Growing up in New Jersey and New York city, musical theater has always been a rather significant part of my childhood, my life and furthermore my identity.
My sophmore year, my best friend Leah Kim (senior, DIS) offered me a job to interpret for a musical theater director at an entertainment company. To my bewilderment, after a brief interview I was named interpreter/assistant director of a show called "King and I," which was a Korean adaptation of a well known Rogers and Hammerstein musical that was made into a Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr classic. I was in charge of "conducting" the rehearsals. The directing team was an American team composed of an experienced, well known Broadway director/choreographer, an assistant choreographer and a music director. I participated in all areas of producing the show. I attended all the rehearsals, interpreted every single word of the director/choreographer to the actors and Korean producers, attended all production meetings, took notes of everything that was happening and interpreted interviews.
I still count working as interpreter for "King and I" as one of the most rewarding and dramatic experiences of my life. I had the opportunity of witnessing the "politics" in show business, how it is operated and the general characteristics of people who work in the business. Being an interpreter, I experienced being caught between two cultures as the American directing team and Korean production team strived to communicate and work together harmoniously through my choice of words and conduct.
I also developed a close friendship with the director/choreographer, Sam Viverito. After spending an average of 12 hours a day with the then 49 year old, Italian-American musical theater sensation, I dare say he is one of the most influential people in my life. He taught me about directing, performing, what it takes to succeed in the business, patience, relationships and life in general. Although experiencing an immense amount of stress, emotional and physical pain I had come to the realization that whether I perform, direct or produce I had definitely chosen my field.
Afterwards I was blessed with the opportunities of participating in the Korean productions of "Mamamia" and "Aida." I also worked with Sam once again in a cult musical comedy called "Batboy." I also befriended some famous names in the business such as actor Kim Suk Hoon (the King in "King and I"), who has become a dear friend and the older brother that I never had and Broadway actress Christina Norrup (A Chorus Line, Big Foot, The Producers), my "white sister."
When I count my blessings, these experiences always come close to first, as I remember that, as said in the famous musical "There's no business like show business" there are "no people like show people and there is no business like show business."
by Kim Si-yun (International Studies, 4)