Broadway musicals featuring drag queens are becoming immensely popular among Koreans and setting a trend for the music scene in South Korea.
“Recent musicals have included very popular drag queen characters in one of the lead roles, lending to a new trend (and) this recent trend has been successfully drawing out curious audience members and looks to continue,” reports Arirang News.
Last year thousands of musicals were staged in Korea and from there a trend took shape which though initially raised some eyebrows is here to stay, Yim Yoon-hee explains in that report.
The Tony award-winning musical "La Cage" led by the character Albin, who also happens to be a very flamboyant drag queen in real life, is currently enjoying success in Korea, the report said.
Lola, the lead character and passionate drag queen in the musical "Kinky Boots" is also popular showing through the end of February this year. Just a few months ago the leading "ladies" of "Priscilla" with their short skirts, high heels and more sass than the girl next door brought in thousands of viewers eager to see something different, it said.
Late last year, another Broadway hit, the rock musical "Hedwig" about an East German transgender woman singer, was a runaway success. "You can hear from characters with very unique backgrounds.Through the performance, people can realize their desires, and so this inspiration is becoming very popular," Won Jong-won, a music critic was quoted as saying.
This is as much unexpected as it is surprising. “Korea is not a country that is known to be open-minded, especially about things that are considered gay or trans related,” reports dragaholic.com.
Korean society is very traditional and LGBT people are often forced to hide their sexuality because general awareness of LGBT people has remained low among the Korean public.Even amongst the youth, sexuality is often a taboo subject and not fully understood and many Korean LGBT face difficulties of homophobia and discrimination in society, preferring not to reveal their gay identity to their family, friends or co-worker.
In 2008 when famous Korean actor Kim Ji-Hoo came out, the response from fans was so negative that he committed suicide shortly after.