Theater News

KPOP to Announce Broadway Run

The immersive off-Broadway musical has been aiming for Broadway for years, but next week it becomes official.

Katie Lee Hill, Deborah Kim, Sun Hye Park, Julia Abueva, Cathy Ang, and Susannah Kim appeared in the off-Broadway run of KPOP.
Katie Lee Hill, Deborah Kim, Sun Hye Park, Julia Abueva, Cathy Ang, and Susannah Kim appeared in the off-Broadway run of KPOP.
(© Ben Arons)

The producers of KPOP, the new musical set in a Korean pop music factory, have scheduled a big announcement for next Wednesday, March 30, at the Korean Cultural Center in Manhattan. The invitation reads, "A worldwide musical phenomenon. A new Broadway musical. An international star. The announcement!"

Since its off-Broadway world premiere in 2017, KPOP has been aiming for a Broadway berth. In 2019, the producers announced a talent search for a pre-Broadway work session. A planned out-of-town tryout at Washington's Signature Theatre was scrapped due to the possibility of Covid-related disruptions (this turned out to be a good call, as the run would have coincided with the December-January Omicron spike). Still, an Equity casting notice went up on March 2 which made it explicit that the producers were casting for a Broadway run in fall 2022.

Conceived by Woodshed Collective and Jason Kim, with a book by Kim and music/lyrics by Helen Park and Max Vernon, KPOP takes audiences inside the inner sanctum of the Korean pop industry, where stars are groomed to be international sensations — and maybe even crack the ever-elusive American market. The show explores how far the performers (and the suits behind them) are willing to go to achieve their dreams.

The off-Broadway production (which starred Ashley Park and which our critic called "great fun") took place at A.R.T./New York Theatres and utilized the entire building in an immersive staging that divided the audience into small tour groups. Teddy Bergman directed that production and will helm the Broadway run. It is not clear yet whether the immersive element will carry over to the Broadway production, although there is one theater that would facilitate this kind of staging better than most, and the show currently there is only scheduled through July.

The Broadway production is rumored to be led by real-life K-pop star Luna, a member of the girl group f(x) who has starred in the Korean stage versions of Legally Blonde: The Musical and In the Heights.

Details are still emerging, and will likely be revealed on the 30th, but the recently launched website suggests that we'll definitely be seeing KPOP on Broadway this year.