KPOP Is Closing After Two Months on Broadway
KPOP, a new Broadway musical about the K-pop phenomenon, is closing after two months on the Great White Way. The producers of the show say it was a victim of its own success.
The show stars Luna of the real-life K-pop group f(x) and was conceived by Jason Kim, with a book by him and Woodshed Collective. Its music is by Helen Park and Max Vernon.
After an Off-Broadway run at Ars Nova, the acclaimed musical about K-pop is tackling Broadway. The cast, led by Luna, the former f(x) member, boast impressive harmonies and dazzling dance moves.
The show’s Broadway incarnation has been reworked by original book writer Jason Kim and director Teddy Bergman to focus on the label run by a domineering diva named Ruby. It also features Dear Evan Hansen star Zachary Noah Piser, Julia Abueva, BoHyung, Amy Keum and Marina Kondo.
You don’t need to be a K-Pop fanatic or understand Korean to enjoy KPOP. Any Korean dialogue uses enough English loanwords to make it understandable, and the musical’s characters often shout their passionate arguments in the same way real K-Pop stars do.
Despite its success Off-Broadway, KPOP had trouble getting established on Broadway. Several of its previews were canceled due to Covid-19 illnesses, and the show struggled financially.
Luna (f(x)) makes her Broadway debut alongside musical theater veterans Min and Kevin Woo (U-KISS). The show follows the fictional K-pop artists of RBY Entertainment as they prepare for their New York City debut.
It explores the relentless discipline, raw talent, and commercial ambition behind the global phenomenon. It has already racked up 44 previews and 17 regular performances.
Julia Abueva made her NY stage debut originating the role of Sonoma in Ars Nova’s KPOP and is thrilled to be back for this Broadway iteration. She is a Manila-born musical prodigy, having performed as a guest artist for Cat Ong concerts at age 8, and having been the voice of the APEC concert in 2009.
She hopes that the show will push beyond Broadway’s pearl-clutching gatekeeping.
Major Curda is an American actor best known for his role as Dilton Doiley on The CW’s Riverdale. He has also guest starred on numerous television shows, including Melissa & Joey, The Thundermans, Private Practice, and Children’s Hospital.
He was born on July 12, 1999 in Florida and holds American nationality. He belongs to a mixed ethnic background as his father is of Korean descent and his mother is half Scottish and half English.
The acclaimed musical, which was co-authored by Jason Kim and features 19 Broadway debuts, centers on the fictional South Korean music label RBY Entertainment. MwE, played by Luna (f(x) member), tries to break into the American market while trying to maintain her public image.
The story splices emo meditations with house-inflected bangers and rap arias, all with audience-courting intensity. But it never gets too deep.
It’s been a decade since Psy skipped and hopped his way into the limelight with “Gangnam Style.” Now, K-pop, led by pristine, pitch-perfect idols like Blackpink and BTS, has crashed into Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre.
And despite fervent last-ditch efforts to keep the show alive, it’s already closing. But cast and crew members say they’re not giving up on their vision.
KPOP encapsulates modern music with emo meditations, house-inflected bangers, and rap arias that transition into dance music and reggaeton. But it avoids inspecting the vicissitudes of its characters with any depth.
The show boasts impressive vocal talent from a cast that makes its Broadway debut. And the music, by Helen Park and Max Vernon, dabbles in a range of styles that evoke artists like RTMIS, F8, and MwE.
KPOP evokes a range of modern music—emo meditations, house-inflected bangers, rap arias. And yet it eschews the cynical tactics that have catapulted real-life pop stars to fervent fandom.
The cast includes Broadway-caliber voices like Luna, Julia Abueva, Zachary Noah Piser, Marina Kondo, and others making their Broadway debuts. The show closes on December 11 at the Circle in the Square Theatre.
Marina is a NYC-based musical theater and TV actress. Her credits include the national tour of Frozen and Lincoln Center’s The King and I. She currently stars in the Hulu series Succession.
Rather than appease Broadway gatekeepers, KPOP aims to capture the spirit of the genre and culture as it is now. And it succeeds, thanks to Helen Park and Max Vernon’s music and the cast’s flawless vocals.