Lee Sang-yi (actor)

Lee Sang-yi (Korean이상이; born November 27, 1991) is a South Korean actor, musical actor and singer. He is best known for his roles in Once Again (2020), Youth of May (2021), and Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (2021). As a singer, he is best known for being a member of the vocal group MSG Wannabe.

Lee Sang-yi
이상이 Lee Sang-yi February 2023.png
Lee in February 2023
Born (1991-11-27) November 27, 1991 (age 31)
Ansan, Gyeonggi, South Korea
Alma materKorea National University of Arts
  • Actor
  • musical actor
  • singer
Years active2014–present
AgentPLK Good Friends
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Sang-i
McCune–ReischauerI Sang-i

Early life and educationEdit

Lee's interest in acting was sparked when he took part in an English play during his elementary school years. After attending Jeongji Elementary School and Wonil Middle School, Lee Sang-yi pursued his passion for acting by enrolling in the Department of Theater and Film at Anyang Arts High School. In 2008, during his high school years, Lee won first place in a UCC contest by showcasing his dance skills, covering the choreography for Rain's song "Rainism". He furthered his education by studying at School of Drama, Department of Acting of Korea National University of Arts, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.


Lee Sang-yi made his professional debut in 2014 with the musical Grease. In the following years, he appeared in various musicals including Runway Beat, Legendary Little Basketball Team, Bare: The Musical, and Infinite Power. For his performance as Jang Seon-je in Infinite Power, he received the award for Best Rookie Actor at the Yegreen Musical Award.

Lee spent five weeks rehearsing and perfecting his dance skills, together with Park Ji-eun to cover the choreography from the popular film La La Land. Their performance was uploaded on YouTube in March 2017 and quickly gained widespread attention and popularity.[1] In April, Lee performed onstage in play Mad Kiss. Later in 2017, he made his first television appearance when he joined the cast of the drama Manhole and portrayed Oh Dal-soo. In November of the same year he featured in the Prison Playbook series as Oh Dong-hwan.

In 2018, Lee starred as supporting role in the musical rom-com To. Jenny, led Kim Sung-cheol and Jung Chae-yeon.[2]

In 2019, Lee played baseball couch Yang Seung-yeop in When the Camellia Blooms.

In 2020, Lee starred in 100 episodes weekend drama Once Again, where he played the role of Yoon Jae-seok, a dentist and the younger brother of one of the show's leads, Yoon Gyu-jin, portrayed by Lee Sang-yeob. Lee's romantic storyline with Lee Cho-hee's character became a fan favorite, and their on-screen couple, known as the Sadon Couple, lovingly called as the "national in-law". In the end of the year they won the Best Couple Award at the 2020 KBS Drama Award. Lee also won Best New Actor Award at the same event. The drama's success helped him gain tremendous popularity.[3]

After a two-year hiatus from musical, Lee returned to perform in the musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. He played the role of Monty Navarro, a man who aims to become a count by eliminating eight heirs of the Dysquith family. Lee's portrayal of Monty Navarro won over the hearts of the audience with his unique 'nerd beauty' and solid acting skills, as he comically searched for the members of the Dysquith family one by one. He received positive feedback for his exceptional character synchronization with Monty Navarro, showcasing his talent as an actor.[4]

Lee Sang-yi, Love and Murder theatre in February 2022

Following her success in Once Again, Lee remained busy in 2021. In May 2021, he joined the cast of the Youth of May.[5] His role was Lee Soo-chan, brother of Soo-ryeon and Lee Chang-geun's son, he is a businessman who works at a trading company after returning from his studies in France. He is the oldest child, who places more importance on family than on himself. And also on May, 2021, Lee was revealed as one of the MSG Wannabe members who passed on variety show program Hangout with Yoo and debuted as a member of MSG Wannabe and was part of the sub-unit JSDK.

In June 2021, he was confirmed to star in the tvN drama Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha in which he portrayed Ji Sung-hyun, a workaholic variety show director who has a bright personality.[6]

From November 2021, Lee reprise his role as Monty Navarro in the musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.

Also in, November, Lee confirmed his appearance in Netflix original Series Bloodhounds. It depicts a story about three young people who set foot in the world of private loans in pursuit of money and get caught up in a huge force.

At the end of 2021, Lee became an MC for the 2021 MBC Entertainment Awards with Jun Hyun-moo and Kim Se-jeong.[7]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2014 Taxi Driver Ji Hoon Short film
Slow Video Police radio
2016 Call Me When You Eat. Repayment Korea National University of Arts (graduation work)
Aend Man
Coward Pumice stone Short film
2019 Battle of Noryang Huijung
2020 Hitman: Agent Jun NIS agent
TBA Single in Seoul Byeongsu [8]

