In KPOP's recent string of performance video drops, fans can now re-live "America (Checkmate)" by the Broadway musical's boy band F8. The fictional music group was played by John Yi, Kevin Woo, Eddy Lee, Joshua Lee, Abraham Lim, James Kho, Jiho Kang, and Zachary Noah Piser for its Main Stem bow last year. Watch the number above.
The video has been released ahead of the original Broadway cast recording drop May 12. On the forthcoming album from Sony Masterworks Broadway, listeners will be able to follow along as fictional K-pop girl group RTMIS, boy band F8, and solo artist MwE come together for a one-night-only concert—while facing a variety of personal and cultural challenges that threaten one of the Korean pop industry's biggest music labels. Music producer Harvey Mason, Jr. is producing the album.
Fittingly, the KPOP cast album release date coincides with the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which occurs annually in May. The musical features music, lyrics, music production and arrangements by Helen Park, and music and lyrics by Max Vernon.
Park added, “Working on the songs for KPOP for the past 8 years was pure joy and a huge honor for me. Being able to bring a piece of my culture onto the Broadway stage was already a surreal experience, but to share that with the global audience through this album is an absolute dream come true. I hope listeners can feel the joy and love that went into creating the songs, and feel welcomed into the world of KPOP."
The show's cast features (in addition to the members already mentioned) Luna, Min, BoHyung, Marina Kondo, Lina Rose Lee, Julia Abueva, Major Curda, Jinwoo Jung, Amy Keum, Jully Lee, Timothy H. Lee, Kate Mina Lin, Aubie Merrylees, and Patrick Park.
KPOP began previews at Circle in the Square Theatre October 13, where it opened November 17 and ran through December 11. The show's abrupt end followed public discord between the show's company and New York Times theatre critic Jesse Green, whose negative review was described by KPOP's producers as "casual racism." KPOP struggled at the box office throughout its run, both before and after Green's review was published
Director Teddy Bergman helmed the production, which featured choreography by Jennifer Weber, music direction by Sujin Kim-Ramsey, scenic design by Gabriel Hainer Evansohn, costume design by Clint Ramos and Sophia Choi, lighting designer Jiyoun Chang, sound designers Peter Fitzgerald and Andrew Keister, projection design by Peter Nigrini, hair and wig design by Mia M. Neal, and makeup designer Suki Tsujimoto. Cherie B. Tay served as production stage manager, and casting was by Tara Rubin Casting.
Conceived by Jason Kim and the Woodshed Collective, KPOP features a book by Kim; music, lyrics, music production and arrangements by Helen Park; and music and lyrics by Max Vernon. It first opened Off-Broadway for its 2017 world premiere at Ars Nova. Ma-Yi Theater and the Woodshed Collective also contributed to bringing KPOP to the stage, and the musical ultimately took home three Lucille Lortel Awards (including Outstanding Musical), the 2018 Richard Rodgers Award, and an Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best Unique Theatrical Experience.