Ghost Review: Joowon, Woo Hyung and Jun Hyun as Sam Wheat

by farbarri written on 1st May 2014
Talking about Ghost, i remembered that i promised to post about all 3 Sam actors. while i was in Korea for 10 days, i had the chance to watch all 3 Sam actors perform. among my missions to Korea was to watch at least another Sam actor’s performance, and get all 6 main casts’ signature (minus Joowon’s; it’s impossible to get his signature without events). i was extremely happy that i managed to complete all my missions! 

Meeting with Jiyeon, Woo Hyung, Lee Chang Hee, Jun Hyun, Ivy, Choi Jung Won and Jeong Young Joo

just to remind/inform, the other Sam actors’ names are Kim Woo Hyung and Kim Jun Hyun. Oda Mae actresses are Choi Jung Won and Jeong Young Joo. i watched Jun Hyun’s real performance, however, I only watched Woo Hyung’s performance through the tv outside of the hall while waiting for the performance to end. i didnt want to watch his performance as i’m not too keen on the Oda Mae’s performance that day. @mei8805 watched his performance on that 24th April.
we waited for nearly 2 hours because we were waiting for mei and also because we wanted to get the other casts’ signature and pass our presents to Jiyeon. she performed with Joowon several days before, but due to us waiting for Joowon after the performance, we missed her as she had already left the theater before Joowon does. so we didnt manage to pass our present to Jiyeon as originally planned.
after the performance ended, the throng of audience left the theater. we didnt expect too many audience members, but according to mei, most of the seats were sold out! there was a 30% discount for both Woo Hyung (and Jun Hyun), so more audience members came to watch. it was nearly sold out, apart from several seats in the VIP area. i think this is a good marketing strategy. by giving discounts for other Sam actors, viewers will feel curious as to how Joowon interprets Sam, so they’ll go to watch his performance. i would have done so.
after all the audience members have left, first cast to descend was Lee Chang Hee, who played Carl. we managed to already take a picture with him last year, but he didnt seem to want to stop for autographs because the performance ended late last year. but this time, we took our chances and asked him for a signature. and he obliged! he looks very handsome. so he signed and we took pictures together. he asked where we were from, and we replied to him. we didnt chat much, but he smiled a lot. he’s quite a warm person.

