As a singer, Park Hyo-shin has little left to prove.
Since debuting in 2000, he has released nine studio albums, performed in nearly 100 concerts and has many awards under his belt. With a deep, husky voice that pierces the soul and powerful high notes, he has his fair share of passionate and devoted fans, too.
An indication of his status as a singer, Park's latest single "Wild Flower" topped local charts upon its release in March after a nearly 4-year hiatus, even though the singer has done literally nothing to promote it.
Now, the 32-year-old musician is up for a new challenge, trying out his theatrical acting chops in the musical "MOZART!"
Park Hyo-shin (right) plays Mozart in musical "MOZART!" (EMK Musical Company)
In the show, currently running at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul, he plays Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the greatest composers of all time, sharing the role with veteran musical actors Im Tae-kyung and Park Eun-tae.
It is his third, and apparently most ambitious, venture into musical theatre. He played the male supporting role, Death, in the musical "Elizabeth" in 2013. In 2000, when he was still a rookie singer, he appeared in original Korean musical "Rock Hamlet."
"MOZART!" is not an easy undertaking. An Austrian show with the book and lyrics by Michael Kunze and music by Sylvester Levay, the musical has had three immensely successful runs in Korea in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and produced the hottest musical star currently in the scene ― Kim Jun-su.
Originally a singer like Park, Kim made his musical debut as Mozart and shot to fame as a musical actor.
The ongoing production starring Park is an "All New MOZART!," the producer EMK Musical Company touts, saying that new numbers were added, with the plot twisted to make it fresh and more appealing to the local audience.
Understandably, Park feels the pressure.
"For me, everything about a musical is still very new and difficult," he said at a press conference last month after an open rehearsal.
"It is difficult for me to try and do just like what other actors have done in their portrayals of Mozart. So I'm trying to create my own Mozart," he added.
And indeed, Park's Mozart was different.
In the early-afternoon performance on June 18, he poured himself out on stage as the musical genius struggling between his father's expectations and his inner desire to find his own way.
Park's Mozart was pure, childish and often self-contradictory, rather than charismatic and manly.
Musically, he nailed the role, perfectly delivering its rock numbers.
Acting-wise, there seemed some room for improvement. Portraying a legendary musician's life, his agonies and shades of madness and gift, would be tough for even veteran actors.
Overall, it looks clear that Park is growing as a musical actor.
When composer Levay came onto the stage after curtain calls on the night of the show's premiere, he expressed his full support for Park, saying "I love you, Hyo-shin." Park burst into tears, saying he will do his best during the show's run through Aug. 3.
When "Mozart!" closes, Park plans to focus on his 10th studio album, which is scheduled for release by the end of this year.
"Hopefully, the positive energy I am getting from this musical will translate into songs (for the new album)," he said.