Don't Miss: Springtime for the Dear Leader Not sure if it will get a Tony, but a new musical just opened in South Korea: family fare about the nightmares of life in the North Korean gulag… directed and choreographed by former prisoners.
NPR logo Don't Miss: Springtime for the Dear Leader

Don't Miss: Springtime for the Dear Leader

A scene from Yodok Story. Louisa Lim, NPR hide caption

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Louisa Lim, NPR

Okay, you've just escaped North Korea. You were held there for years in the gulag of prison camps. Your only crime? Listening to South Korean radio about the death of Kim Il Sung.

But you're out now. You've made it to freedom. What do you do? Why, put on a musical, of course.

Director Jung Sung San's musical, Yodok Story just opened in Seoul. It deals with rape, beatings, murder... great family fare, no?

Audiences have been stunned. Apparently the South Korean media doesn't like to talk too much about what is going on in its neighbor to the north. The South Korean government is attempting reconciliation with the North and doesn't exactly want to shine a bright light on Kim Jong Il's little peccadilloes that keep an estimated 400,000 people in the gulag.

Oh, and the director, he had to put up his kidney as collateral to put the show on. If he can pay them back by next month, it won't be removed.

Louisa Lim filed this piece on the whole thing. Listen for it tonight on ATC.

Update: Many people have posted or written in asking how they can give money to Jung Sungsan.

NPR's Louisa Lim found the contact info. The person to email is Binna Choi. (binna77 at You can reach Jung Sungsan directly (mrjung1117 at but he speaks no English so any messages in English should be sent to Binna.