Every once in a while, a musical comes along that’s big on production, features melodic songs and beautiful vocals, and presents lavish sets along with spectacular effects. Cameron Mackintosh’s revival of the 1991 hit musical “Miss Saigon” is just that – and a whole lot more.
The 20th century retelling of the famous opera “Madame Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini, “Miss Saigon” is an epic love story. The musical is currently on UK tour and since March 2017 has been selling out Miss Saigon tickets at the Broadway Theatre in New York. Starting off as a limited engagement, the musical will now run through January 2018.
A passionate production, “Miss Saigon” won three Tony Awards in 1991 and its West End Revival in 2014 was honored at the Whatsonstage.com Awards.
Miss Saigon Musical Information
|Director||Producer||Composer/Lyricist||Writer||Choreographer||Set Designer||Laurence Connor||Cameron Mackintosh||Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil & Richard Maltby, Jr.||Claude-Michel Schönberg & Alain Boublil||Bob Avian||Totie Driver & Matt Kinley|
A legendary team that brought the world mega-hit Les Misérables in 1980, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel were itching for a new blockbuster. After Les Misérables moved to the Palace Theatre in December 1985, the duo set out for fresh ideas. Inspiration came from an old picture of a Vietnamese woman who was leaving behind her child with his father so that he has a better life. Claude-Michel then remembered “Madame Butterfly” and the sacrifice of the leading lady in it.
“Miss Saigon” was born and held the narrative of “the ultimate sacrifice”. Looking back at the initial phase, both Claude-Michel and Boublil still cherish the creative freedom they had at that time. Compared to the adaptations they had worked on previously, “Miss Saigon” allowed them to write an original story and form new characters, set in a contemporary world.
“Miss Saigon” story takes place in Saigon, set in the last days of the Vietnam War. A 17 years old orphan named Kim has no choice but to work in a dodgy bar owned by a shady French-Vietnamese man “The Engineer”. There she meets a young man Chris, falls in love and starts a relationship. But fate and the eventual downfall of Saigon comes between them and Chris returns to the US.
Unaware that Kim was pregnant and later bears his son Tam, Chris on the other side of the world marries a woman named Ellen. Still harboring feelings for Kim, he dreams about her every night and finally decides to return to Saigon after learning about his son. Plenty of drama ensues, romance blossoms, betrayal befall and ultimately the story comes to a heartbreaking and tragic conclusion.
“Thrilling, Soaring and Spectacular”, Miss Saigon will make you cry, laugh and gasp in amazement.
Miss Saigon – Original Cast
Lea Salonga brought Kim to life on both the West End in 1989 and Broadway in 1991. She was just 18 at that time and it became a career defining role for her. Salonga embraced the character beautifully, showing Kim as both strong and vulnerable. In her romantic scenes with Willy Falk who plays Chris, she nails the saxophone-flecked ballads. Her sentimentality and passion in the first act hooked the audience. Her voice touched hearts and her girlish radiant features added to her appeal. Salonga’s brilliant performance earned her a Tony Award in the “Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical”.
Willy Falk is able to capture Chris’s conflicted personality and presents it magnificently on stage. He was nominated for a Tony Award in the “Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical” category.
Jonathan Pryce is “The Engineer” in both the West End premiere and “Miss Saigon” Broadway run. Pryce continued his streak as a performer who always lands nasty roles. Extremely effective as a leering, sleazy pimp, he manages to both repulse and intrigue the audiences. He not just won a Tony Award for the “Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical” but also took home a Laurence Olivier Award as the “Best Actor in a Musical”.
Miss Saigon – Original Score
Even before the orchestra starts, there’s the foretelling sound of blade slap. It’s the sound of a helicopter. Just like Chandelier is akin to The Phantom of the Opera, helicopter will forever be linked to “Miss Saigon”. In fact, for the longest time it was known as the “musical with the helicopter”.
Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s score is what drives “Miss Saigon”. The opening number “The Movie in My Mind” is a touching song about hopeless dreams. Just like any successful musical, it’s the songs that carry “Miss Saigon” forward. “The Heat Is On” sets the scene of impending war as the countryside is engulfed in terror and the city is drowning in its own filth.
The romantic numbers are beautiful; especially the ballad “Sun and Moon” which is a love song of Chris and Kim. The melodious track showcases their blossoming romance. “The Wedding Ceremony” is a tenderly staged act featuring Kim and Chris as they celebrate their love for each other.
The masterful 18-piece orchestra helps steer the lush melodies and it’s these efforts that earned William David Brohn a Drama Desk Award for “Outstanding Orchestrations”.
Discount Miss Saigon Tickets
Cameron Mackintosh’s revival of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s legendary musical “Miss Saigon” enjoyed a Tony nominated Broadway renewal. The revival couldn’t come at a better time as the hit musical is also nearing its 25th anniversary. The search is on for discount Miss Saigon tickets as theatergoers want to be a part of this celebration.
The production team led by the set designers Totie Driver, Matt Kinley and Adrian Vaux created lavish sets. The overall design allowed fluid movements, transitioning from intimate love scenes to the extravagant production numbers. Theater technology has also come a long way since “Miss Saigon” premiered almost 25 years ago. Better facilities allowed for a more sunning helicopter sequence.
The New Yorker called “Miss Saigon” a “Dynamite Broadway Revival”, whereas, Daily Telegraph praised it as a “thrilling new production that spills beyond the theatre and speaks directly to the times we live in”. An epic love story featuring spectacular performances, “Miss Saigon” is not to be missed.