By Joanne Von Furstenburg | Posted on March 03, 2017 5:07 PM
A story of the romance between a Vietnamese bar girl and an American GI. The type of war it depicts has unfortunately become prevalent all over the world, and the story of an ill-fated romance transcends time and place.
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.
An American GI and Vietnamese Bar Girl During the Vietnam War
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.