Fans of musical theater and Disney princesses may recognize the name Julia Riew, even if they don’t exactly remember why.
Disney princesses are known for being naturally-beautiful heroines who love a good power ballad or “I Want” song — even though there is apparently at least one crucial gap in the Disney princess lineup — and Julia Riew essentially created her own Disney princess last year!
After failing to find a Disney princess character that she identified with, Asian American Harvard student Julia Riew created a “Korean Disney princess” for her senior thesis, which was a fantastical musical inspired by the Korean folktale “The Blind Man’s Daughter”. Take a look at one of the original videos (shown below) that led to Julia’s big break!
There was no Korean Disney princess so I decided to make my own 🙂 #disney #korean #koreanamerican #disneyprincess #musical #originalsong #originalmusical #musicaltheatre #theater #music #newsong #dreamworks♬ original sound – Julia Riew
Riew made the most of Snapchat filters that allowed her to look more like animated Disney princesses, and she used similar techniques for her musical’s villain and other characters.
The songs that she wrote and the musical that she created were huge successes on TikTok, leading to interviews and honors like the Fred Ebb Award (not to mention an appearance in the show Phineas & Ferb) .
Riew gained so much attention that the song “Dive” from her musical was actually used for an LG commercial in Korea, with the in-depth animation being provided by Korean animation students! Riew traveled to Korea with her mother for the commercial; take a look at the end result in the TikTok video below!
I cannot express the gratitude that I feel for this community. You have changed my life 😭💕😭💕😭💕♬ original sound – Julia Riew
Riew just received another honor, performing in the Playbill Songwriter Series alongside singers Laura Sky Herman, Claire Kwon, and Natalie Choo — and now, she and two of those singers are teaming up for a unique new concert about her “Korean Disney princess”!
On April 27 in New York City, Riew (who is now known for “her distinctive catalog of musicals, which blend her Korean heritage and her painterly approach to melody”) will be performing a concert alongside Claire Kwon and Natalie Choo that focuses on her original music (especially music from the Shimcheong: A Folktale musical that she wrote). Tickets range from $35 to $75.
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According to the concert venue’s website, “the evening will feature original music from a variety of projects including Julia’s viral musical Shimcheong: A Folktale, a fantasy-novel-inspired song cycle, and some of her other greatest online-and-onstage hits”.
“Stepping into the solo spotlight for the first time, the composer-lyricist will be joined by rising voices Claire Kwon and Natalie Choo to perform in a joyous celebration of lyric, melody, and the diversity across our experiences as young, Asian-American women,” the venue added.
Did you already know about Julia Riew and her “Korean Disney princess”, not to mention her LG commercial and her musical prowess? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!