Jo Seung-woo

This is a Korean name; the family name is Jo.
Jo Seung-woo
Born (1980-03-28) March 28, 1980
Seoul, South Korea
Other names Cho Seung-woo
Education Kyewon High School Of Arts
Dankook University – Theater and Film
Dankook University Graduate School of Culture, Arts and Design
Occupation Actor
Years active 1999-present
Agent PL Entertainment (2000-2015)
Good Man Story Entertainment (2015-present)
Religion Christianity
Korean name
Revised Romanization Jo Seung-u
McCune–Reischauer Cho Sŭng'u

Jo Seung-woo (born March 28, 1980[1]) is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his leading roles in the films The Classic, Marathon,Tazza: The High Rollers, and Inside Men, as well as in the stage musicals Jekyll & Hyde, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Man of La Mancha.


2000-2004: Acting debut

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 musical theatre.[2][3] 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.[4]

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 a leading role in Who R. U.? (2002). In 2003, Jo acted in Kwak Jae-yong's romance The Classic opposite Son Ye-jin, receiving good reviews for his sincere acting. 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.[4]

2005: Breakthrough with Marathon and Jekyll & Hyde

Jo's breakthrough would come in early 2005 with the smash hit Marathon, where he played an autistic young man who only finds release in running. The film sold over 5 million tickets, and Jo attracted great praise for his naturalistic performance which resulted in numerous awards and nominations, including Best Actor at the 2005 Grand Bell Awards and Best Actor 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.[5][6] His success at pursuing both film and musicals make him an unusual case among contemporary actors.[4][7]


Jo starred in Love Phobia (2006) opposite then-girlfriend Kang Hye-jung; both were praised for their acting, but the melodrama wasn't a commercial success.[8] He then headlined Tazza: The High Rollers with Kim Hye-soo, the 2006 film adaptation of Huh Young-man's same-titled manhwa, which went on to become one of the biggest Korean blockbuster hits of all time and won numerous awards.[4] Jo played Goni, who loses his family's entire savings after being swindled by professional gamblers, so to take his revenge, he sets out to become one himself. 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 (Soo Ae).

2010 - present

After completing his mandatory military service,[9] Jo made his comeback in the 2010 production of Jekyll and Hyde.[10] The musical was especially meaningful to Jo since the actor rose to stardom when the show premiered in Korea in 2004.[11] Jo's much-anticipated return to the stage was marked with controversy following reports that his salary would be the highest for any musical theatre actor in Korean history. While producers feared that demands for similarly high fees could follow (which could eventually put them out of business), others said that the fee was justified, based on the hope that Jo would help spark a renaissance in a once-vibrant but now-stagnant musical theatre industry.[12] 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 was scheduled to appear already sold out.[13]

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.[14][15][16][17][18] That same year, Jo also took on the lead role in the musical Zorro.[19][20]

After lead actor Ju 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.[21][22][23][24] He and Ryu Deok-hwan then played conjoined twins in actress Ku Hye-sun's sophomore directorial effort The Peach Tree.[25][26]

Jo made his small screen debut in 2012 with Horse Doctor (also known as The King's Doctor), a period drama 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.[27][28][29] Jo won the highest award ("Daesang," or Grand Prize) at the MBC Drama Awards for his performance in Horse Doctor,[30] then returned to the stage in 2013 in Hedwig, reprising one of his most memorable musical roles.[31]

Jo continued working in television. He portrayed the poet Yi Sang in Crow's-Eye View on the single-episode anthology Drama Festival 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.[32]

Jo reprised one of his most beloved roles in Jekyll and Hyde for the musical's 10th anniversary in late 2014, and the 18,700 tickets sold out in just 10 minutes.[33][34] Because of his ticket power, he was chosen as among the top 30 most influential people in Korean popular culture in 2006, and for four consecutive years in 2010 to 2014.[35]

