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Harvard senior’s Disney-inspired Korean musical a hit online

Disney has made the Frozen Scandinavian Princess, the Chinese Warrior Princess and many more in between. But a Korean princess? Not so much. Harvard University student Julia Rio has set out to fix it. The 22-year-old Korean-American senior wrote “Shimcheong: A Folktale” – a feature-length musical inspired by a Korean fairy tale with an undeniably Disney cinematic atmosphere – as her senior dissertation. He has been releasing excerpts on TikTok since January and has quickly garnered avid fans with short videos showing her transforming into a Disney animated princess as she broadcasts her songs. “Riew has even sparked interest from Hollywood and theater producers, and supporters have begun creating graphics and animation to help bring its story to life.” I honestly still feel like I’m dreaming, “she said recently. “It was moving to see the reaction, especially among the Korean-American community.” Rio, who grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, before her family moved to New York and then to Connecticut, hopes the musical follows in the footsteps of others, has collaborated successfully and participated in TikTok in recent years. “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” debuted in 2020 as a charity concert with Adam Lambert, Wayne Brady and other stars following the idea permeated for months on the social networking platform between music fans and performers alike. work. Last year, the female duo known as Barlow & Bear went viral on TikTok with a song inspired by Netflix’s soap opera drama “Bridgerton”. That led to “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical”, a 15-track Grammy-winning album – the first for a collaboration with TikTok. Riew’s musical is based on the Korean fairy tale “The Blind Man’s Daughter”, about a young woman who tries to rehabilitate, sees her blind father, but ends up in the distant Kingdom of the Dragons. In the Riew version, the young Shimcheong spends years growing up in the magical kingdom before embarking on an epic journey home. In the process, the truths are revealed, the obstacles are overcome and the laughter and catchy songs are not missing. Disney and Broadway made soundtracks and started writing their own songs and musicals at a young age. “What stood out to me was that it was a story about a young woman going on an adventure,” she explains. “There are not many stories in Korean folklore about women, especially those who go on adventures.” Disney has historically struggled to reflect the diversity of its audience, turning to stories with mostly white characters and stereotypical depictions of non-white cultures, says Jana Thomas, professor of media and communication at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. social networking and has also written about representation in Disney movies. But the entertainment giant has responded to calls for more representative projects and found success. from 2016 Moana to Coco, Soul, Raya and the Last Dragon and last year’s Encanto hit, he said. Turning Red, a Disney Pixar animated film, is set to be released next week, starring a teenage Chinese-Canadian teenager. “Julia’s use of TikTok to build a fan base and attract Disney’s attention was a well-executed move,” Thomas added. “She used a social media platform preferred by a demographic user who supports her goal of increasing media representation and entertainment. I would like to see Julia’s story set as an example for others who want to maximize the preventive and positive power of Disney representatives did not respond to emails asking for comment this week. But even if the movie studio does not call, Riew is optimistic that Shimcheong will continue to live after graduating and starting a career as a composer. “It looks like the project will move forward at this point,” he said. something else, but there was definitely some interest. “Riew says she’s been playing with the idea of ​​a music project for a long time. from her Korean heritage, but began working hard on it after the coronavirus struck and ended up returning home because the campus was closed. Riew admits that it was difficult at times to write the story and wondered if it was appropriate for her, as a third-generation Korean, to tell her: “There were times when I tried to give up when I felt like I was a fake Korean,” she said. “But I realized during the process that we can really only represent our own story, and that is perfectly fine. There is no way to be Korean. “Posting videos on TikTok not only helped create buzz for the project – it also helped improve it. Riew says it changed the character of Lotus, Shimcheong’s assistant and comic relief “from dragon to gumiho – a mythical nine-tailed fox in Korean folklore – based on proponents’ comments.” “It was refreshing,” she said, introducing her work to the sometimes critical eye of social media. “It was impressive to realize how many people would like to see this happen.”

Disney has made the Frozen Scandinavian Princess, the Chinese Warrior Princess and many more in between. But a Korean princess? Not so much.