This image has been resized to fit in the page. Click to enlarge.
Jiyeon came downstairs through the back way. from afar, i saw her small figure bowing to fangirls, but they didnt ask her for signatures or pictures. when she turned to face me, i bowed to her. she stopped in her tracks, and just stared at us. i could tell she recognizes us from last year! yipee!!! she remembers!!!
as she approached,we asked her if she recognizes us, and she said yes! she said in Korean “You girls are Joowon-oppa’s fans from last year! But today is not Joowon-oppa’s performance”. We said that we knew, but we were there that day for her and Woo Hyung-oppa, not Joowon. then we passed our presents. she was so happy! she took our presents and keep going “awww~” like she’s very touched upon receiving gifts from fans too. we also told her that she seems more playful and comfortable with Joowon, and she admitted that it was because they’re close friends. then we take pictures with her.
she took a pic with me, then maymay and mei. then me again. yes, i took pictures with her twice because i forgot that i’ve already taken a picture with her 1 minute earlier. sometimes i have short-term memory loss…
we also took pictures with Jung Yeong Joo, the other Oda Mae character. according to mei, she had a cold on that day, so her singing were somewhat affected because she cant breathe properly. poor her~ but as i watched from the tv outside, i could listen to her singing, and she sounds really powerful still. if mei didnt tell me, i wouldnt have guessed that she had a cold. she’s very soft-spoken and gentle as she chatted with us.
last to leave the hall is my favourite Sam, Woo Hyung oppa~ as he descended the escalator, he spotted us. we immediately bowed to him and waved. his reaction was so adorable!!! he totally wasnt expecting any international fans to wait for him, so he was extremely surprised when he saw us. his face is as if he’s saying ‘are they waiting for me???’ LOL! as he approached downstairs, he just stared at us, then clamped a hand to his mouth in disbelief. LOL! so adorable!!!
when he walked towards us, we told him we wanted his signature and picture, and he was like “really? mine?” and as he was about to sign, he looked to the lady next to him (possibly his manager?) and said “this is so cool~” LMAO! i laughed like crazy when he said that. he looks extremely handsome, and i love the way he dress~ his arm muscles are bulging in protest of the jacket he’s wearing. he must have 6-packs underneath those shirt… *slaps myself* he’s married, farbarri…
anyway, when he signs, we chatted. he asked us where we’re from, and we told him Indonesia and Malaysia. he said he had been to Indonesia, and maymay guessed correctly that he had been to Bali. then we took individual pictures with him because he’s just so cool~
he was so nice that he bends slightly towards us when he takes pictures. he must have really appreciated us for coming to see him. after the picture, he stares at us again, speechless. and he held up both his hands like he wants to give a high-10, so i grabbed one of his hands, and he clasped it tightly, tighter than a handshake. awww~ now i feel so bad for not watching him live… i didnt even have any present for him… anyway, we waved to each other for a long time before both him and us left for separate exits.
on 27th April, we watched 2 Ghost performances. for the 2pm performance, Joowon performed as Sam whereas for the 6:30pm performance, Jun Hyun performed as Sam. we chose to watch the evening performance too so we can stay back after it ended to meet Jun Hyun and Ivy. we wanted to wait for Kyeong Soo oppa too, but it seems like he was in a rush to go back, and he exited through another way while audience members were still mingling around. so it was kind of hard to spot him in his glasses and backpack because he looks so normal.
after Ghost ended, as usual, we waited by the downstairs escalator. first cast to descend was Kyeong Soo-oppa, but he was gone before we can even approach him. too bad~ while we waited for other casts, we said goodbye to the D-cube manager ahjusshi who we became friends with since last year.
when someone descended the escalator, the ahjusshi beckoned for us to come over. then we saw it was Ivy! she was with her manager. the kind ahjusshi explained to her that we came all the way from Malaysia and Indonesia, and we watched Ghost several times, and that we were waiting for her that day. i was so shocked! i didnt even expect ahjusshi to explain that. awww~ Ivy was like “oh, really?” then she greeted us. as she signed, we told her she was so beautiful and that her voice and performance was amazing. then we asked for a picture, but she said she wasnt wearing any make-up. LOL! we told her it was fine since she’s still beautiful anyway. so we took individual pictures with her!
(picture will be included later)
then Kim Jun Hyun came down the escalator, and we asked for his signature. i wanted to take his picture, but he didnt want to, so we respect his decision. he was wearing denim jacket and jeans, just like Woo Hyung -oppa, but a darker blue shade of denim color. he looks really good too, but he didnt talk much. shy, maybe? but we’re just extremely glad that we managed to get all casts signature, minus Joowon’s, and pictures with everyone too, minus Joowon’s and Jun Hyun’s.
