The hottest topic in the musical industry last year was of course, the appearance of ‘Kim Junsu(24)’. As one who had lived till then as ‘Xiah Junsu’, a member of a popular idol group that threw Asia into a frenzy, he began a new challenge as ‘Kim Junsu’, breaking the walls that confined him into a certain image. With his amazing vocal talent and strong ticket power, coupled with acting that goes above and beyond what anyone expected, he quickly became a ‘Star of the Musical Industry’. And he has decided to once more stand on stage as Mozart.
It’s not uncommon to see idol stars performing in musicals anymore. These days, when looking at the cast list for musicals, we can see a large number of idol stars’ names. With a loyal fan base gathering to support the performance of their idols, it invigorates the industry as well as the ticket sales, and is beneficial for foreign expansion as well. Therefore, (idol stars) are now a necessity. From the point of view of the wanting to expand the industry and bringing musicals to the masses, idol singers’ performances are very welcome.
However, there is a part of society that believes that this is simply a stage created for “fans” instead of prioritizing the works or the acting. The criticism towards a portion of the actors that get to appear because of their “name value” has been great. Therefore, for an actor who started out as an idol singer, the prejudiced view of “how good can they be, let’s see how they fare” is against them.
Group JYJ’s member Kim Junsu used his own abilities, and has completely erased these kinds of doubts and unreliable stereotypes. In January of 2010, with the musical “Mozart!” Kim Junsu took his first step into the musical industry and swept the newcomer awards at both “The Musical Awards” and “Korea Musical Awards,” gaining recognition for his success. He also received praise from the audiences as well as critics, and is not viewed as an “idol star” but as “Mozart-playing Kim Junsu.” Following that, with “Tears of Heaven,” he reinforced his position in the musical world as he was nominated together with Cho Seung Woo, Ryu Jung Han, Jeong Seong Hwa, Hong Kwang Ho as Best Male Musical Actor.
The reason he has received such high praises for both his works is because of his ability to hold his own against the most famous musical actors in “Mozart!” even earning the moniker “Xiahzart,” a perfect interpretation of the musical genius. The Austrian musical “Mozart!” which was based off Mozart’s life: “Wolfgang”—the main body, and “Amadeus” the skill foundation, creates a story by blending these two components. Mozart’s life and love, thirst for freedom, and his conflicts with his father Leopold, a man who uses his own unique way of loving his son, are interpreted in a dramatic fashion. One would never be able to achieve the true meaning of this story just by singing well, or by sticking to the script.
“To me, “Mozart!” is not just a simple musical, but has a deeper meaning. It is the project that allowed me to face the audiences as a “musical actor,” and it is also a place where I could perform again, a place that welcomed me. I really wanted to, so I told myself that if the opportunity arises, I would want to stand on the musical stage again, regardless of criticism or praise. When I look back (at my performances,) there are many places where I am lacking. So this year, I want to work hard to show a more mature side.’
“Mozart” was the first project where he took to the stage as “Kim Junsu,” and therefore has gotten an extremely passionate reception. To show an even better stage compared to the last performance, he is currently giving his all in practices. “Mozart” director Yoo Hui Song said, “Working with him last year, he was praised as the ‘musical prodigy,’ but now, he has surpassed that.” And also said, “He seems to have more emotion than the other actors, and has impressive learning abilities. I’m really fortunate to be working with him,” praising Kim Junsu.
With these two projects, Kim Junsu has been hailed as the “Musical Prodigy,” “Xiahzart,” and “Genius.” The jealous looks, flippant prejudices and all the conflicts that have gathered like a storm, have slowly subsided with his show of “hard work” and “true potential.” ’I want to keep walking down my path / Love me / For who I am.’ It feels as though he sings his songs with everything he’s got, even his soul, as the lyrics seem to be coming from his own heart. Kim Junsu, the musical actor, has only just begun walking down his path.