Currently, Eu Jin Hwang is rehearsing for his West End debut, when he will open in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love at the Lyric Theatre on May 13th, with the show booking until November 11th. Earlier this year, Eu Jin was part of the UK premiere of Broadway musical George Takei’s Allegiance alongside the show’s inspiration George Takei, and he previously toured in Anything Goes, as well as appearing in the musical at the Barbican Centre, as cover Captain, Luke and John. For his first live performance after COVID closed theatres around the world, Eu Jin played Caspar in Artaban the Musical, and he had been touring the UK and internationally with The King and I as cover King, Kralahome, Orton and Ramsey before the tour had to close due to the pandemic. Chatting to us, Eu Jin spoke about his upcoming West End debut in Aspects of Love at the Lyric Theatre, being in the cast of the UK premiere of George Takei’s Allegiance and touring with The King and I.
It has been announced that you will be in the cast of the revival of Aspects of Love at the Lyric Theatre, what are you looking forward to most for opening in the production and making your West End debut?
I’m most looking forward to being in the rehearsal room when we breathe new life into this classic musical and telling this story in a way that is relevant today.
How much did you know about Aspects of Love before auditioning and what do you think the show will be like to perform in?
I knew Aspects of Love as one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s great classical scores. A show with melodies and lyrics as lavish as this needs a clear focus on acting and storytelling, which we have under Jonathan’s (Kent) wonderful direction. What we hope the audience will walk out with is not just how beautiful the music is, but also how powerful the story was told.
Why would you recommend booking tickets to see the show when it opens in the West End later this month?
There is a clarity to the story which delves into and slowly unwraps the messy complexity of human need in a way that I believe will resonate with audiences.
This year, you were part of the UK premiere of George Takei’s Allegiance at the Charing Cross Theatre, what was it like reading the script for the first time and telling the story to a live audience?
The traverse staging of Allegiance inside the intimacy in the Charing Cross Theatre created a semi-immersive experience for both the actors and audience. When you add in the emotional immediacy of the piece and the social relevance of Allegiance’s message to our world today, what you get is a visceral, inclusive experience.
Performing it with actors and performing it to audience members who have lived through the bombing of Hiroshima and World War II, together with the stories my grandparents told me about their experiences during World War II in Singapore made this a necessary and personal story to be a part of.
How was it performing in the Ensemble and working with George Takei and the rest of the cast?
Allegiance will have been my third consecutive acting job where casting decisions were made not just based on our ability to deliver the show’s material, but also on the collaborative generosity that we would all individually bring into the space. I hope this trend continues because it made for a very enriching job. I really did look forward to coming to work every day.
How did you find the experience being involved with a UK premiere of a Broadway musical?
Other than having more attention in the press and social media, my experience has been the same. At the end of the day, what matters to me isn’t the size of the theatre, the size of the audience, the size of the star or the reputation of the show. What defines my experience is how nourishing my experience was. To continue to find deeply centred fulfilment in my work as an actor is the most important thing to me.
What was it like touring with Anything Goes and performing at the Barbican Centre?
Knowing that Anything Goes brought so much joy to audiences – at a time when we were still emerging from various COVID lockdown restrictions and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis was hitting hard – helped me keep things in perspective. One of the comments we heard most frequently was how much fun we seemed to be having on stage. That was true – we were having a lot of fun – on AND off stage. It really was a happy company to be a member of and I am very grateful for it!
We understand you covered the Captain, Luke and John, what were the roles like to learn?
Covering roles is a skill that requires being organised, diligent, brave, creative and being okay in situations where you aren’t in control or fully prepared. That said, the roles of the Captain, Luke and John were a fun exploration into the precision craft of comedic acting. Studying the comedic rhythm written into the dialogue, being era-specific, geography-specific and adjusting to the different comedic tastes in different parts of the country were things that went into every performance – whether I was going on for my primary role or as a cover. Understanding the role that each character played in driving the plot forward was also important in how I prepared and the choices I made.
Can you tell us about your time as Caspar in Artaban the Musical?
It was important to understand where Artaban the Musical was in its development cycle and how much time we had to get it up on its feet. Artaban was a wonderfully nourishing experience with a generous creative team and cast. It was also my first live performance after the COVID lockdowns in the UK and there was a lot of anxiety from not having been on a stage for a few years! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Artaban.
What are some of your favourite memories from touring the UK and internationally with The King and I and how was it covering the roles of King, Kralahome, Orton and Ramsey?
My favourite memories of touring with The King and I were the shows my family was able to watch me on stage. My sister and her family flew into Tokyo and my parents flew into Birmingham to watch me go on as the Kralahome. The opportunity to cover the role of the King is something I will always treasure. I had been scheduled for my first public show as the King in the week we were shut down by COVID. Rather than looking at it as a missed opportunity, I take away all the lessons from the preparation and full-dress rehearsal, knowing that I was in fact ready.
How had the tour been going before it was closed due to the pandemic and what did you enjoy most about touring with a musical for the first time?
I believe we were one of the – if not the – top-selling tour in the UK when we were shut down by the pandemic. It would have been interesting to see how much better the show could have done if not for COVID. I am very glad to hear that the UK tour has resumed.
Was there anything that encouraged you to train at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and how was your time there?
I was accepted into schools in Scotland, London, and New York, but Scotland felt like a better energetic fit for me. It ended up being the right decision. Coming into this career in my 40s, I knew what I wanted to experience and I had a wonderful year learning without consequence. I learned that the skills of acting, singing and dancing are just one-half of the equation. The other half is what I call the inner life of an actor. It is the daily experience of being an actor (in or out of work) and the hard, practical, daily decisions we make to keep our passion for storytelling alive. In fact, I now teach this very module at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and am in the process of creating a coaching business to support new graduates in the first five years of their graduation.
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you get into it?
My love of acting likely comes from a desire to create intimate connections with people. I’ve always been this way.
What are some of your favourite theatre shows to watch and which would you like to see that you haven’t done so as yet?
I enjoy watching any show that my good friends are in. Hamilton is a great study in precision acting in musical theatre and I love watching musicals approached as plays with music. Also, give me a feel-good jukebox musical like MAMMA MIA! or & Juliet anytime.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
I work very hard to live a balanced life so that I don’t ever feel burnt out. Rather than looking at time as something that is spent on my career or away from my career, I make clear choices that are all aligned towards the life I want to have. That way, no experience is ever wasted – and part of that is rest. Rest is when my ideas marinate so that when I come back to working on them, it feels fresh. As I approach my 50th birthday, there are so many things I still want to do – act in film and television, set up a coaching business, develop and produce the five new works I currently have in development… the list goes on. I’m excited about the future. Very excited.
Follow Eu Jin on: