Members say: Ambitious, Entertaining, Great singing, Clever, Great staging

About the show

Ars Nova in association with Ma-Yi Theater and Woodshed Collective present the world premiere of this interactive experience set behind the scenes at a k-pop music factory.

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'KPOP' is here and America will never be the same. Claim your exclusive, all-access pass and immerse yourself in the Korean Pop music factory where stars are made…or broken. All audience members will be standing, walking, climbing stairs, and dancing! Comfortable shoes are highly recommended.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"Vibrates with the frenzy of its contradictions...'KPOP' is likely to come across as entertaining and enervating, in fairly equal measures...'KPOP' sometimes works too hard to put itself over. It is least interesting at its most didactic. And it suffers from its own conflicted intentions. The show is best when parody blurs into the already surreal dimensions of what’s being parodied...The pastiche fusion musical numbers...are as synthetically sweet and perversely addictive as the real thing." Full Review


"The most ambitious off-Broadway musical of the year, with pulse-quickening tunes, innovative staging, and just a little bit of disappointment...There's no musical without conflict, but Kim is unfailingly heavy-handed in his approach, underlining each important issue with a thick red line...Luckily, everyone in the cast is very good...Everything comes together for a final concert that has everyone dancing and singing along. 'KPOP' is great fun." Full Review

Time Out New York

"The delightful new musical ‘KPOP’ knows what kind of immersive theater it wants to be...Tiny bubbles of pleasure keep floating up and bursting all around us. Pop! Pop! Pop! We’re sold. It isn’t all froth, however...'KPOP' has impressive breadth, even if at times it feels overstretched...But any misgivings are forgotten in the rush of the extended concert finale, which sweeps you up in the thrill of a crowd that can hardly wait to burst into applause." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"An ambitious new immersive, interactive musical that is often as physically exhausting as it is wildly entertaining...Despite its plethora of incidents, the show's book proves its weakest element, with the overlong proceedings becoming repetitive and meandering. But the paper-thin characterizations and hackneyed dialogue don't prevent ‘KPOP’ from being great fun...The mostly youthful ensemble is terrifically talented, delivering the infectious original score with pulsing energy." Full Review

What Should We Do?

"An immersive and satirical introduction to Korean pop music at Ars Nova that ends with a legitimately mind-blowing concert...Some of the dialogue and plotting of these scenes are canned and superficial, but the charismatic actors commit fully...Directed with maximum verve and style by Teddy Bergman, and featuring parody-perfect songs by Helen Park and Max Vernon, 'KPOP' benefits most from its youthful, indefatigable ensemble." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Cramming in all these scenes is an enormous undertaking, which makes it all the more remarkable that Kim's book is so consistently mordant, to say nothing of Park and Vernon's insanely catchy songs...Following the intermission, the action retreats with unseemly haste from the script's acrid truths in favor of an upbeat concert finale...This wholesale abandonment of what has gone before would be more disconcerting if the medley that follows didn't raise the roof." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"Wildly (and loudly) entertaining...We are guided through room after listen to musical numbers inserted somewhat willy-nilly; and to witness lots of personal drama...If all the drama seems perhaps less than strictly plausible for a single visit, that is unlikely to spoil the fun that comes from the athletic choreography, inventive scenic design, original music, and the simple joy of being ushered around in a masterstroke of coordination." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“This ambitious musical occupies a huge amount of space divided into a labyrinth of well-constructed hallways…You're treated to some awesomely performed, dynamically choreographed…K-pop numbers...They're in the hands of a sensational company of singer-dancer-actors...The scenes themselves, in their attempt to seem spontaneous…are too self-consciously artificial…Putting its length, physical discomfort, and shallow dramatics aside, this is a show that's bound to appeal to a younger demographic.” Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"Director Bergman is amazing at how he has managed to keep things running like clockwork, it is truly a remarkable feat. What is the weak link here is Jason Kim’s script, which is hokey and belies what it is trying to say...The finale is an off-the-hook concert that shows the talent of everyone involved. This spectacular cast gives their all...'KPOP' may miss the mark in trying to make us understand the cultural problems, but it is electric, thrilling and one great dance party." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

"A bittersweet cocktail of superficial jauntiness cut with ruthless exploitation...There lies the problem. For once we learn where the music comes from, the numbers themselves tend to sound mechanical. Dramatic tension also dissipates as the secrets of the miserable reality within the gilded cage are revealed too quickly. And attempts at getting the audience involved never quite come off. Yet 'KPOP' does occasionally burst into life...The tyrannized pop idols all go out with a bang." Full Review


"The banal script doesn't go in any direction that hasn't been pursued more interestingly before. But the scenes are competently crafted and, under Teddy Bergman's superb direction, they're performed with such conviction and velocity that the derivative nature of the enterprise is unobjectionable. And the tunes, most of them jumpy and melodically appealing, lend freshness and dazzle to the enterprise. A well-constructed immersive production...As a total package, it's pretty hard to resist." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"An expansive, catchy, and cunning immersive performance...'KPOP's' exuberant young ensemble make this show difficult to resist...'KPOP' is a delicious spectacle...But 'KPOP' is no mere sugar bomb. Underneath the glam and the (highly enjoyable) gimmickry, the show is a candid and increasingly discomfiting look at the struggles faced by Asian artists trying to break into an American market...It’s not subtle, but it works." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Consisting of many 'empty calories,' this immersive musical is still irresistibly delicious...At its best when playing on the contrast of 'true' versus 'constructed,' emphasized most successfully in MwE’s story...Though the show is billed as a musical, most of the songs we hear on our tour are not performed live...This strange decision seems like a waste of catchy K-pop hits...'KPOP' picks up steam in the finale, with a full-blown pop concert. But its didactic conclusion is suspiciously easy." Full Review

Diandra Reviews it All

"'KPOP' has to be one of the best musicals currently in NYC...I love K-pop, and laughed hard at 'KPOP’s' perfect rendering of this magnificently machined world...With so much phenomenal dancing and music that embodies happiness, 'KPOP' succeeds in turning all corners, no matter what, back to the most important topic today: race..It is revitalizing in both sound, style, and approach of tense topics." Full Review


"An immersive musical that takes us behind the scenes of one label’s music factory...Along the way, hot-button issues are confronted...Speaking before the high-octane concert that ends the evening, the head of the label confesses that the company was misguided in its attempt to Americanize the Korean sound. 'We don’t need to cross over to you. You need to cross over to us,' he says, focusing on the importance of understanding each other’s cultures. In these times, those words resonate." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"The level of precision and craft involved on every level of this production...are mind-boggling...The resolution may feel a bit sentimental and overly pat...But when the closing concert starts, it’s almost impossible to resist the infectious energy of the music itself, and of the mix of enthusiasm and precision in the performances...Thoroughly fun and beautifully executed...You walk out feeling energized, thoroughly entertained, and humming a line of the chorus." Full Review

New York Theatre Review

"It’s the special moments, and this terrific ensemble of actors, that give 'KPOP' such incredible heart even in moments that might otherwise feel a little bit trite. Park and Vernon’s songs are fun, upbeat and full of delicious rhymes...Are we meant to believe...that the blood, sweat and tears are all worth it?...Maybe, but most people didn’t seem to be thinking too hard about any of that, they were having too much fun. And fun is definitely one thing 'KPOP' does not fail to deliver." Full Review

Off Off Online

"'KPOP' provides a mind-blowing concert experience despite its less-polished participatory moments...The 'KPOP' experience approaches perfection during its moments of 'musical theater,' which open and close this behemoth, nearly three-hour production...'KPOP' is a big, brave undertaking that promises to wow many more audience members with its undeniably charming spectacle. While some of its immersive and interactive wheels need oiling, the general experience is unforgettable." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great staging

See it if you love immersion. You become a character as you tour the space & learn about these performers' lives. Different experience every time!

Don't see it if you're not willing to learn about a new culture and a new music genre. If you don't like participation, this might be a lot for you.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting

See it if an unforgettable and original experience / the cast was super talented and very charming / loved the music and costumes!

Don't see it if didn't seem 100% realized, particularly the storylines

Ambitious, Exquisite, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if You like immersive theater and don't mind walking around, enjoy a commentary on the bridge between Asian and American cultures, like music

Don't see it if You like traditional theater, can't get tickets, like more serious musicals

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Quirky, Fun

See it if you want to have fun in a show. The concept of this show is clever. And the cast is so committed to entertain that you won't disappoint.

Don't see it if you care a lot about plot development and the depth of story in a show. This show is supposed to show you a new culture in a fun way.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Inconsistent, Great singing

See it if you enjoy immersive theater, are interested in Kpop as a genre, or like to support productions with diverse casts. It makes important points

Don't see it if you will be too upset by a messy, inconsistent book to enjoy the spectacular performances.

Clever, Delightful, Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if you love musical theatre, and want to explore the behind the scenes of the entertainment industry, it's upbeat and great fun!

Don't see it if you are not able to let yourself go and be immersed by theatre (please see below), and there is a lot of walking around

Also I went into this show with incredibly low expectations, only going bec... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Entertaining, Fun, Great singing

See it if you want a fun experience led by a large fantastic cast. Some serious themes/topics also touched upon. So much talent, ambitious production.

