Oak Ju-hyun to play green-skinned witch

Musical actress Oak Ju-hyun poses for a photo during a press conference promoting her upcoming musical “Wicked” in Seoul on Monday.

After playing the unhappy Austrian empress (Elisabeth) and the mysterious, obsessive housekeeper (Rebecca), musical actress Oak Ju-hyun has now been cast to play the famous green-skinned witch.

The highly anticipated cast of the upcoming musical "Wicked" was finally announced on Monday. The upcoming run is the first Korean-language edition of the popular Broadway musical, also featuring an all-local cast.

Based on Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel "Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West," a parallel novel of the classic "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," the show was staged in Seoul for the first time by an Australian production company ― with actresses Jemma Rix and Suzie Mathers taking the lead roles ― last year.

The musical tells the story of two very different witches in the Land of Oz ― green-skinned, struggling and often-alienated Elphaba and beautiful and popular blonde Glinda. The show is a ravishing spectacle and fantasy, mixed with a touching account of one's experience of difficult youth, life-changing friendship and growing up.

"I was at first drawn to Glinda," actress Oak Ju-hyun said through the promoters.

"Anyone would find her lovely and attractive. But as soon as I got to learn about Elphaba, I started dreaming about playing her. I find a lot of similarities between her and me. I would say she is a dream role for any actress."

Playing Glinda is actress Jeong Sun-ah, who has been active in the local musical scene since 2003. Some of her well known works include "Aida" (2010, 12), "Jesus Christ Superstar" (2013) and "Evita" (2011, 12). The actress saw "Wicked" for the first time four years ago and has been wanting to play the role of the bubbly blond witch ever since.

Actress Park Hye-na ("Mozart," "Late Night Restaurant") is sharing the role of Elphaba with Oak, while Kim Bo-kyung ("Rebecca," "Cats") is sharing the role of Glinda with Jeong.

"Wicked" will open on Nov. 22 at Charlotte Theater in Jamsil, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 140,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)