collective and Jason Kim and features a book by Mr. Kim; music, lyrics, music production and arrangements by Helen Park; and music and lyrics by Max Vernon; direction by Teddy Bergman; choreography by Jennifer Weber; music direction by Sujin Kim-Ramsey; scenic design by Gabriel Hainer Evansohn; costume design by Clint Ramos & Sophia Choi; lighting design by Jiyoun Chang; sound design by Peter Fitzgerald & Andrew Keister, projection design by Peter Nigrini; hair & wig design by Mia M. Neal; makeup design by Joe Dulude II & Suki Tsujimoto; casting by Tara Rubin Casting; production stage management by Cherie B. Tay; press represented by DKC/O&M.
KPOP features Luna, in the starring role of MwE, along with Julia Abueva, BoHyung, Major Curda, Jinwoo Jung, Jiho Kang, Amy Keum, James Kho, Marina Kondo, Eddy Lee, Joshua Lee, Jully Lee, Lina Rose Lee, Timothy H. Lee, Abraham Lim, Min, Kate Mina Lin, Aubie Merrylees, Patrick Park, Zachary Noah Piser, Kevin Woo, and John Yi.
KPOP at Circle in the Square Theatre, 235 W. 50th Street, NYC.
Running time is approximately 135 minutes with a 15-minute intermission.
Tickets are available at KPOP – Broadway | Tickets | Broadway | Broadway.com