Sunday, March 08, 2009

Boys over Flowers' Actress Jang Found Dead in Suicide

Boys over Flowers' Actress Jang Found Dead in Apparent Suicide
03-08-2009 18:29

Actress Jang Ja-yeon was found dead in an apparent suicide Saturday at her home in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province.

By Chung Ah-young
Staff Reporter

Rising actress Jang Ja-yeon, who was currently starring in the KBS 2TV hit drama ``Boys over Flowers,'' was found dead in an apparent suicide Saturday at her home in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province.

Police said that the 26-year-old actress apparently hanged herself from a stairway railing and was discovered by her sister around 7:30 p.m.

Jang was known to have had trouble with her current management agency renewing her contract. The actress had complained about the overwhelming stress to her sister during a phone call at 3:30 p.m. that day, saying she ``wants to die.''

According to police investigations, Jang also suffered from depression and had undergone medical treatment during the past year. About 10 years ago, Jang lost both of her parents in a car accident when she was in high school and had lived with her sister since.

A will has yet to be found, but after her family's statements about the actress' ongoing struggle with depression, police are searching for further evidence of suicide and returned Jang's body to the bereaved family without performing an autopsy.

Various stars, including the cast of Boys Over Flowers, are visiting the late actress' mortuary at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital to offer their condolences.

After her public debut in 2006 in a TV commercial, Jang rose to stardom playing Sunny, one of the three mean girls in Boys over Flowers. She was also awaiting her big screen debut in Penthouse Elephant.

Korea Times Intern Hwang Sung-hee contributed to the article
( p

LINK to article.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2009-The Year of the Earth Ox



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Distinctive Reinterpretation Shines in Musical '200-Pound'

The buzz word in this year's musical trend was``movical,'' referring to the combination of movies and musicals.

The boom in re-creating the cinematic arts on the musical stage cashes in on the success of hit films such as ``Radio Star'' and ``The Harmonium in My Memory.'' Yet such musicals could be boring if they simply follow the same storyline of the film.

However, a new musical, ``200-Pound Beauty,'' based on the 2006 film of the same title, simply took the worries away by distinctively reinterpreting the original work.

The musical, starring singer-turned-actress Bada, better known as Choi Sung-hee, and actress Yoon Gong-ju, who both portray Kang Han-byeol, and actor Song Chang-ui, who takes the role of Han Sang-jun, opened Thursday at Chung Art Hall in Seoul.

The musical effectively condensed the story of the film version into an intensive comical show, with diverse musical elements and reinterpreted characters.

Using many musical numbers in addition to familiar songs already in the film, the musical invented more sophisticated stage sets, helping them change more quickly and spontaneously.

The most difficult part of the musical rendition was to portray the highlight of the story in which Han-byeol ― the title character ― transforms from a more-than-200-pound woman into a slim and beautiful woman after cosmettic surgery.

To portray the transformation, the musical used special make-up and specially designed stage sets, lights and costumes. In the surgery scene, the obese Han-byeol's change occurs like magic while a musical number is played.

The musical put more emphasis on the character of Lee Gong-hak, a top cosmetic surgeon who also happens to be her phone-sex customer, who was played by veteran actor Kim Sung-ki. Kim wonderfully inhabits the character with his unique mannerisms, a crucial part of the show for entertaining the audience.

Main actress Yoon exerted her energetic vocal capacity, displaying vocal tones reminiscent of the film heroine Kim A-jung's voice.

Her acting and singing were superb, fitting for the role of a top singer, but with much more accurate pronunciation and powerful resonance.

However, Song, who played Sang-jun, a famed music producer, was a little bit disappointing, as his timbre was a little unstable.

The musical was faithfully loyal to the basic plot but cut unnecessary parts and then filled the gaps with witty lyrics tinged with musical imagination and catchy musical numbers to escalate dramatic tension.

The original work's scenes of cinematic sophistication were replaced with musical elements with the help of the diverse staging.

Not only the actors and actresses but also the chorus and dancers superbly supported the story.

The musical reaches the same conclusion as the film, but its finale, in which Han-byeol and Sang-jun sing a duet, was a fresh twist possible only in the musical genre.

