The Korean-language production of Go-Go Beach, which has book and lyrics by Toronto-based John Wimbs Jr. and music by New Yorkers Michael Shaieb and Brent Lord, plays the Towol Theater in the Seoul Arts Center in Seoul, South Korea.
This marks the first fully-produced high-profile staging of the new musical, which has been in development since late 2000, and which won the Audience Choice Award when a cutting of the show played at Toronto's 2003 SummerWorks Festival.
Through a licensing agreement with the creative team and North American producer Jonathan Schwartz of PopTeen Productions, the Korean staging of Go-Go Beach is being produced by OD (Open Door) Musical Company (Korean producers of The King and I, Grease, Guys and Dolls) and BOM (Broadway Oversea Management), a New York-based producing, booking and consulting company for the Korean market, which was the investment consultant for Baz Luhrmann's La Bohème and Harold Prince's Hollywood Arms, and the co-producers of the Korean productions of De La Guarda and The Full Monty.
The western musical theatre industry is finding out that the Korean appetite for musicals is huge. At one point in recent seasons, there were competing Korean-language productions of Jonathan Larson's tick, tick...BOOM! The Korean staging of Mamma Mia! is a smash at the Seoul Arts Center.
Go-Go Beach will feature popular Korean television and stage actress So Yeon Kim (The King & I, The Phantom of the Opera) as pop star Mindy Chinchilla, and Korean heart-throb Kunhyung Park (Saturday Night Fever) as surfing king Woody. According to notes from the creative team, "Go-Go Beach is a musical valentine to the popular beach party movies of the 1960s. It is a coming-of-age story about a surfer who gets into trouble with his girlfriend when he falls for a runaway teen pop star, and his relationship with a flower child who helps him get back in touch with the waves."
The show features 18 original songs inspired by pop music from the decade: the Surf Sound, Girl Groups, Go-Go Music "and a little Flower Power as well."
Go-Go Beach was first presented as a staged reading in New York City in June 2001, and has since undergone an extensive developmental process. A previous version of the show was staged at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC by winners of the 2003 Cappie Awards (Critics & Awards Program), a national organization that honors the best musical theatre students from across the USA, and as a mainstage production at Concordia College in Minnesota. The show was most recently staged at the University of Northern Colorado following an intensive workshop with the professional musical theatre department.
"Audience response to Go-Go Beach has been overwhelmingly positive," book writer and lyricist John Wimbs said. "We are extremely fortunate to have found so many opportunities to continue developing the show. All the hard work has paid off, and we've come up with a real crowd pleaser."
The next obvious step for the "crowd pleaser" would be a full professional staging on American shores, where the high context pop culture references might be best appreciated.
For more information, visit www.gogobeach.com.