Jo Seung-woo

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Jo.
Jo Seung-woo
Born (1980-03-28) March 28, 1980 (age 34)
Seoul, South Korea
Other names Cho Seung-woo
Education Dankook University – Theater and Film
Dankook University Mass Culture and Art Graduate School
Occupation Actor
Years active 1999-present
Agent PL Entertainment
Korean name
Revised Romanization Jo Seung-u
McCune–Reischauer Cho Sŭng'u

Jo Seung-woo (born March 28, 1980) is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his leading roles in the films The Classic, Marathon, and Tazza: The High Rollers, as well as in the stage musicals Jekyll & Hyde, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Man of La Mancha.


Jo Seung-woo grew up in a musical family: his father Jo Kyung-soo is a singer, and his older sister Jo Seo-yeon acts in musicals.[1] Jo himself also dreamed of becoming a musical actor from an early age, however in 1999 while a student at Dankook University he was persuaded to join auditions for Im Kwon-taek's film Chunhyang, and he ended up winning the part from among a field of 1,000 actors. Chunhyang would screen as the first Korean film in competition at Cannes, although domestically it failed to attract much of an audience.[2]

Jo did go on to appear in musicals after his film debut, acting in local productions Subway Line 1 and The Last Empress. Soon he was drawn back into the film industry, however, with a key supporting role in Wanee & Junah (2001), a villainous turn in H (2002), plus leading roles in Who R. U.? (2002) and Kwak Jae-yong's popular The Classic (2003). Particularly after The Classic his popularity continued to grow, and in 2004 he appeared in Im Kwon-taek's 99th film Low Life, which flopped at the box office.[2]

Jo's breakthrough would come in early 2005, when he played an autistic boy in the smash hit Marathon. With over 5 million tickets sold to the film, Jo attracted great praise for his naturalistic performance and won Best Actor at the 2005 Grand Bell Awards. In November he was even presented with a Best Actor award in the foreign film category of China's Hundred Flowers Awards. Nonetheless, he continued to pursue his career in musicals, with critically acclaimed appearances in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Jekyll and Hyde that had fans scrambling to find tickets.[3][4] His success at pursuing both film and musicals make him an unusual case among contemporary actors.[2][5]

Jo starred in Love Phobia (2006) opposite then-girlfriend Kang Hye-jung (the high-profile couple later broke up in 2007[6][7][8]); both were praised for their acting, but the melodrama wasn't a commercial success.[9] He then headlined Tazza: The High Rollers, the 2006 film adaptation of Huh Young-man's manhwa, which went on to become one of the biggest Korean blockbuster hits of all time.[2] He followed that with Go Go 70s, about a rock and roll band during the height of the Park Chung-hee military regime, and The Sword with No Name, in which he played a fictional royal guard in love with Empress Myeongseong.

After completing his mandatory military service,[10] Jo made his comeback in the 2010 production of Jekyll and Hyde.[11] The musical is especially meaningful to Jo since the actor rose to stardom when the show premiered in Korea in 2004.[12] Jo's much-anticipated return to the stage was marked with controversy following reports that his salary would be the highest for any musical theater actor in Korean history. While producers fear that demands for similarly high fees could follow (which could eventually put them out of business), others say that the fee is justified, based on the hope that Jo will help spark a renaissance in a once vibrant but now stagnant musical theater industry.[13] And true enough, when tickets went on sale, the demand was so high that the online reservation server broke down after 15 minutes, with all of the performances in which Jo is scheduled to appear already sold out.[14]

His 2011 sports movie Perfect Game revisited one of the most exciting matches in Korean baseball history, between Choi Dong-won of the Haitai Tigers and Sun Dong-yeol of the Lotte Giants in the summer of 1987, which ended in a tie after being extended 15 innings; the rivalry between the two was further heated up by regionalism at the time with Choi representing the Jeolla Province and Sun, the Gyeongsang Province. Jo starred as Choi opposite Yang Dong-geun as Sun.[15][16][17][18][19] That same year, Jo also took on the lead role in the musical Zorro.[20][21]

After lead actor Joo Ji-hoon quit due to vocal chord problems, Jo joined the 2012 stage production of Doctor Zhivago just two weeks ahead of opening, turning the musical into a hit.[22][23][24][25]

After he and Ryu Deok-hwan played conjoined twins in actress Ku Hye-sun's sophomore directorial effort The Peach Tree,[26][27] Jo made his small screen debut in Horse Doctor (also known as The King's Doctor), a 2012 period series based on a true story about a Joseon-era low-class veterinarian specializing in the treatment of horses who rises to become the royal physician.[28][29][30] Jo won the highest award ("Daesang," or Grand Prize) at the MBC Drama Awards for his performance in Horse Doctor,[31] then returned to the stage in 2013 in Hedwig, reprising one of his most memorable musical roles.[32]