Jo next plays a heroic prosecutor who uncovers bribery in the halls of power opposite Lee Byung-hun, a shady hoodlum who does dirty work for crooked politicians in Inside Men, a 2015 film adaptation of Yoon Tae-ho's webtoon The Insiders.[36] Jo was reportedly paid ₩600 million for Inside Men, joining Choi Min-sik, Jang Dong-gun, Won Bin, Kim Yoon-seok, Hwang Jung-min, Kang Dong-won and Ryu Seung-ryong in the second-highest tier of actor salaries in Chungmuro just lower than Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun and Ha Jung-woo.[37] Inside Men broke out on its debut in November 19, 2015, drawing more than 2 million viewers in just six days, a record for an R-rated film.[38] The film grossed more than 7 million admissions, becoming Jo Seung Woo's highest-grossing film.[39] Director's cut version of the film, Inside Men: The Original grossed more than 2 million admissions, aggregating 9.1 million admissions for Inside Men, making the film the top grossing R-rated movie of all-time at Korean Box Office.[40][41][42][43]

Personal life

Jo dated actress Kang Hye-jung from 2004 to 2007. Unlike most Korean celebrity couples, Jo and Kang went public with their relationship and starred together in Love Phobia (2006). They broke up in 2007.



Year Title Role
2000 Chunhyang Lee Mongryong
2001 Ahmijimong (SBSi) Ahn 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 Choi Sang-hyun
2015 Assassination Kim Won-bong (cameo)
Inside Men Woo Jang-hoon


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

Music video

Year Title Artist
2005 "Another Side of Memory" Boohwal
"Prayer to Overcome Sadness"
2008 "The Flame of Youth" Jo Seung-woo and The Devils

Musical theatre

Year Title Role
2000 Blood Brothers Beggar/Narrator
2000-2001 The Last Empress King Gojong
2001 Subway Line 1
2002 The Sorrows of Young Werther Werther
2003 Carmen Don José
2004-2005 Jekyll & Hyde Jekyll/Hyde
2005 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Hedwig
2006 Jekyll & Hyde Jekyll/Hyde
Subway Line 1
2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Hedwig
Rent Roger Davis
Man of La Mancha Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote
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
2014–2015 Jekyll & Hyde Jekyll/Hyde
2015 Man of La Mancha Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote
2015–2016 Werther Werther
2016 Hedwig: New Makeup Hedwig
Sweeney Todd Sweeney Todd


