"I give the same performance each time. What I did today, I'll do tomorrow and the next week. But for some people, the show they see today could be the only one or the first one they see. I don't want to disappoint them. I do my best because once a member of the audience feels 'Oh, musicals are fun!' they'll continue to come. I feel that responsibility. I'm sure other actors do, too."
Kim Junsu is famed for having a large fandom. Many of his fans see his shows multiple times. Some will compare his performance to the <Dracula> he did 7 years ago. The audience will detect changes from show to show and appraise his performance accordingly. As an actor, he cannot escape the pressure of having to present something more with each passing show. Kim Junsu has a surefire way of meeting their expectations: always returning to the mindset he had at the beginning.
He has established himself as a trusted musical theatre actor now but when he was starting out, there was a heavy bias against his idol background. During the 2010 <Mozart!> - the musical that made him a theatre actor - there was conflict between idol fans and musical theatre fans. Idols fans were supportive of Kim in his new career path but theatre fans were uncomfortable with an idol intruding on their ground. The tension brought on by the unprecedented move by an idol was palpable. The man in question, however, kept his calm. It was not a passing whim for him; he was in it for good. He believed that, if he worked in earnest and consistently increased the productions in his profile, the recognition would follow. It was up to him to put the doubts and controversies to sleep so that junior idols could work in a better environment. "As idols began venturing into musicals one by one, the reception was not favorable. I was caught in the middle. Ock Juhyun nuna made a good beginning but I was the first idol still in the field to take up musicals. It was a troubling time for me so I was just grateful for the chance to go on stage. At the time, there were many who thought I wasn't serious about it. I thought that if I kept at it in earnest, they'd come around. It's already been 11 years."
After making his debut with <Mozart!>, Kim chose to do another musical the following year. It was the original musical <Tears of Heaven>, a love story set in the Vietnam war. A rookie actor opting for an original musical was a challenge as well as cause for further controversy. Despite the concerns, however, it did not take long for Kim to gain recognition from the industry. Every musical he took on not only proved to be box office hits but brought him Newcomer awards, Audience Choice awards and the Best Actor award. He had become a bona fide musical theatre actor, more than an idol leaning on his fandom. This season's <Dracula> is still selling out the shows in which Kim is performing. [..]
11 years in musical theatre. Kim says "musicals made me dream again." He stayed authentic amidst the prejudice and worked at his craft, creating a smoother path for other idols who wanted to follow in his footsteps. Idol fandoms and theatre fandoms have come together to support him. With undeniable vocal and acting chops, he draws first-time audiences to the theatre again and again. Such is the captivating magic of a dreamer.