Jo continued working in television. He portrayed the poet Yi Sang in Crow's-Eye View on the single-episode anthology Drama Festival, which later won a Silver Remi Award for Dramatic TV Special at the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival.[33] Jo then starred in the 2014 time travel thriller God's Gift - 14 Days, playing a private investigator who helps a mother (Lee Bo-young) save her child.[34]

He was next cast as a prosecutor who uncovers political bribery opposite Lee Byung-hun in The Insiders, a 2015 film adaptation of Yoon Tae-ho's webtoon of the same name.[35][36]



Year Title Role
2000 Chunhyang Lee Mongryong
2001 Ahmijimong (SBSi) Ji-hoon
Wanee & Junah Lee Young-min
2002 Who R. U.? Ji Hyung-tae
YMCA Baseball Team (cameo)
H Shin Hyun
2003 The Classic Oh Joon-ha
2004 Low Life Choi Tae-woong
2005 Marathon Yoon Cho-won
2006 Love Phobia Cha Jo-kang
Tazza: The High Rollers Kim Go-ni
2008 Go Go 70s Im Sang-kyu
2009 The Sword with No Name Mu-myeong
2011 Perfect Game Choi Dong-won
2012 The Peach Tree Sang-hyun
2015 The Insiders Woo Jang-hoon


Year Title Role Network
2012–2013 Horse Doctor Baek Gwang-hyun MBC
2013 Drama Festival "Crow's-Eye View"
(Korean title: "Yi Sang, That Yi Sang")
Yi Sang MBC
2014 God's Gift - 14 Days Ki Dong-chan SBS

Music video[edit]

Year Title Artist
2005 "Another Side of Memory" Boohwal
"Prayer to Overcome Sadness" Boohwal

Musical theatre[edit]

Year Title Role
2000 Blood Brothers
The Last Empress King Gojong
2001 Subway Line 1
2002 The Sorrows of Young Werther Werther
2003 Carmen Don José
2004 Jekyll & Hyde Jekyll/Hyde
2005 Jekyll & Hyde Jekyll/Hyde
Hedwig and the Angry Inch Hedwig
2006 Subway Line 1
Jekyll & Hyde Jekyll/Hyde
2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Hedwig
Rent Roger Davis
Man of La Mancha Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote
2008 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Hedwig
I Am Sam Sam
2010–2011 Jekyll & Hyde Jekyll/Hyde
2011–2012 Zorro Don Diego de la Vega/Zorro
2012 Doctor Zhivago Yuri Zhivago
2013 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Hedwig
2013–2014 Man of La Mancha Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote
2014 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Hedwig


Year Product
2002 Crencia
2003 Maxwell House
2004 Korea Post
2004–2005 Cambridge's The Suit House
2005 KT&G
Haitai Green Tea
Hi-Car Insurance
Maru Casual
2005–2006 Hankook P&G Oral-B
2006 Hankook Tire Driving Emotion
Hanjin Heavy Industries Haemoro
2007 The One Card
Us and Them
Digital Cable TV (DV)
LG Bonin Household & Health Care
2008 Hyundai Card
2012 NIX Korea

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2002 Korea Musical Awards Best New Actor The Sorrows of Young Werther Won
2004 Korea Musical Awards Best Actor Jekyll & Hyde Won
Moscow International Love Film Festival Best Couple Award with Son Ye-jin The Classic Won
2005 Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor Marathon Won
Grand Bell Awards Popularity Award Won
Best Actor Won
Premiere Rising Star Award Best Actor Won
Pusan Film Critics Awards Best Actor Won
China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival Best Actor, International Film category Won
Blue Dragon Film Awards Popular Star Award Won
Best Actor Nominated
Korean Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
Korea Advertisers Association Good Model Award[37] N/A Won
Golden Ticket Awards Best Musical Actor Jekyll & Hyde Won
2006 University Film Festival of Korea Man of the Year Tazza: The High Rollers Won
2007 Korea Movie Star Awards Best Actor Won
Newport Beach Film Festival Jury Award Best Actor Won
Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor Nominated
Korean Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
Korea Musical Awards Popularity Award Jekyll & Hyde Won
Golden Ticket Awards Best Musical Actor Man of La Mancha Won
2008 The Musical Awards Best Actor Won
2011 The Musical Awards Best Actor[38][39] Jekyll & Hyde Won
Golden Ticket Awards Best Musical Actor Won
Korea Musical Awards Best Actor Nominated
2012 The Musical Awards Best Actor[25][40] Doctor Zhivago Won
Korea Musical Awards Best Actor Nominated
Korean Popular Culture & Art Awards Prime Minister's Citation[41] N/A Won
MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Project Drama Horse Doctor Won
Daesang/Grand Prize Won
2013 Korea Musical Awards Popularity Award[42] Hedwig and the Angry Inch Won
2014 Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (TV) God's Gift - 14 Days Nominated


