Acclaimed London Production Comes to Broadway
On March 1, 2017, Miss Saigon began preview performances at the Broadway Theatre in a revival of the groundbreaking musical that premiered at that same theatre, where it ran from 1991 to 2001 for a total of 4,111 performances, making it the 13th longest running show in Broadway history to date. The show now comes back to Broadway following a successful revival in London, directed by Laurence Connor, whose previous Broadway credits include School of Rock – the Musical, and Les Misérables. Like Les Misérables, Miss Saigon has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, in collaboration with Alain Boublil. In the case of Miss Saigon, Boublil co-wrote the lyrics with Richard Maltby, Jr., adapted from the original French text by Boublil, with additional lyrics by Michael Mahler. This production of Miss Saigon, which is scheduled for its opening night on March 23, 2017, stars several Broadway newcomers. Making their Broadway debut are Alistair Brammer in the role of Chris, Jon Jon Briones in the role of The Engineer, and Eva Noblezada in the role of Kim, among others. The role of Kim was originated by Lea Salonga, first in the West End and then on Broadway, who won both the Laurence Olivier Award and the Tony Award for her performance. As for the new starlet who is playing Kim, Eva Noblezada, she was discovered at age 17 through her performance in the Jimmy Awards, which led to her West End debut in the London production of Miss Saigon.
Miss Saigon is a beautifully woven tale based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly. Like the source material, this musical is the story of the doomed romance between an American man and an Asian woman. In this adaptation, however, the setting is changed to 1970s Saigon, now also known as Ho Chi Minh City, taking place during the Vietnam War. The musical begins in the setting of a bar and brothel in Saigon called “Dreamland,” shortly before the completion of the Vietnam War. It is also the first day of work for a young bar girl named Kim. The girls are competing for a beauty contest style honor known as “Miss Saigon.” Meanwhile, an American GI named Chris reluctantly joins his friend at the bar, and is struck by Kim’s guilelessness. While Saigon is at risk of being overtaken by the Viet Cong, Chris deals with his internal struggle of wanting to remain there with Kim. The two therefore decide to wed in order to provide for an American visa for Kim. The musical then shifts to three years later, when Kim is still waiting for Chris to return to her, but Chris is in bed with his new American wife. The story continues from there, with heartbreaking revelations about humanity in this particularly devastating time in history.
A Limited Engagement to Conclude on January 13, 2018
In general, musicals arrive on Broadway the intent to remain as long as possible. This is often even the case for revivals. In the case of Miss Saigon, however, the show has already announced its closing date. It is entirely possible that the show might extend if sales are extraordinary, and as of yet no show has been announced to replace Miss Saigon at the beginning of 2018. Nevertheless, the London production of Miss Saigon closed on February 27, 2016, after running for 760 performances since it began on May 21, 2016, in order to make way for the London transfer of the Disney musical Aladdin, which has been playing to great commercial success in New York, which then opened in London on June 15, 2016. During the London run, the 25th anniversary of Miss Saigon took place on September 22, 2014. This was a gala performance that included the entire show, followed by the original cast joining the new cast on stage for a special finale. The return cast who showed up for the occasion included Lea Salonga, Simon Bowman, Jonathan Pryce, and Rachelle Anne Go, singing songs such as “This is the Hour,” “The Movie in My Mind,” and “The American Dream” with both the old and new casts together. The Broadway production of Miss Saigon is scheduled to run until January 13, 2018.