Broadway composer Tim Acito and stage designer Brian Prather were part of the creative team.

The musical ``200-Pound Beauty'' will be on stage until Feb. 1 at the Chungmu Art Hall, central Seoul. Tickets cost from 40,000 won to 90,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3485-8721 or visit

By Chung Ah-young,Staff Reporter
The Korea Times
Article link.

`200-Pound Beauty' Goes on Stage

I recently saw the movie, and was surprised to discover it has been made into a musical. It's a great idea.

A local hit film ``200-Pound Beauty'' has been made into a musical, starring singer-turned-actress Choi Sung-hee, better known as Bada, former member of all-girl group S.E.S. and rising actor Song Chang-ui.

Based on the popularity of the film that attracted 6.62 million viewers in 2006, the much-hyped romantic comedy musical will follow the same storyline. But the genre being different, the musical differently portrays the highlight of the story in which Kang Han-byeol _ the title role _ transforms from a more-than-200-pound woman into a slim and beautiful woman thanks to a plastic surgery.

Han-byeol has a gifted voice who dreams of becoming a singer but can't appear on stage because of her ugly figure, and instead dubs her voice for a prettier singer from behind the stage.

While singing backstage, she falls in love with Han Sang-jun, a music producer played by Song who highly appreciates her musical talent. To recover her confidence as a singer, she undergoes plastic surgery and becomes a famous singer with a totally different look, getting closer to Sang-jun as a top star. But as she becomes popular, she feels guilty about hiding the truth and finally reveals her secret to the public.

To portray her transformation, the musical uses special make-up designers such as renowned makeup artist Chae Song-hwa and magicians such as Lee Eun-gyeol and Choi Hyun-woo, along with specially designed stage sets, lights and costumes.

To ensure a successful performance, Broadway composer Tim Acito and stage designer Brian Prather were added to the creative team.

``It will be magic as she (Han-byeol) transforms into a gorgeous woman during one scene while a musical number is played,'' said director Kim Dong-hyuk. However, the production company has kept more details about the scene secret.

The musical will feature songs that were used in the film such as ``Maria'' and ``Byeol.''

The musical, which has been in preparation for the past two years, is also targeting overseas markets such as China, Singapore and Hong Kong.
By Chung Ah-young, Staff Reporter

The Korea Times
Article link.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Typhoon Fengshen

To my friends and readers from the Philippines,

I am deeply saddened and distressed to learn of Typhoon Fengshen, and of the resulting loss of lives.

It is also true that many are waiting for word of the lost. My dearest wish is that your loved ones will be found alive.

I convey my deepest condolences to the families who have suffered deaths of their loved ones.

There are no correct words for this.

You mean so much to me. My comments here are not hollow. I grieve with you, not only for lives lost, but also, for all the pieces of your lives you may have lost.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Message From A. Ho - Hong Kong

Thank you very much for posting a blog entry on the China quake and thinking of the quake victims.

Tens of thousands of people lost their lives in the 7.9-magnitude quake in Sichuan, China. The death toll is rocketing.

Just weeks ago, Myanmar, China’s neighouring country, was hit by a cyclone and a large number of survivors are desperate for relief aid.

In Hong Kong, people from all walks of life have pitched in to help the quake victims in Sichuan. Large amount of donations comes from business tycoons while other people do whatever they can to show their support to their countrymen.

May I appeal to the readers of this blog to lend a helping hand to those who were struck by the natural disasters? Keep the victims and the rescue workers in your prayer. Send donations to the charitable organizations which are organizing relief aid to China and Myanmar.

There is an old Chinese saying that goes like this, “Giving is happier than receiving”.

A. Ho
Hong Kong, China

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Lydia Shum

I am saddened to learn of the death of Hong Kong actress Lydia Shum, on February 19, 2008.

She was an immortal in my mind; a woman whose screen presence never failed to make me laugh.

I discovered her in the earliest days of my Asian film adventure.

A nice remembrance piece is posted at Sensasian's web site which includes her impressively extensive filmography.

This direct link will take you to the rememberance piece in the event the item is no longer on the homepage.

She will be missed.