as for Choi Jung Won, we met with her several times. we watched Ghost on 3 separate days (20th, 23rd and 27th), and two of it was with Choi Jung won unnie. on 23rd we met with her before and after the performance. before the performance, she greeted us in recognition. then promised to meet us after the performance. that day she was simply outstanding! worthy of her nickname ‘musical diva’~ after the performance, she meets up with us as promised. she signed the Ghost book and took pictures with us. a few fans waited for her after the performance.
on 27th, again me and maymay waited for her. after our meeting with Ivy, the manager ahjusshi saw Jung Won-unnie’s manager standing nearby us, so he told him that we’re waiting for Choi Jung Won now, and to make sure she meets up with us. LOL! gosh, i should have gotten ahjusshi a present. he’s so nice! the manager told us to wait as she’s coming down soon. and when she did, she immediately greeted us and hugged us. she quickly sat down and said “signature! signature!” we were like “unnie, no more picture in Ghost book to sign” then she said “how about a picture, then?” LOL!
i passed my present to her, which is a short letter and two pictures that i draw. (OMG, i forgot to take a picture of my present!!!) she loved it! after we took a picture (her manager took for us), she started showing my present around to her manager and the manager ahjusshi, and anyone else nearby. LMAO! before we parted, we told her it was the last time we’re watching Ghost. she hugged us goodbye, and bid us farewell~ it was quite sad, but she’s just so amazing! i hope Joowon will get a chance to act in another musical with her, then we will get to meet her again.
Non-biased review of Sam actors’ performance analysis – Moon Joowon, Kim Woo Hyung and Kim Jun Hyun
(this sounds like research topic or something. LOL!)
i was lucky enough to be able to get the chance to watch all 3 Sam actors, who are the life and soul of the musical. Sam may not have a lot of tough singing parts like Molly, but he was on stage for approximately 2 hours out of the whole musical. so yes, being Sam is extremely exhausting, and is a good way to lose weight.
Sam is a character which requires tremendous physical and mental strength. Sam experiences extreme emotion each step of the way. in the beginning, he was happily moving in with his girlfriend, then he showed his bossy yet friendly persona while at work with Carl and others, then showed protectiveness, despair, desperation, love, friendship, revenge, and many other emotion as he died and progress further along into the musical.
Molly requires great vocals for her solo songs, and she also plays with emotion. but it is not very difficult to show emotion being Molly as her mood changes are not abrupt like Sam’s. Carl is more or less like Molly, but with more emotion and less singing display ability. but being Carl also requires vocal prowess, and change of emotion. Oda Mae is contrary to Carl, where she requires extreme singing ability and less emotion display. but it is not easy having to act to not able to see anyone when the people or person are just right next to you. Oda Mae does this brilliantly.
please bear in mind that these comparisons are purely based on my observation, and mine alone. others may feel differently. i’m judging based on my limited 3 years of musical/theater experience.
all 3 Sam actors each have their own strengths and weaknesses. but each bears a resemblance to one another despite their differences.
judging based on singing vocal prowess and song adlibs, my vote goes to Kim Woo Hyung. he has the musical tone that is extremely powerful, but you can tell that he has never or rarely go out of pitch, or even crack his voice. he may have done so, but from videos and that one particular performance that i watch, his vocals are the most stable.
Joowon is 2nd best to me. Joowon would have been first alongside Kim Woo Hyung, but the only problem is that Joowon cracks his voice sometimes, and it is always at that one particular part in Scene 2, after Molly had left from the police station and he sings backwards, and Molly left to go into the house. he cracks at “nigyeote naega isseo” part. other than this part, Joowon is very stable. even as i watch 7 times, i am still amazed that Joowon can sing like how he did as Sam. during the high parts, he goes extremely high, and during low parts, he sings in very low tones.
in terms of singing adlibs, Joowon may not do it as much as the other Sam actors. he sings just like how he did in press release videos and other videos uploaded by iseensee, but with more emotion in his performances than in the videos. and for all 7 times, Joowon didnt change his singing style at all. for all i know, other Sam actors could have sung the same way too in each of their performances, but both Sam actors sing differently than Joowon in each song. i have to give credits to Kim Woo Hyung and Kim Jun Hyun, because they are in their 30s and have been musical actors for years and years. so their ability to adlib is much better than Joowon.
Kim Jun Hyun adlibs his singing too, but his vocals are too powerful. to me, certain songs dont suit his singing style at all. the last Unchained Melody part requires very gentle singing tones by Sam, to show his longing and extreme love for Molly, but Jun Hyun had to use falsetto to sing that part, and it just doesnt suit him very well. though he is powerful, he also seem to have trouble at the “nigyeote naega isseo” part. Joowon’s vocals are stable, though he may crack sometimes. but in that particular performance of Jun Hyun that i watch, his vocals were very shaky. even I Had A Life which is a killer song, Joowon performs it much better than him. the only song that i think suit Jun Hyun’s vocals are Here Right Now. yes, he adlibs too, and he does it quite good. but a lot of the songs doent suit his vocals.