Harvard University student Julia Rio has set out to fix it. The 22-year-old Korean-American senior wrote “Shimcheong: A Folktale” – a feature-length musical inspired by a Korean fairy tale with an undeniably Disney cinematic atmosphere – as her senior dissertation.

He has been releasing excerpts on TikTok since January and has quickly garnered avid fans with short videos showing her transforming into a Disney animated princess as she broadcasts her songs.

Riew has even sparked interest from Hollywood and theater producers, and its supporters have begun creating graphics and animation to help bring its story to life.

“I honestly still feel like I’m dreaming,” he said recently. “It was moving to see the reaction, especially among the Korean American community.”

Riew, who grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, before her family moved to New York and then to Connecticut, hopes the musical follows the same trajectory as others who have collaborated successfully and participated in TikTok in recent years.

“Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” debuted in 2020 as a lucrative concert with Adam Lambert, Wayne Brady and other stars after the idea permeated for months on the social media platform among music fans and out of work.

Last year, the female duo known as Barlow & Bear went viral on TikTok with a song inspired by Netflix’s soap opera drama “Bridgerton”. That led to “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical”, a 15-song album now available for Grammy – the first for a TikTok collaboration.

Riew’s musical is based on the Korean fairy tale “The Blind Man’s Daughter”, about a young woman who tries to restore her blind father’s sight, but ends up in the distant Kingdom of Dragons.

In the Riew version, the young Shimcheong spends years growing up in the magical kingdom before embarking on an epic journey home. In the process, the truths are revealed, the obstacles are overcome and there is no lack of laughter and catchy songs.

If this sounds like the plot for many of Disney’s most beloved works, that’s the point, says Riew, who grew up on a consistent diet with Disney and Broadway soundtracks and began writing her own songs and musicals on young age.

“What stood out to me was that it was a story about a young woman going on an adventure,” she explains. “There are not many stories in Korean folklore about women, especially those who go on adventures.”

Disney has historically struggled to reflect the diversity of its audience, turning to stories with mostly white characters and stereotypes of non-white cultures, says Jana Thomas, a professor of media and communications at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. media and has also written about representation in Disney movies.

However, the entertainment giant responded to calls for more representative projects and found success, from Moana 2016 to Coco, Soul, Raya and The Last Dragon and last year’s Encanto success, he said. Turning Red, a Disney Pixar animated film, is set to be released next week, starring a teenage Chinese-Canadian teenager.

“Julia’s use of TikTok to build a fan base and attract Disney’s attention was a well-executed move,” Thomas added. “She used a social media platform preferred by a demographic user who supports her goal of increasing media representation and entertainment. I would like to see Julia’s story set as an example for others who want to maximize the preventive and positive power of social media. “

Disney officials did not respond to an email asking for comment this week. But even if the film studio does not invite her, Riew is optimistic that Shimcheong will continue to live after graduating and starting a career as a composer and lyricist. He has already hired an agent to help navigate some of the first conversations.

“It seems that at this point the project will move forward,” he said. “I’m not sure yet if that means as a stage production, as an indie movie or something, but there was definitely some interest.”

Riew says she played with the idea of ​​a music project from her Korean heritage for a long time, but only began to take it seriously after the coronavirus struck and ended up returning home because the campus was closed.

Ryu admits that at times she found it difficult to write the story and wondered if it was appropriate for her, as a third-generation Korean, to say so.

“There were times when I tried to give up when I felt like I was a fake Korean,” she said. “But I realized during the process that we can really only represent our own story, and that’s absolutely okay. There is no way to be Korean.”

Posting videos on TikTok not only helped create buzz for the project – it also helped improve it.

Riew says she changed the character of Lotus, Shimcheong’s aide and comic book relief, from dragon to gumiho – a mythical nine-tailed fox in Korean folklore – based on comments from supporters.

“It is refreshing,” she said, referring to her work in the sometimes critical eye of social media. “It was impressive to realize how many people would like to see this happen.”

Harvard senior’s Disney-inspired Korean musical a hit online Source link Harvard senior’s Disney-inspired Korean musical a hit online

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