Television seriesEdit

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2017 Manhole Oh Dal-soo
Andante Moon Sung-Jun
Prison Playbook Oh Dong-hwan
Oh, the Mysterious Economics Lee
2018 Suits Park Chul-soon Cameo (Episode 1–3)
To. Jenny Yeom Dae-seong [9]
Voice 2 bWang Ko Cameo (Episode 1–2)
The Third Charm Hyeon sang-hyeon [9]
Quiz from God: Reboot Park Jae-seung Cameo (Episode 1–2)
2019 Special Labor Inspector Yang Tae-soo [10]
The Nokdu Flower Merchant Cameo
When the Camellia Blooms Yang Seung-yeop [11]
2020 Once Again Yoon Jae-seok [12]
2021 Youth of May Lee Soo-chan [13]
Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha Ji Seong-hyun [14][15]
Yumi's Cells Ji U-gi Cameo (Episode 1,7) [16][17]
2022 Poong, the Joseon Psychiatrist Kim Yun-gyeom Cameo (Episode 2) [18]
2023 Crash Course in Romance Youtuber Hack Insa Man Cameo (Episode 9) [19][20]

Web seriesEdit

Year Title Role Ref.
2023 Bloodhounds Woo-jin [21]
Han River Ko Ki-seok [22][23]

Television showEdit

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2020 Law of the Jungle in Ulleungdo & Dokdo Cast Member Episode 430–431 [24][25]
2021 Hangout with Yoo Part (MSG Wannabe); Episodes 90–101 [26]
2022 Besties in Wonderland [27]


Year Event/ Show Notes Ref.
2021 2021 MBC Entertainment Awards with Jun Hyun-moo and Kim Se-jeong [7]

Music videoEdit

Year Song Title Artist Ref.
2022 "Do You Want to Hear" (듣고 싶을까) MSG Wannabe MOM [28]



List of Musical Work(s)
Year Title Role Ref.
English Korean
2013 How to Make a Star 별을 만나는 방법 Minseop
X-Wedding Boyfriend
2014 Sarah's House 세라의 집 Nasa
Grease 그리스 Doody
2015 Runway Beat 런웨이비트 Dandy
Legendary Little Basketball Team Seungwoo
Bare: The Musical 베어 더 뮤지컬 Peter
Infinite Power 무한동력 Jang Seon-jae
2016 Thrill Me 쓰릴미 Me [29]
In the Heights 인 더 하이츠 Benny
Experimental Boy 익스페리멘탈 보이 Kevin
Me and Natasha and the White Donkey 나와 나타샤와 흰 당나귀 Baek Seok
2018 Red Book 레드북 Brown
Il Tenore 일 테노레 Lee Su-han
2020 A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 젠틀맨스 가이드:
사랑과 살인편
Monty Navarro [4]
2021–2022 [30]


List of Theater Play(s)
Year Production Role Ref.
English Korean
2016 Real Solution 레알솔루트 Yoo Min-jun
2017 Crazy Kiss 미친키스 Jang Jung
Guards at the Taj 타지마할의 근위병 Babur
2019 The Legend of Georgia McBride 조지아 맥브라이드의 전설 Casey
2023 Shakespeare in Love 셰익스피어 인 러브 William Shakespeare [31]


Soundtrack appearancesEdit

Title Year Album
"Grab Me" (Choi Nakta cover)
(Kim Sung-cheol featuring Lee Sang-yi)
2018 To. Jenny OST Part 1
"Why Am I Like This" (내가 왜 이렇게) 2020 Once Again OST Part 5
"Hope for Happiness" (행복했으면 좋겠어)[32] 2021 Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha OST

With MSG WannabeEdit

Title Year Album
"Journey To Atlantis" (상상더하기)
(with MSG Wannabe)
2021 MSG Wannabe Top 8 Performance Songs
"Resignation" (체념)
(with Kim Jung-min, Simon Dominic, Lee Sang-yi)
"Only You" (나를 아는 사람)
(with Kim Jung-min, Simon Dominic, Lee Sang-yi)
MSG Wannabe 1st Album
"I Love You" (난 너를 사랑해)
(with MSG Wannabe)

Awards and nominationsEdit

Name of the award ceremony, year presented, category, nominee of the award, and the result of the nomination
Award ceremony Year Category Nominee / Work Result Ref.
APAN Star Awards 2021 Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama Once Again Won [33]
Asia Model Awards 2021 Popular Star Award Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, Youth of May Won [34]
Brand of the Year Awards Rising Star Actor Lee Sang-yi Nominated
KBS Drama Awards 2020 Best New Actor Once Again Won [35]
Netizen Award, Actor Nominated
Best Couple Award Lee Sang-yi with Lee Cho-hee
Once Again
Won [36]
2021 Best Supporting Actor Youth of May Nominated [37]
Korea Musical Awards 2017 Best New Actor Me and Natasha and the White Donkey Nominated [38]
MBC Entertainment Awards 2021 Best Teamwork Award Hangout with Yoo Won [39]
Yegreen Musical Awards 2016 Best New Actor Infinite power Nominated


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  20. ^ Kang Nae-ri (February 12, 2023). "'일타스캔들' 정경호, 학부모들 앞에서 전도연에 고백 "혼자 좋아했다"" (in Korean). YTN. Retrieved February 12, 2023.
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  32. ^ Kim Kyung-hee (October 15, 2021). "이상이 '갯마을 차차차' 마지막 OST 가창한다 [공식]" [Lee Sang yi will sing the last OST of 'Gae Village Cha Cha Cha' [Official]] (in Korean). iMBC. Retrieved October 15, 2021 – via Naver.
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External linksEdit