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English version of Korean musical 'Marie Curie' to make historic West End debut

By Park Ga-young

Published : March 5, 2024 - 15:40

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Poster for English edition of Poster for English edition of "Marie Curie"

The English edition of the Korean musical “Marie Curie” is set to hit West End in June, making history as the first Korean original musical produced by a Korean production company to be staged there.

Produced by Kang Byung-won and LIVE Corp., the English premier involves a British creative team, including director Sarah Meadows, music director Emma Fraser and choreographer Joanna Goodwin. Fraser also worked on English lyrics adaptation, while the English book adaptation and literal Translation was done by Tom Ramsay and Ahreumbi Rew, respectively. An audition will be held to recruit actors to perform in the story of Polish-French physicist and chemist Marie Curie who discovered radium, a naturally occurring radioactive metal.

The decision to bring the musical to West End was made after a showcase performance in November last year at The Other Palace in London. It was part of K-Musical Roadshow, a program by the government-run Korea Arts Management Services, that showcases Korean musicals overseas.

"We have been consistently preparing for overseas expansion from the development stages of my work. The piece has been validated by audiences in Korea, Japan, and Poland,” Kang said.

In 2018, Arts Council Korea, a government organization dedicated to promoting diverse arts and cultural activities in the country, selected the trial version “Marie Curie” as one of the productions to receive its funding. The production company embarked on developing the musical, finally unveiling the finished piece in 2020.

The musical will run at Charing Cross Theatre, an off-West End theater which offers up to 265 seats, in London.

"When I saw the live performance recording of 'Marie Curie,' I thought it was a very smart performance, the type of show we would put on in our theater. Very excited about how the story of a scientist, 'Marie Curie' will resonate with the British audience,” Steven Levy, artistic & managing director of Charing Cross Theatre, said in a statement released by LIVE.

The music won big at the fifth Korea Musical Awards in 2022, clinching five awards including the grand prize given to the best Korean musical performed in a theater with more than 400 seats. “Marie Curie” also received the best director, best script, and best music awards.

After domestic success, it was introduced in Poland’s Warsaw Music Garden Festival in 2022 and in Japan in 2023 as a licensed version.

The English edition of “Marie Curie” will kick off at Charing Cross Theatre on June 1 and runs until July 28. Ticket prices range from 18 pounds ($23) to 37.50 pounds for the preview week from June 1 to June 6 and 22.50 pounds to 57.50 pounds for the main run.

The creative team of The creative team of "Marie Curie" : (from left) Director Sarah Meadows, Music Director Emma Fraser, Dramaturge Tom Ramsay, Choreographer Joanna Goodwin (LIVE)