Year Title / Track Album Notes
2001 "아미의 꿈" Ahmijimong OST
2002 "어쩌나 이마음"
"사랑하고 있다면"
"무례와 사랑"
"번갯불에 쏘인 것처럼"
The Sorrows of Young Werther cast recording with Chu Sang-mi, Choi Min-chul, and Kim Pub-lae
"투명인간 친구 narr."
"라이브 스피커 켜 narr. "
"진짜 내 모습을 보여주고 싶어 narr."
Who R. U.? OST with Lee Na-young
"마리아의 목욕 (Maria's Bath)" H OST with Ji Jin-hee & Yum Jung-ah
2003 "Fly Me to the Moon (에반게리온)" 내 인생의 영화음악
(영화에게 띄우는 14인의 러브레터)
Various artists
2004 "별 (The Stars)"
"어머니 (Mother)"
"코르니유 영감의 비밀 (Master Cornille’s Secret)"
"마지막 수업 (The Last Lesson)"
별 (The Stars) Audiobook read by Jo Seung-woo. Stories written by Alphonse Daudet.
"There Is No Choice"
"This Is the Moment"
"The Transformation"
"The Way Back"
Jekyll & Hyde cast recording
"축복의 길"
내게로 오세요 Ha Kyung-hye album
2005 "작은 너에게 (A Little Thing for You)" 서정 (抒情) Boohwal 10th album
"Tear Me Down"
"Wig in a Box"
"Angry Inch"
Hedwig and the Angry Inch cast recording with Oh Man-seok, Kim Da-hyun & Song Yong-jin
2006 "Lost In The Darkness"
"I Must Go On"
"Take Me As I Am"
"This Is the Moment"
"Now There Is No Choice"
"The Transformation"
"Alive 1"
"His Work and Nothing More"
"Alive 2"
"Streak of Madness"
"It’s A Dangerous Game"
"The Way Back"
"Lucy’s Dream"
"The Wedding"
Jekyll & Hyde cast recording with Lee Hye-kyung, Kim Sung-ki, Kim Bong-hwan & Kim Sun-young
2007 "Man of La Mancha"
"Golden Helmet of Mambrino"
"The Impossible Dream"
"The Impossible Dream Reprise"
Man of La Mancha cast recording with Lee Hoon-jin & Kim Sun-young
2008 "청춘의 불꽃 (The Flame of Youth)"
"위 아 데블스 (We’re Devils)"
"신이 나는 청춘 (Proud Mary)"
Go Go 70s Digital Single Jo Seung-woo and The Devils
"Intro : We’re Devils"
"Mustang Sally"
"I’ve Been Loving You too Long (to Stop Now)"
"U Got Me Bad"
"청춘의 불꽃 (The Flame of Youth)"
"신이 나는 청춘 (Proud Mary)"
"Fungky Tone"
"Land of 1000 Dances"
"고고춤을 춥시다"
"One of kind"
Go Go 70s OST
2009 "이 길 위에 서서 (Standing on The Road)" Lee Young-mi 1st Single
2011 Love Universe Lee Young-mi album
"오 놀라운 구세주 예수 내 주 (A Wonderful Saviour Is Jesus My Lord)" I Am Melody, Vol. 2 Various artists
2012 "복숭아나무 (The Peach Tree)" The Peach Tree OST
2013 "Tear Me Down"
"The Origin of Love"
"Sugar Daddy"
"Angry Inch"
"Random Number Generation"
"Wig in a Box"
"Wicked Little Town"
"The Long Grift"
"Hedwig's Lament"
"Exquisite Corpse"
"Wicked Little Town (Reprise)"
"Midnight Radio"
"The Origin of Love (Acoustic ver)"
Hedwig and the Angry Inch cast recording with Lee Young-mi and Angry Inch Band
2015 "꽃이 피고 지듯이" The Throne OST
"금단의 꽃"
"어쩌나 이마음"
"사랑을 전해요"
"두려워 말어"
"하룻밤이 천년"
"반가운 나의 사랑"
"발길을 뗄 수 없으면"
"알 수가 없어"
"번갯불에 쏘인 것처럼"
"꽃을 사세요"
"오, 카인즈"
"구원과 단죄"
"다만 지나치지 않게"
"자적산의 전설 Rep."
"발길을 뗄 수 없으면 Rep."
Werther cast recording with Jeon Mi-do, Moon Jong-won, Choi Na-rae, Kang Seong-wook, Song Na-young
2016 "Intro"
"Tear Me Down"
"The Origin of Love"
"Scene: Hansel Meets Luther (East Berlin, 1988)"
"Sugar Daddy"
"Angry Inch"
"Wig in a Box"
"Wicked Little Town"
"The Long Grift"
"Hedwig's Lament"
"Exquisite Corpse"
"Wicked Little Town (Reprise)"
"Midnight Radio"
"In Your Arms Tonight"
Hedwig: New Make Up Live Album with Seomoon Tak and Angry Inch Band


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


Year Title
2004 Autumn Night Concert
KT & G Family Concert with The Seoul Shinmun
2005 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Concert
2007 Love Sonata in Tokyo
A Gospel Event with Korean Celebrities that was held by Love Sonata Organization and sponsored by Onnuri Community Church
2008 HEDWIG 10th Anniversary! Hedwig Concert with John Cameron Mitchell and Oh Man-seok
Musical Concert (I Am 남 Sam)
30th Anniversary of Nam Kyung-eup’s Musical Life
2011 Hakchon Repertoire : from Line 1 to Gochujang Tteokboki
A Musical Concert was held to celebrate 20th anniversary of Hakchon Theater

