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Title:The Last Empress (1995): the paradoxical development of the Korean indigenous musical and its intercultural implications
Author(s):Lee, Sandra
Director of Research:Lee, Esther K.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hohman, Valleri J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Lee, Esther K.; Mitchell, Tom; Yang, Caroline H.
Department / Program:Theatre
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Korean musical
global performance
globalization in theatre
national musical
indigenous musical
The Last Empress
Abstract:This study examines The Last Empress, the Korean mega-musical, as a case study to explore how Korea’s modernism in theatre shifted towards a globalizing process in its society from the early 1990s to the beginning of the twenty-first century. This study argues that the Korean musical company, Art Communication International Inc.(ACom), endeavored to make Korea’s local culture and history accessible to global audiences by facilitating more flexible, multilayered interactions between the international and local modes of receptions and by involving multinational theatre artists and practitioners both on and off stage. Finally, the examination of The Last Empress provides a unique opportunity to discover the new function of theatre and performance in the era of globalization beyond the binary of East versus West. This study observes the musical’s impact on Korean musical theatre as the West End and Broadway style mega-musical shaped local musical by exploring how ACom integrated the company’s understanding of the global reaction into the musical. This research traces the musical’s production history, including its tours in The U.S.'s New York and Los Angeles, the U.K.'s London, and Canada's Toronto. It also observes its outreach programs held in Korea and Japan. In doing so, the study investigates the reception of the mega-musical in Korea in terms of its national recognition as a new form of theater influenced and shaped by its tour abroad. Dramaturgically and theatrically analyzing its different adaptations, translations, and revisions, this study also closely evaluates each revised version in conjunction with its responses from the foreign critics. This research determines the revised scripts and spectacles after each international tour and explores the musical’s local contribution and adaptation by utilizing the terms “national musical” or “indigenous musical.”
Issue Date:2014-09-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Sandra Lee
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08

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