Miss Saigon to return to the West End in 2013

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Rumours have reached our ears here at Shows in London that Cameron Mackintosh is to bring back Schonberg and Boubil’s hugely successful musical, Miss Saigon, to London’s West End.

It was a hugely successful production, the show was both critically acclaimed and enjoyed enormous public popularity. The set design was fantastic for its time and the spectacular helicopter scene drew gasps of amazement. It was Schonberg and Boubil’s second hit musical following on from the success of their show Les Miserables, still running today in the West End at the Queen’s theatre making it the world’s longest running musical.

Miss Saigon was originally staged in the West End at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1989 and closed after 4,264 performances ten years later in 1999.The show in London became the Theatre Royal Drury Lane’s longest running musical, eclipsing the record previously set by My Fair Lady.

The original Kim was played by Lea Salonga, who became famous because of this role and won the Laurence Olivier Award and Tony Award on Broadway. The original Engineer was portrayed by Jonathan Pryce.

Cameron Mackintosh and Dong Alegre, the representative of Mackintosh in the Philippines, will hold the Manila auditions for the West End revival of Miss Saigon, at the Philippine Opera Company’s headquarters, the Opera Haus in November 2012. “Miss Saigon’s executive producer, director, choreographer, and musical director will be flying in from London to hold auditions for the restaging of the hit musical, which paved the way for Filipino talents such as Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson, and Isay Alvarez, among others to shine on the world stage,” said Alegre.

“We will be holding auditions for the role of Kim, a 17-year-old Vietnamese bar girl, originally played by Salonga and Wilson in London’s West End.  We are also looking for ensemble cast members,” added Alegre.

Miss Saigon is a musical with a score by Les Miserables collaborators Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, and lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby, based on Puccini’s popular opera Madame Butterfly. The musical portrays the tragic tale of a doomed romance involving an Asian woman abandoned by her American lover. The setting of the plot is relocated to the 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War, and Madame Butterfly’s story of marriage between an American lieutenant and Japanese girl is replaced by a romance between an American GI and a Vietnamese bar girl.

The musical’s inspiration was reportedly a photograph, discovered by Schönberg in a magazine. The photo showed a Vietnamese mother leaving her child at a departure gate at Tan Son Nhut Air Base to board a plane headed for the United States where her father, an ex-GI, would be in a position to provide a much better life for the child. Schönberg considered this mother’s actions for her child to be the ultimate sacrifice, an idea central to the plot of Miss Saigon

Highlights of the show include the evacuation of the last Americans in Saigon from the Embassy roof by helicopter while a crowd of abandoned Vietnamese scream in despair, the victory parade of the new communist regime and the frenzied night club scene at the time of defeat.

Songs from the musical include “Sun and Moon,” “Last Night of the World,” “The Movie in my Mind,” and “American Dream.”

Rumour has it that Miss Saigon will be coming to the Prince Edward theatre in London sometime in 2013, so watch this space!