Don't see it if you want a straightforward story or prefer a seated show. The ending was a bit of a cop out, but the overall experience was still terrific.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Enchanting, Epic, Masterful

See it if you want an incredible, truly immersive theatrical experience.

Don't see it if You don't like interactivity.

Ambitious, Cliched, Entertaining, Great singing, Lively

See it if you want an "insider's view" of a factory that creates pop stars in an inventive, interactive event that concludes w/a helluva KPOP concert.

Don't see it if you hate the manufactured pop music of KPOP, Lou Pearlman, PWL/SAW, etc; you expect more than heavy-handed drama forced between the fun.

Quirky, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if like creative theater experiences

Don't see it if you don't standing

Ambitious, Clever, Cliched, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like shiny energetic musicals. The singing and dancing are very entertaining. The guiding of groups from space to space is well done

Don't see it if you have problems standing for long periods or climbing stairs. The themes and dramatic scenes are a bit predictable.

Ambitious, Entertaining, Engaging, Immersive

See it if you love immersive theatre, ambitious musicals, pop music in general or of course, KPop

Don't see it if you hate pop music and immersive theatre (you are asked to split into groups and experience the show in parts among different rooms)

Funny, Clever, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Overlong

See it if you love KPOP, speak Korean, are interested in issues of race in America or the exploitation of young pop stars; like great staging, singing

Don't see it if you like your performances tight, with a clear message, or don't want to stand/sit/walk for three hours. Show could easily lose 30 min

Also Comfy shoes are good but not essential, there are often seats. The aud... Read more Read less

Exciting, Absorbing, Ambitious, Entertaining, Immersive

See it if you enjoy immersive theatre, want to see a new kind of musical, or want to see an amazing performance from Ashley Park

Don't see it if you don't like moving around during a show, want something that is easy to follow

Absorbing, Delightful, Great acting, Masterful, Great staging

See it if if you like immersive theatre. The staging is amazing. It features great pop music, amazing dancing, and thought provoking storyline.

Don't see it if If you are not a fan of immersive theatre or pop music.

Must see, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to see the best immersive musical of the year. Original.

Don't see it if you don't like pop music.

Also K-pop is nice surprise, You walk around in different rooms as the stor... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Edgy, Riveting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to see a one-of-a-kind show, you love immersive and participatory theatre

Don't see it if you want to feel more than think, you don't care for walking or participation, you want pure acting, you don't care for East Asian issues

Epic, Must see, Fun, Nostalgic, Great staging

See it if you love pop, concerts, boy bands, visceral experiences, amazing music, uber-talented artists, and unforgettable evenings.

Don't see it if you like traditional narratives, deep explorations of social issues, being on your feet. That said, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Funny, Absorbing, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you like Kpop, immersive theater, musicals, and fun dancing/singing.

Don't see it if you don't like musicals or immersive theater. There is a lot of standing and walking around, so wear comfortable shoes.

Ambitious, Clever, Refreshing, Great staging, Bestconclusionever

See it if you like immersive theater and love theater that goes into new territory, taking huge risks. Plus the 20min concert at the end is AWESOME

Don't see it if You are not in the mood to go to the scenes instead of having the scenes come to you, or you absolutely hate pop music!

Also Yes there are shaky parts to the staging and not all the scenes are co... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Clever, Inventive, Dazzling, Great performances

See it if you're up for an inventive, adventurous & dazzling event featuring a thrilling ensemble; for a stunning performance by Ashley Park

Don't see it if you don't like having to move around a lot & having to stand a good bit; if you really prefer a character-driven story to an idea-driven one

Entertaining, Great staging, Fun!, Creative!

See it if You want to have fun and be entertained by this immersive, creatively staged show. A weak-ish story is well overshadowed by amazing staging.

Don't see it if You prefer proscenium style shows or don’t like pop music.

Ambitious, Impressive, Great staging, Immersive

See it if you like immersive theater, Korean pop music, or a plot that you can literally follow from place to place

Don't see it if you like conventional theater and storytelling where you remain seated - this is the opposite

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Epic, Riveting

See it if You are interested in gaining more insight into the world of Kpop and want to expose yourself to amazing music, singing, and dancing.

Don't see it if You have sensitive ears (its a bit loud at times) or if you are apathetic towards the music industry.

Ambitious, Edgy, Cliched, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you don't care for narrative and enjoy catchy pop songs! The music is great!

Don't see it if you are not interesting in walking around and sitting in uncomfortable positions... or if you don't like pop music.

Cast & Creatives (33)