“The Last Empress” will greet its twenty-third year next year with new upgrades to its performance.

Korea’s first original musical “The Last Empress” will be return to the stage starting next March at the Sejong Center Chamber Hall.

After its first opening performance in 1995, the musical has gone through several additions and modifications. Likewise, this upcoming performance is expected to reflect new changes to the original musical.

“The Last Empress” focuses on Empress Myeong-seong, the first empress and the queen consort of Emperor Gojong, Joseon’s 26th emperor. The musical was created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of her death. Empress Myeong-seong is famously known for defending the nation’s sovereignty from Japanese forces during the 19th century.

The musical was shown in Broadway and at London’s West End and received wide attention and praise from the press. There has been a total of 1,300 performances and 1.8 million audience members throughout the show’s twenty-year run.

So far, the show has already revealed a huge change by replacing its original poster made by the late artist Lee Man-ik with a dramatic pink illustration drawn by a newcomer artist.

The previous poster displayed a clear, straight-forward representation of Empress Myeong-seong. Now, it has changed to a picture of the empress clutching the collar of her hanbok above text that reads “Break loose and rise again”. It portrays the uncertainty of the times and the empress’ firm determination to revive the nation.

Writer Kim Bo-ra (currently studying in Germany) participated in the poster illustration. The poster won top vote at a contest exhibit hosted by Naver Grafolio.

“It was an honor for me to draw the poster for Korea’s first original musical. It made my heart race and was a joy for me to work on,” she said.


Original article
by Park Jin-young

Translated by Janet Kang