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2000 37th Grand Bell Awards Best New Actor Chunhyang Nominated
21st Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actor Nominated
2002 8th Korea Musical Awards Best New Actor The Sorrows of Young Werther Nominated
2004 10th Korea Musical Awards Best Actor Jekyll & Hyde Won
Moscow International Love Film Festival Best Couple Award with Son Ye-jin The Classic Won
2005 41st Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Marathon Won
28th Golden Cinematography Awards Most Popular Actor Won
42nd Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Won
Popularity Award Won
1st Premiere Rising Star Awards Best Actor Won
6th Busan Film Critics Awards Best Actor Won
25th China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival Best Actor, International Film category Won
26th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
Popular Star Award Won
4th Korean Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
Korea Advertisers Association Good Model Award[44] N/A Won
1st Golden Ticket Awards Best Musical Actor Jekyll & Hyde Won
2006 2nd University Film Festival of Korea Man of the Year Tazza: The High Rollers Won
27th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
2007 1st Korea Movie Star Awards Best Actor Won
10th Newport Beach Film Festival Jury Award Best Actor Won
43rd Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Nominated
6th Korean Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
1st The Musical Awards Best Actor Jekyll & Hyde Nominated
13th Korea Musical Awards Popularity Award Won
3rd Golden Ticket Awards Best Musical Actor Man of La Mancha Won
2008 2nd The Musical Awards Best Actor Won
2011 5th The Musical Awards Best Actor[45][46] Jekyll & Hyde Won
6th Golden Ticket Awards Best Musical Actor Won
17th Korea Musical Awards Best Actor Nominated
2012 6th The Musical Awards Best Actor[24][47] Doctor Zhivago Won
18th Korea Musical Awards Best Actor Nominated
Korean Popular Culture & Art Awards Prime Minister's Citation[48] N/A Won
MBC Drama Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) Horse Doctor Won
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Project Drama Won
2013 49th Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (TV) Nominated
19th Korea Musical Awards Popularity Award[49] Hedwig and the Angry Inch Won
Best Actor Nominated
2014 50th Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (TV) God's Gift - 14 Days Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Nominated
Netizen Popularity Award Nominated
Best Couple Award with Lee Bo-young Nominated
2016 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (Film) Inside Men Nominated
5th Yegreen Musical Award Best Actor Werther Nominated
Popularity Award Won

Goodwill ambassador

Year Title Organization Notes
2004 PR Ambassador of Hope Broadcast 희망방송 (HMN)
2010 Honorary Police Officer Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency with Ryu Soo-young
2012 PR Ambassador for 6th The Musical Awards The Musical Awards with Cha Ji-yeon
2013 PR Ambassador for Sapsaree campaign The Korean Sapsaree Foundation


