JYJ’s Junsu is about to hold his 300th musical performance. Six years have passed since his debut in 2010 in the musical “Mozart”, he has participated since in seven different productions, and on the 29th this month, with the last act of “Dorian Gray” musical, he will attain his 300th performance.
Back in 2010, all tickets for the 3,000 seats of the Sejong Cultural Center were sold out for every performance of “Mozart”, the very first musical of Junsu’s career – something that had never happened before in the history of Korean musicals – that led the box office, setting a large record. Coupled with his Rookie Actor Awards’ wins at two Korean musical awards ceremonies – the “4th The Musical Awards” and the “16th Korea Musical Awards” – the birth of a new musical star was thus heralded. Such a successful musical debut for Junsu was said to become a decisive opportunity and to provide guidance for the great number of idol stars who explored the field of musicals afterwards, also setting a basis for evaluation.
Since the debut that eventually resulted in the very slow shift of the genre of musicals as a whole, Junsu has known continuous hits with “Elizabeth”, “December”, “Dracula” and “Death Note”. The success of this year’s original musical production “Dorian Gray” saw the value of licensed musicals brighten further in the South Korean market, while simultaneously driving the expansion of the Korean musical scene’s boundaries as a side effect.'
‘Junsu is definitely bringing his own unique style’, the performance critic Hyun Soo Jung stated. ‘Here we have a single personality conducting the style of an entire production, it’s a rare instance. On the other hand, as a sincere performer who constantly worries about creating new characters that will fit him for each one of his works, his support during the creative process is far from negligible. That support is one reason why original creations were achieved, from conceptual characters such as the role of Death in “Elizabeth” to more concrete ones like Jun-Hyung in “December”.’
The worth of “musical actor Junsu” is even more prominent it you take a look at the box office. For every production in which he appeared, tickets were sold-out in a record time after the sale opening – that’s of course. But it is also worth pointing out that in six years of intermittent musical activities, he has maintained the volume of his tickets sales.
Again, in spite of the various factors that can impact ticket sales such as premieres and replays, timing of the performances, location of the venue or a sluggish musical market, the volume of his ticket sales remained unchanged.
‘If Junsu had highlighted only his “star-turned-actor” quality, it would probably have been difficult for him to maintain his ticket power until now, with seven discontinued productions’ said Chi Hae Won, an Associate Professor at Kyunghee University’s Culture & Arts Business Administration and a performance critic. ‘However, by bringing out and completing his character in an original casting, by managing to fully carry out all eight performances of a musical in one week, by going back and forth between the musicals “Death Note” and “Dorian Gray” respectively in just an interval of two months – to pick a few particular examples – he proved that he was box-office material; he is proving his growth as an actor.
Junsu is a musical actor, with reliable colors that belong to him only. And he has reached the point when you can say about him that he will remain as the exemplary case of an idol singer to be accepted in the musical industry.’
An official from the musical scene commented: ‘seeing Junsu’s ticket power, great expectations flourished in the South Korean musical market over his participation to an original musical creation, and he himself responded accordingly. He has participated in 300 performances – among them, more than a half were creative productions – and his appearance is proving to be a tremendous influence in the musical industry. On the other hand, you can also glimpse his determination to bring his own contribution (to the musical industry).’
Besides, it is widely accepted that just the mention of Junsu’s appearance triggers expectations for sold-out performances – and it is also true that this anticipation derives from his powerful fandom, which leads one to expect the general public to line up for his performances. Officials in the industry say that in order to have a full house in a large theater for every performance and to witness a significant part of the audience going for multi-viewing (T/N: attending several times a same production), you must reach at least that level of interest and expectations from the general public.
Combining Junsu’s massive fanbase and his true talent as an actor, he stands as ‘an actor whom I want to see’, ‘an actor who will convince you when you watch him’ even for the general audience.
‘I believe that Junsu is playing a key role in extending the type of audience that currently constitutes the musical market and in reaching out to outer categories’ the performance critic Hyun Soo Jung confided. ‘And at the same time, we now have expectations regarding him for the future… will he be able to keep raising the accessibility of the general audience to the so-called “musical genre”?’
Chart 1. Kim Junsu’s cumulated ticket sales since 2010:
Chart 2. Attendance for musicals Kim Junsu performed over 20 times:
Sources & credits:
Original article: Kim Hajin
Translation from Korean to Japanese for KStyle: Yasuyo Maeda here
Translation from Japanese to English by TVXQsound