Friday, August 11, 2006

North Korea Gulag Musical to Hit Washington

A Korean musical about human rights abuses in North Korea’s notorious Yoduk concentration camp will be staged at the National Theater in Washington D.C.

Producers of “Yoduk Story” said the musical will debut there on September 21. The 165-year old National Theater is right on Pennsylvania Avenue, about 100 m from the White House, and is one of the national symbols. There will be 10 shows until October 1 at the theater.

Suzanne Scholte, the head of the activist group Defense Forum Foundation who played a key part in arranging the show's U.S. tour, said U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush were invited to the premiere, although it is unclear whether the first family will attend. But she said several senators, representatives and leading figures wanted to see it.

On the eve of the first performance, a reception for the show will be held on Capitol Hill hosted by Sen. Sam Brownback, one of the sponsors of the U.S.’ North Korean Human Rights Act. Brownback also recently campaigned for six North Korean refugees to be given asylum in the U.S. The musical’s run is tipped to boost the case of hardliners in the U.S. who want to put more pressure on Pyongyang.

After the run in Washington, “Yoduk Story” will tour New York, Los Angeles and Seattle till November. The show’s director Chung Seong-san will announce the schedule next week.

[Chosun Ilbo]

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