Musical Review: Werther in Seoul

World famous musical Werther is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary since debuting in Korea and is likely to extend its reign.

The musical is an adaption of a literary piece from the late 1700’s titled The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johan Wolfgang van Goethe.

Werther is a story about heartbreak and tragedy where a charming man falls in love with an engaged woman.

On January 7, Super Junior’s Kyuhyun played Werther, Lee Ji Hye played Lotte with Lee Sang Hyun rounding out the main cast as Albert, Lotte’s fiance.

In front of a packed house, the cast and orchestra blitzed the audience with fantastic acting, emotional vocals and beautiful instrumental.

The plot is mysterious and intriguing. However, the scenes without the lead actors were lacking. The development of Werther from journeyman to a heartbroken soul was executed well. Werther’s story was touching, especially how he fell too hard for Lotte which caused him to leave town. One downside was the abrupt jump in plot when he returned to town with a complete flip of character into a greedy man. The ending suited the plot as the curtain closed on Werther sticking a gun to his head, leaving the audience left wondering.

The cast impressed with their seasoned acting. Kyuhyun excelled in his role. He oozed with stage presence and showed great intensity in both romantic and angst scenes. Lee Ji Hye was enchanting as Lotte. While Ji Hye performed her kiss scenes admirably, she also overacted at times. Lee Sang Hyun’s portrayal of Albert was the standout as he played the badass husband to perfection. The neighbourhood ahjumma also shined, especially in the scene where she comforted Werther after he saw Lotte and Albert kiss. Lotte’s sister was a delight to watch, bringing plenty of comedy and cuteness.


The cast of Werther on Jan 7.
The cast on Jan 7.

Any musical starring Kyuhyun carries high expectations for his vocals. He did not disappoint. As arguably the best vocalist in K-pop, he melted the audience’s ears with his resonance. His projection was unbelievabe. Lee Ji Hye’s vocals were good but she lost her breath at times. Lee Sang Hyun’s rich and manly voice differed from Kyuhyun’s bright tone. His baritone qualities slayed when he fought with Kyuhyun. The three leads blended well as they showcased great harmonies and moments of explosive power.

Towol Theater at the Seoul Arts Center
Towol Theater at the Seoul Arts Center

The musical was also a visual spectacle. Some of the most beautiful sets were Lotte’s bedroom and the sunflower walkway. The cast was dressed in vintage attire such as frilly dresses and dapper coats for the gentlemen. The backstage crew did a great job with creating a perfect stage.

Overall, the musical was top-notch. It had everything the audience could ask for, from outstanding acting and visuals to near-perfect vocals. The best scenes included Werther crying into the ahjumma’s arms, the sultry attempted kiss with Lotte and sunflowers falling at the end.

Werther would be a good recommendation for not only Kyuhyun’s fans but also musical fans who are looking for a meaningful and tragic romance with a magnificent soundtrack.

OH!Press' resident journo

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