  1. His birth date is March 28, 1980 according to the Gregorian calendar and February 12, 1980 according to the Lunar calendar.
  2. "Cho Seung-woo and Sister Join Musical". KBS Global. November 1, 2006.
  3. "Sibling stars join up to sing for their Rent". Korea JoongAng Daily. November 6, 2006.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "Actors and Actresses of Korean Cinema: Cho Seung-woo". Retrieved 2012-10-25.
  5. "Jekyll & Hyde Records Brisk Ticket Sales". KBS Global. December 21, 2004.
  6. "Cho Seung-woo Plays Transvestite in Musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch". KBS Global. February 21, 2005.
  7. "Actor Cho picks his poison". Korea JoongAng Daily. May 30, 2007.
  8. "Star Couple Tackles Love on Big Screen". The Korea Times via Hancinema. April 3, 2006.
  9. "Cho Seung-woo keeps army date quiet to avoid public attention"
  10. "Cho Seung-woo set on starring in Jekyll & Hyde since '09". 10Asia. October 26, 2010.
  11. "Cho Seung-woo to Make Post-Army Comeback in Jekyll and Hyde". The Chosun Ilbo. August 10, 2010.
  12. "Actor's record-breaking salary stokes conflict". Korea JoongAng Daily. November 11, 2010.
  13. "Leading man propelling Jekyll and Hyde to success". Korea JoongAng Daily. December 15, 2010.
  14. "Actor Cho Seung-woo cast in a new baseball film". 10Asia. April 13, 2011.
  15. "Cho Seung Woo Says Baseball Legends Can't be Compared". enewsWorld. December 13, 2011.
  16. "Cho Seung Woo: 'I Want to Break Record of Other Baseball Movies'". KBS Global. December 19, 2011.
  17. "Interview: Actor Cho Seung-woo – Part 1". 10Asia. December 26, 2011.
  18. "Interview: Actor Cho Seung-woo – Part 2". 10Asia. December 26, 2011.
  19. "Musical Zorro prepping for Korea opening". 10Asia. July 12, 2011.
  20. "Cho Seung Woo Takes on Challenge of Major Musical". KBS Global. July 12, 2011.
  21. "Cho Seung-woo lands lead role in musical Doctor Zhivago". 10Asia. January 16, 2012.
  22. "Cho Seung-woo Fills Gap in Dr. Zhivago Musical". The Chosun Ilbo. January 16, 2012.
  23. "Actor steps in to save Dr. Zhivago". Korea JoongAng Daily. March 2, 2012.
  24. 1 2 "Cho Seung-woo wins 3rd best actor prize". The Korea Times. June 5, 2012.
  25. "Cho Seung-woo Set to Return to the Big Screen". The Chosun Ilbo. February 24, 2011.
  26. "Koo Hye-sun presents conjoined twins tale on screen". The Korea Herald. October 25, 2012.
  27. "Cho Seung-woo to make small screen debut in Jewel in the Palace director's next series". 10Asia. May 8, 2012.
  28. "Jo Seung-woo to star in MBC historical drama". The Korea Times. June 25, 2012.
  29. "Star of screen, stage accepts drama challenge". Korea JoongAng Daily. October 4, 2012.
  30. "Big Winners of 2012 Announced at Drama Awards Ceremonies of Major Broadcasters". 10Asia. January 1, 2013.
  31. "Jo Seung-woo returning to musicals". Korea JoongAng Daily. April 29, 2013.
  32. "Cho Seung-woo and Lee Bo-young smile at a press event for their TV series in Seoul". The Chosun Ilbo. February 28, 2014.
  33. 10주년 뮤지컬 '지킬앤하이드'…초연배우 류정한·조승우 컴백. Munhwa News (in Korean). September 22, 2014.
  34. "'[선데이뉴스]뮤지컬 "지킬앤하이드", 1만 8700석 10분 만에 매진'". News Sunday. October 6, 2014.
  35. "[굿바이 2014] BIG 30". Herald Corp (in Korean). December 23, 2014.
  36. "Cho steps up in Inside Men". Korea JoongAng Daily. November 20, 2015.
  37. '男부러운' 몸값…송강호·하정우 7억원대. Hankyung (in Korean). December 11, 2014.
  38. "'Inside Men' draws record 2 million in six days". The Korean Times. November 25, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  39. "Box Office All Time". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  44. "Moon Geun-young, Cho Seung-woo Advertisers' Favorite". The Chosun Ilbo. September 21, 2005.
  45. "Cho Seung-woo and Cha Ji-yeon win at 5th Musical Awards". 10Asia. June 8, 2011.
  46. "Seopyeonje named best homegrown show at Musical Awards". The Korea Times. June 8, 2011.
  47. "Cho Seung-woo, Oak Joo-hyun winners at 6th Musical Awards". 10Asia. June 6, 2012.
  48. "Exclusive: 2012 Korean Popular Culture & Art Awards Recipients + Performances". Soompi. November 23, 2012.
  49. "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

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