in terms of body language, Joowon is the best. this is definitely down to him being a screen actor, so he knows how to express himself using body language in conveying his emotion. in my latest fanaccount i mentioned a part where subway ghost beats Sam repeatedly. this part is best expressed by Joowon. when he was thrown out of the train, he even rolls over; when SG beats him, his whole body responded instead of just his arm that was pushed or something. when conveying his desperation, Joowon also uses his body language, like bending towards Molly as he sings to her, hunching his shoulders when he’s upset, etc. Joowon even adds in a small body movement-like-dance when he sings I Had A Life.
Both Woo Hyung and Jun Hyun’s weakness is definitely body language. they are desperate, but they express it by voice intonation only. their body language is minimal at times. like when Sam runs across the stage, Joowon runs with all his might, his hair flapping around and standing on end. but both WH and JH just jogs on stage. i laughed when i see this. i was like “RUN!!!” and during Unchained Melody, Joowon’s dance was so hilarious that the whole audience laughed watching him. when he turns around while dancing or does his body wave, he does it so naturally.
i didnt see how WH does it, but JH was bad at this. he dances like i’m-only-doing-this-because-the-director-tells-me-to dance. he even plays guitar tunelessly! oh gosh… WH does it better. but the one who created the most impact was Joowon’s version. with his dorky and pervertic dance, Joowon nailed this part perfectly. he was fully being ridiculous trying to calm Molly when she’s upset.
dialogue/scripts aspect, all 3 Sam actors are great in their own way. they’re all using different dialogue intonation, but matches the intonation that people use every day. none of their scripts seem scripted at all. however, in certain parts, Joowon adds his own style and body language in expressing the meaning, which results in more impact to the viewers. for instance, in the beginning, they were talking about a woman’s painting. Joowon even adds his short sexy dance in response to Molly. JH didnt do it. Joowon tickles Molly randomly, kisses her unsuspectingly, and adlibs with Oda Mae hilariously.
and in one of the bank scenes where Oda Mae wrongly mentioned ‘man’ instead of ‘woman’, Joowon yells “Yeojaaa!!!” complete with his mouth and eyes open wide, body bent low towards the banker, staring at him, afraid their plan will be ruined due to this wrong info. at that point, audience laughed like crazy! and the impact of this is due to both Joowon and Oda Mae, instead of just Oda Mae. both WH and JH just yells “Yeoja!” then stood there manly, staring at the banker in frustration. so the laughter impact is lesser.
another one of my fav part is when Sam sings Red Indians song to annoy Oda Mae. this time, Joowon counts the red indians on his fingers. LOL! initially, he just sings it, like how the other actors do it. but this time, he included a small hand count, which i find totally cute~ so yes, body language is a very important aspect because fans are seated very far from the stage. though they can hear the emotion in Sam’s voice though singing or dialogue, but with both watching (body language) and listening to the emotion in songs, the impact will be much better.
see how Joowon uses body language and vocal emotion to express himself. even without the audio, we can tell his despair at this moment:
thanks to @mindymoe for the gifs~
so generally, taking all aspects of body language, vocal intonation and singing prowess, i have to say that JOOWON shows the BEST version of Sam Wheat. Woo Hyung is 2nd and Jun Hyun is 3rd. Both WH and JH’s weakness is body language, which reduces the emotion display. However, Joowon’s only weakness is his slightly lesser ability to adlibs songs, and his occasional vocal crack at the part mentioned earlier (he cracks 3 times out of the 7 times that i watch him). but this weakness is noticeable to those who only watch Joowon several times. and this weakness is not even something extreme. he still conveys his messages and emotion perfectly, though he does it repetitively each time.
but with Joowon’s absolutely amazing singing prowess and crazy ability to express his emotions, it is not exaggerating if i say the role of Sam Wheat is meant for Joowon. Ghost songs also fit Joowon’s vocals perfectly. the gentle parts are very gentle, and powerful parts are goosebump-worthy. when he cries, he sincerely cries. and we can see the transition in his emotion. his eyes first well up in tears, then his face contorts, then the tears flow down his face. he cries while singing too, but it made those parts all the more perfect. this is important when acting. it shows that he’s not a robotic actor who cries when he’s supposed to, but shows him being the character and actually feeling those emotions himself. Joowon has the ability to be funny and to make people cry. he brings out the best in Sam’s character, coloring Sam with manliness, cuteness, laughter and sadness.
so there… i’ve completed my analysis. i know it’s a bit too long. so thank you for reading~

2 thoughts on “Ghost Review: Joowon, Woo Hyung and Jun Hyun as Sam Wheat

  1. Thank you so so much for a well-written, clear and honest review. I can draw a picture in my head. This review totally means a lot for those, including me, who don’t have a chance to go see this musical. Thank you so much

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