Musical director Kolleen Park will return to the stage as an actress after a 20-year absence. Park, who gained nationwide fame after conducting an amateur choir in the KBS TV show "Qualifications of Men," will star in the rock musical "Next to Normal" from Nov. 18.
The new musical tells the story of a mother who is obsessed with visions of her long-dead son and the impact this has on her family. It made its Broadway debut in April 2009 and won three Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize.
"When I watched the musical on Broadway, I felt an urge to play a role," Park said. "It masterfully expresses the pain that people feel when they lose a loved one. I was impressed by its telling of a sad story through sophisticated rhythms and rock tempo."
Park was born to a Korean father and a Lithuanian-American mother. She majored in cello at the California Institute of the Arts and earned a master's degree in Korean traditional music at Seoul National University. She also learned pansori, or traditional Korean narrative song, from the master Park Dong-jin. She has directed a number of musicals, including "The Last Empress" and "Aida."