  1. ^ "Sibling stars join up to sing for their Rent". Korea JoongAng Daily. November 6, 2006. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Actors and Actresses of Korean Cinema: Cho Seung-woo". Retrieved 2012-10-25.
  3. ^ "Jekyll & Hyde Records Brisk Ticket Sales". KBS Global. December 21, 2004. 
  4. ^ "Cho Seung-woo Plays Transvestite in Musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch". KBS Global. February 21, 2005. 
  5. ^ "Actor Cho picks his poison". Korea JoongAng Daily. May 30, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Cho Seung-woo and Kang Hye-jeong Appear Together in Public". KBS Global. January 19, 2005. 
  7. ^ "Movie Star Couple Cho, Kang Break Up". The Korea Times via Hancinema. February 11, 2007
  8. ^ "Celebrity Romance Heats Up". The Korea Times. April 17, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Star Couple Tackles Love on Big Screen". The Korea Times via Hancinema. April 3, 2006. 
  10. ^ "Cho Seung-woo keeps army date quiet to avoid public attention". Korea JoongAng Daily. December 17, 2008.
  11. ^ "Cho Seung-woo set on starring in Jekyll & Hyde since '09". 10Asia. October 26, 2010.
  12. ^ "Cho Seung-woo to Make Post-Army Comeback in Jekyll and Hyde". The Chosun Ilbo. August 10, 2010.
  13. ^ "Actor's record-breaking salary stokes conflict". Korea JoongAng Daily. November 11, 2010.
  14. ^ "Leading man propelling Jekyll and Hyde to success". Korea JoongAng Daily. December 15, 2010.
  15. ^ "Actor Cho Seung-woo cast in a new baseball film". 10Asia. April 13, 2011.
  16. ^ "Cho Seung Woo Says Baseball Legends Can't be Compared". enewsWorld. December 13, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Cho Seung Woo: 'I Want to Break Record of Other Baseball Movies'". KBS Global. December 19, 2011.
  18. ^ "Interview: Actor Cho Seung-woo – Part 1". 10Asia. December 26, 2011.
  19. ^ "Interview: Actor Cho Seung-woo – Part 2". 10Asia. December 26, 2011.
  20. ^ "Musical Zorro prepping for Korea opening". 10Asia. July 12, 2011.
  21. ^ "Cho Seung Woo Takes on Challenge of Major Musical". KBS Global. July 12, 2011.
  22. ^ "Cho Seung-woo lands lead role in musical Doctor Zhivago". 10Asia. January 16, 2012.
  23. ^ "Cho Seung-woo Fills Gap in Dr. Zhivago Musical". The Chosun Ilbo. January 16, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Actor steps in to save Dr. Zhivago". Korea JoongAng Daily. March 2, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b "Cho Seung-woo wins 3rd best actor prize". The Korea Times. June 5, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Cho Seung-woo Set to Return to the Big Screen". The Chosun Ilbo. February 24, 2011.
  27. ^ "Koo Hye-sun presents conjoined twins tale on screen". The Korea Herald. October 25, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Cho Seung-woo to make small screen debut in Jewel in the Palace director's next series". 10Asia. May 8, 2012.
  29. ^ "Jo Seung-woo to star in MBC historical drama". The Korea Times. June 25, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Star of screen, stage accepts drama challenge". Korea JoongAng Daily. October 4, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Big Winners of 2012 Announced at Drama Awards Ceremonies of Major Broadcasters". 10Asia. January 1, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Jo Seung-woo returning to musicals". Korea JoongAng Daily. April 29, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Remi Winners". Worldfest-Houston. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  34. ^ "Cho Seung-woo and Lee Bo-young smile at a press event for their TV series in Seoul". The Chosun Ilbo. February 28, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Jo says yes to The Insiders". Korea JoongAng Daily. June 5, 2014. 
  36. ^ "THE INSIDERS Confirm LEE Byung-hun and CHO Seung-woo". Korean Film Biz Zone. June 11, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Moon Geun-young, Cho Seung-woo Advertisers' Favorite". The Chosun Ilbo. September 21, 2005.
  38. ^ "Cho Seung-woo and Cha Ji-yeon win at 5th Musical Awards". 10Asia. June 8, 2011.
  39. ^ "Seopyeonje named best homegrown show at Musical Awards". The Korea Times. June 8, 2011.
  40. ^ "Cho Seung-woo, Oak Joo-hyun winners at 6th Musical Awards". 10Asia. June 6, 2012.
  41. ^ "Exclusive: 2012 Korean Popular Culture & Art Awards Recipients + Performances". Soompi. November 23, 2012.
  42. ^ "Kim Junsu, Ock Joo Hyun, Jo Seung Woo and Kim So Hyun Win Popularity Award for Korea Musical Awards". Soompi. October 7, 2013.

External links[edit]