It was more surprising than anyone else. In the cast list of the musical which will have its first show on 14th May, next to Choi Jae Woong, Jo Jung Suk and Kim Jae Wook, the name “Kim Dongwan” is there too. A member of Korea’s longest-running idol group Shinhwa, nicknamed “Samchon” (Uncle), he was a pioneer when he was already sporting toned muscles, tanned skin and stubble way before “beastly idols” became popular. Picking the story of a transgender rocker as his comeback project after his return from military service last December, this isn’t an adventure, but a gamble.
But having made his debut at a young age, Kim Dongwan has been running through his 20s without taking a breather, and learnt that, “When making choices, be cool-headed and self-centered; and after making your choice, be humble and work hard”. No matter whether it’s his first time in a musical, or tackling the extraordinary character of Hedwig, he’s not afraid. He says, “Although it’s a production where I can learn many things, I’m not thinking of this as a learning opportunity”. Instead, he will bring his confidence and put in his best efforts in his preparations to meet Hedwig.
According to Kim Dongwan, the “man who lives uprightly” who nagged at fans to “think of the future”, when he sees the younger idol singers these days, the first thought that comes to his mind is that “they’re cool”. “Actually I didn’t work that hard back then. The 1st album didn’t do well, so we worked very hard for the 2nd album. From the 3rd album onwards, I just played. And then I played for 10 years. (laughs)” But through Kim Dongwan’s reply we can see the secret to the longevity of Shinhwa, who are recently preparing to set up ‘Shinhwa Company’, and who are making plans for the comeback album next year when all members complete their military service. “Shinhwa’s group activties often felt like play to me. I get very nervous during my solo activities, and I often find it very difficult. Even now I don’t get nervous during our group activities. When you’ve been in showbiz long enough, while even family members sometimes treat you nicely, Shinhwa members don’t do that. Besides that group of guys, who else will joke around with me and be so mean to me. (laughs). That’s great.” From being an idol group member to becoming a solo singer, actor, public service officer, and now a musical actor, “Oppa-yam” Kim Dongwan takes on yet another new challenge. His full interview will be published on 11 May.
Credits: 10asia + Absolut Shinhwa