I love a good psycho thriller, but there aren't many musical psycho thrillers, so I was quite intrigued when I found out about Interview, a new psycho musical thriller, produced and directed by Dimo Hyun Jun Kim.
In Interview, a seemingly innocuous job interview for a writer’s apprentice quickly turns sinister when the true motives of the interviewee, "Matt," are revealed. Unveiling the myriad pieces of haunting evidence kept hidden for the past 10 years, the interviewer, "Dr. Eugene Harper," and the interviewee now have to investigate a murder mystery to find the true killer of a young girl whose corpse was found floating on a lake. The twist – while there are two people in the room, there are seven different personalities to be probed. The intoxicating question of what is real and what is not will quickly drive the audience to the brink of insanity.
Interview will play at the Theatre at St. Clement's (423 West 46th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) through March 5! Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a director/producer? I was born in South Korea, and at age four I watched my very first musical, Cats, at the Seoul Arts Center. The following year, my parents brought me back to the theatre to see a Korean adaptation of Cats. Even at a tender age, I realized that the original musical was a phantasmagorical spectacle and theatre was where I belonged.
By age nine, I had decided to create my very own musical. The producer, Do-yoon Seol, allowed me to watch Cats gratis daily after noticing my enthusiasm for the show. As recorded in my diary, I watched Cats eighty-six times. When the tour ended, I knew every line by heart and understood how music, dance, verse, costume, scenery, and orchestra fit together. And from that very moment, I longed to be a great director despite my parents’ disagreement.
2. When did you decide to start your own theatre company? What has been the best part about this venture and what challenges did you face in creating it? I founded DIMO KIM MUSICAL THEATRE FACTORY in 2015 to produce COMFORT WOMEN: A New Musical. I had numerous challenges trying to create everything from ground zero, with no connections or networks in NYC. I had to learn how radio signal works, and how to deal with insurance, payroll, the IRS...it wasn't easy. However, it was amazingly rewarding to solve one issue at a time and put together a show.
3. After making its world premiere in Seoul, Korea and sold-out runs in Kyoto & Tokyo, you are now bringing Interview, an original psycho musical thriller to NYC for a limited run. What made now the right time bring the show to NYC? After producing two original shows in New York, I had the urge to bring a show that was successful in Korea to NYC audience members. Coincidentally, Suro Kim, who was the producer of Green Card: A New Musical, also wanted to bring a hit show from Korea to the US. That's how it all started.
4. What do you hope NY audiences will embrace most about this show? Psycho thriller musicals aren't too common in New York City but it is a very popular genre in Korea and Japan. I really want the audiences to see how one actor, Josh Bardier, plays six different roles at the same time - it is absolutely amazing.
5. Why did you want to produce & direct this show? I wanted to show NYC audiences the high quality of Korean-born musicals. Also, because the show deals with domestic abuse and mental health issues, I wanted to approach the story as sensitive as I could - and I believed I could.
6. Interview tells the story of a psychologist, a criminal defendant & a legal system that would stop at nothing to gain an alleged killer's confession, even if it means driving the accused to the brink of insanity. When has there been a time in your life when you have been pushed over the emotional edge? When I was producing/directing Comfort Women, I received numerous calls from far-right Japanese people threatening to harm me - that gave me serious anxiety issues.
7. In Interview, a famous psychologist & author call a temp agency for an apprenticeship. The perfect candidate appears at his door. Witty, studious & eager to please, "Matt Sinclair" quickly makes an impression with "Dr. Eugene Harper." All is not as it appears, however & what starts as an interview, quickly turns sinister as the author's true motives are revealed. When have you been in a situation where something appeared to be one thing and it quickly turned into something completely different? When I was preparing for Green Card: A New Musical, I had a meeting with a sponsor - he looked like a total gangster. But he turned out to be the nicest person ever! I was pretty surprised. :)
8. Over the past 20 years, South Korea has become the third biggest market for musical theatre, after New York & London. As a producer, what has been the best part about the growth of musical theatre in South Korea and what changes do you feel still need to made there? When I turned 15, I began questioning why new musicals were always made in English and never made in our native Korean tongue. Something was missing from the industry. At 16-years-old, I tried to compose and direct a musical by myself, in vain. Three months of work and savings was lost. I decided to pitch my proposal to many Korean producers, who were kind, but they told me without further explanation that "no new musical will ever start in Korea." This was not an acceptable answer to me therefore I decided to go to New York City to make musicals. I presumed if I make a name in the city that is Marshall McLuhan’s proverbial "global village," licenses to play my musicals could always be sent back home.
New York indeed has a great theatre district, but when I arrived here in 2010 I found a dilapidated local Asian theatre community that seemed in a state of infancy. I realized quickly that there was a lack of Korean and more generally, pan Asiatic representation, both in the creative teams and in the roles offered in Broadway, Off-Broadway, and even regional theater productions. As a result, since my arrival in the United States six years ago, I have worked hard to create more opportunities for Asian casts and creative teams to find a voice in the large plethora of the enchanted world of theatre and theatrical artistry. My ultimate goal is to become one of a few directors to lead the Asian theatre community to a new recognition on the world stage.
9. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? I wanna sleep one percent more every day. This will give me the energy to put on a better show every single day!
Dimo Hyun Jun Kim is a theatre director from Seoul, South Korea, Chairman of Dimo Kim Musical Theatre Factory LLC & Theatre Department Chair of Born Star Training Center NYC. Dimo made his Off-Broadway debut with Comfort Women: A New Musical, nominated for Best Off-Broadway Musical by BroadwayWorld & the first all-Asian Off-Broadway cast to be led by an East Asian national. Other Off-Broadway shows include Green Card: A New Musical & Innermind. Selected credits include Richard III, See What I Wanna See, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, West Side Story, Advice to the Players, The Cherry Orchard, Godspell, The Upper Lip, Finding My Way Back Home, Promenade, Life is A Dream, West Side Ballad, Our Town, Art, Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Spring is Arising & Jesus Christ Superstar. In June, Dimo will be producing the Asian Musical Theatre Festival in Lincoln Center.