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Sunday, July 29, 2018

A review of "Comfort Women" and an invitation to you!

Last night my daughter Abigail presented my friends with a simply brilliant performance as the lead in the Musical Comfort Women.

If you were not able to join us, this email is my invitation to be my guest to any performance this August - Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm and 7 pm and Thursdays and Fridays at 7 30 pm at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at 416 East 42nd Street.

Thought you might like to read the review of the distinguished Theater Critic, William Wolf. 



By William Wolf
COMFORT WOMEN--A NEW MUSICAL  Send This Review to a Friend
By now the story of Korean young women made sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II is well known, and battles have been raging to obtain official apologies from Japanese authorities. At first glance the subject hardly seems likely for becoming a musical, but the Dimo Kim Musical Theatre Factory, with an all Asian cast, is showing how it can be done in its revival of “Comfort Women.”
The work has a book by Dimo Hyun Jun Kim, Osker David Aguirre and Joanne Mieses, music by Bryan Michaels and Taeho Park, with Michaels providing the lyrics. Kim has directed with Natanal Hyun Kim as choreographer. Although some of the text is drawn out, the overall production is dramatically moving, as the important concept is fleshed out by an excellent cast.
The story begins in Seoul, Korea in 1942, shifting in succession to Jakarta, Indonesia, Busan, Korea, back to Indonesia, then skipping to Indonesia and Korea in 1945. The plot follows the trail of women lured with promises of work opportunities or forcibly taken to become sex slaves who had to service 50 to 100 Japanese soldiers daily at the peril of death if they refused or try to escape.
Central is the story of Goeun Kim, a teenager superbly played in acting and song by Abigail Choi Arader, who succumbs to the ruse in hope of earning money to support her family as well as to find her captured brother. Arader has an excellent voice, demonstrated when she sings “When You Lose a Son,” “Silence,” and “Twilight” among the show’s more impressive numbers.
The intricate plot also involves a Korean, Minsik (Matheus Ting), who has been pressed into the Japanese army and sympathetically risks his life to aid the Korean women. We get a picture of the brutality of the Japanese abusers and the pathos of the plight of the women in captivity.
There is an especially creative sequence in which the rapes are depicted not by obvious violence, but in symbolically choreographed dance that makes the point esthetically.
“Comfort Women” is also valuable because it gives roles to talented Asian actors generally overlooked in the overall make-up of Broadway and off-Broadway shows. The result in artistic terms is an achievement of authenticity. Among others important in the large cast are Mathew Bautista, Lena Rae Concepcion, Shuyan Yang, Sara States, Roni Shelley Perez , Emily Su and Kenny Mai.
One comes away appreciative of all the work that has gone into “Comfort Women, ” and even if it hardly rises to the level of a great musical, it boasts a reasonably good score and is indeed often moving, enlightening and dramatic in remembering the sad fate of so many Korean women who fell prey to the Imperial Japanese Arny during World War II. At the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, 416 West 42nd Street. Reviewed July 28, 2018.


WILLIAM WOLF, critic, author, journalist and lecturer, writes extensively on film and stage and has taught film courses at New York University. He was formerly film critic for the Gannett newspaper chain, a critic and contributing editor for New York Magazine and the film critic of Cue Magazine. His articles have appeared in newspapers throughout the country, national magazines and prestigious annuals. 

If you would like to attend, please let me know when and how many tickets you would like

Thank you,

Graham


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