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081214 Korea's Best Son-In-Law, Andy takes to the stage 
19th-Dec-2008 03:21 pm
dw // perfect

“Although I like kind, sensitive characters, but I think I have to try being a villain”

For seven months of 2008, every Sunday evening Korean mothers watched Andy as he showed his thoughtful and sensitive side as a husband, and eventually picked him to be their ideal son-in-law. However, Andy has since left the variety scene for the stage . “Singles” is already Andy’s 3rd musical production, and Andy’s own musical of life is developing with even more passion.

From An-sobang to Soo Hyun

For the past 7 months, Andy has been affectionately known as An-sobang to viewers. Having ended activities for We Got Married and his solo album not too long ago, he is now setting the muscial stage ablaze with his role as Soo Hyun in the musical “Singles”.

“It’s an honour for me to be able to participate in this production. Honestly speaking, I had a lot to catch up on when I first started acting in musicals, and I was worried if I was able to pull it off at the end of the day. But my fellow cast members, the directors and the instructors gave me a lot of encouragement, and it’s with their encouragement that I managed to get to where I am today. I’m really happy about that.”

“Singles” is Andy’s 3rd musical production after “Music In My Heart” and “Polaroid”, and has set the record of an average attendance of 91% per show since its premiere in 2007, not to mention the numerous awards that it has won, and is indeed a critical and commercial success. Andy made his debut with “Music In My Heart” in November 2007, and had made a lot of effort in dancing, singing and acting to complete 50 shows in total. Being a rapper in Shinhwa, he hasn’t had many opportunities to sing, and this was a immense challenge for him. In a musical where there’s no chance for a second take, any flaws in dancing, singing and acting can be picked out immediately. Just as any newcomer would, Andy worked doubly hard in his vocal classes, dance practice and acting classes. It was his effort that reaped the success that he has attained today.

“Frankly speaking, I took this up with the mindset that I wanted to challenge this just once. That became the turning point in my life. Acting, dancing, singing - a musical required all three, and I had a lot of room for improvement in those three areas. But people around me saw the potential and possibility, and pinned their hopes on me. As I continued with it, it got more and more interesting, and I developed an ambition for this.”

Among musical fans, there is a term called “The Andy Effect”. During the run of “Polaroid”, the interest from Andy’s fans was so great that eventually the box office had a special line for “Andy tickets” (tickets for days when Andy was acting), and tickets sold out within minutes, clearly demonstrating Andy’s power at the box office. It’s not without reason to say that Andy is becoming a fast-rising star of the musical scene and a box-office guarantee. With his maturing acting skills, Andy pulls off his character skillfully, and fans and the general musical audience alike have given him good reviews.
“It’s tough, of course. The coordination between the cast members is critical, working together from the rehearsals right up to just before the show starts, that feeling is quite a thrill. I worry about what happens if I make mistakes, and I still get nervous on stage. But that’s where the charm lies too.”

2008, the year of independence

The role of Soo Hyun has been played before by stars such as Lee Hyun Woo, Son Ho Young and Lee Jong Hyuk. Suave and gentlemanly, and shows his pure love for the woman he loves, this character is very popular among the ladies. Although it seems somewhat similar to his image on We Got Married, and is perhaps easier on Andy, but he still feels stressed out by the inevitable comparisons to Son Ho Young and Lee Jong Hyuk.
“Lee Hyun Woo was the first to play this role, and before me it was Son Ho Young. I’ve watched all the tapes in detail, and although I’m not dwelling on how to make my portrayal different from theirs, but because they’ve done such good jobs of it that I do feel the pressure. I’ll ask for advice and opinions.”

If we say Lee Hyun Woo is a cool and cosmopolitan Soo Hyun, Son Ho Young is a masculine and sexy Soo Hyun, then Andy’s Soo Hyun is sensitive and gentle. That’s what the fellow cast members say. With advice and opinions from the others, together with his own efforts, the result is becoming more comfortable and at ease on stage.

“I’ve overcome much of my stage fright, and really I can feel it as I perform more. The venues tend to be smaller and more intimate, and the distance with the audience is smaller than what I imagined. They can see every expression and I can even hear what people say when I’m performing. It was very tough initially, I was so nervous that I could feel the butterflies in my stomach. But after 30 shows, and 50 shows, things naturally got better. It’s much easier now.”

The fans’ responses have been different from before too. He laughed as he recounted, ”This time round there is a kissing scene. The fans went crazy and asked, “Are you really going to bobo (kiss)?” They feel a little differently after they watch the show in person.”

For some time now, when we talk about Andy, we think of his gentle image. Does he have any intention of undergoing an image revamp?
“I do hope to play the bad guy someday. When the cast members get pranked by me really badly, they would say that I’m really suited to play a villain. But I’d like to try the role that Lee Sung Jin is playing now, the pure and romantic Jung Joon.”

2008 has been a very meaningful year for Andy. Stepping away from Shinhwa, he has released his first solo album, and has received much love and support through variety programmes. Although going solo also means some degree of loneliness, but he doesn’t feel that bad because he has discovered the potential in him during this time. Now it’s the time for him to show off on stage what he’s got. We’re sure, that he will light up 2009 with a brand new image.

Source: Lady Trend Dec 2008 issue
Chi trans: 草木番茄@andyforever
Eng trans: midnightgirl13@shinhwabiz

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