Miss Saigon show description
Miss Saigon is a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby, based on Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly.
Cameron Mackintosh’s production was a huge success previously in London when it played for ten years at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane from 1989 to 1999, closing after 4,264 shows, a record for the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
As well as being such a success in London, the show was also staged on Broadway for ten years from 1991 to 2001, and is still the 11th longest running show in Broadway history.
Miss Saigon, famous for its iconic helicopter scene which was a technical first in 1989, tells the tragic tale of a doomed romance. The show is set in the 1970s in Saigon during the Vietnamese War and portrays the story of an Asian girl abandoned by her American G.I. lover.
Miss Saigon was the second major West End hit for Schonberg and Boublil following on from their previous hit show Les Miserables, which has endured as the world’s longest running musical and is still playing today at the Queen’s theatre in London.
The inspiration behind Miss Saigon was a photograph of a Vietnamese mother leaving her child at the departure gate which Schönberg discovered in a magazine. Cameron Mackintosh has promised a grittier version this time around.
The show starts in 1975 at a sleazy Vietnamese nightclub, run by The Engineer. Kim is a 17-year old orphaned bar girl. The bar is full of American G.I.’s amongst them is Chris, a sergeant in the U.S. marines. Chris meets Kim and becomes enchanted by her, they soon fall in love.
With the Viet Cong set to take Saigon, Chris and Kim hastily arrange a wedding ceremony. Meanwhile Thuy, Kim's cousin, to whom she was betrothed at thirteen, arrives to take her home. Thuy has become an officer in the North Vietnamese Army and is angry to discover her allegiance with Chris. Chris makes a pledge to take Kim back to the USA when he leaves Vietnam.
A highlight of the show is the evacuation of the last Americans in Saigon from the Embassy roof by helicopter while a crowd of abandoned Vietnamese scream in despair. In the melee Chris leaves Vietnam leaving Kim behind.
Three years pass, and in the renamed Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, a street parade is taking place to celebrate the third anniversary of the reunification of Vietnam and the defeat of the Americans. Thuy is now a commissar in the new government and he orders his soldiers to find Kim. Kim is still in love with Chris and has been hiding in an impoverished area believing that Chris will come back to Vietnam to rescue her. Meanwhile, back in the US Chris is with his new American wife, Ellen, when he wakes from a dream shouting Kim's name.
The Engineer finds Kim, who has a three-year-old son, Tam, fathered by Chris. Thuy is enraged and declares Kim a traitor and tries to stab Tam, Kim retaliates by shooting Thuy. Kim flees to Bangkok with Tam.
Meanwhile in the US, Chris’s friend and former army colleague, John, now works for an aid organisation whose mission is to help Vietnamese children. John informs Chris that Kim is still alive and that she has a child, he urges Chris to go to Bangkok with Ellen. Chris finally tells Ellen about Kim and Tam.
Chris, Ellen and John go to Bangkok in search of Kim. John finds Kim. The truth of the fateful night that Chris and Kim parted is revealed in a series of flashbacks.
The tangled web of romance and the moral dilemmas facing Chris all comes to a shocking climax as Kim first meets Ellen, then Chris meets his son, Tam for the first time. In an emotional and heart rending finale they all need to make choices that will affect the lives of all involved.
You will not fail to be moved by Miss Saigon in some of the most poignant scenes ever witnessed on a London stage.
Miss Saigon was a hugely popular musical that enjoyed enormous critical acclaim and wonderful audience reaction. Tickets were in demand and it was the ‘sold out’ hot ticket of its era. Cameron Mackintosh’s eagerly awaited revival is expected to be in equally high demand. The capacity of the Prince Edward theatre is some 1,000 seats less than the original venue for Miss Saigon, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, so demand for tickets is bound to be intensified with less tickets available.
Miss Saigon tickets in London:
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"I came away feeling this is a successful variation on an old tale and put across with exemplary vigour"
"superbly slick, powerfully acted and splendidly sung... Laurence Connor’s production has a cinematic fluency and he keeps the dramatic tension simmering throughout. "