Off-Broadway Show ‘KPOP’ Explores Race, Identity & the Fame Machine

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A peaking diva bemoans the career of her youthful successor. A boy band on the verge of breaking up fights internally while trying to get one final hit. A girl group struggles with identity and self. A foreign business tries to enter the American market.

This is ostensibly the plot of KPOP, a new Off-Broadway immersive theater experience. But the bilingual show — built to emulate the linguistic chaos non-English-speakers face in the U.S. — isn’t merely an entertaining few hours to take in a basic understanding of one of the fastest paced subcultures in the world: it’s a reflection on what it means to be Korean and/or American in the era of globalization, a world largely shaped by America’s military and pop culture dominance. A rarity for New York theater and near impossibility in American media in 2017, the entire show is performed by people of color, with all but one castmember — “Single Ladies” dancer Ebony Williams– of Asian descent.

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