Miss Saigon on Tour
The latest touring production of Miss Saigon evolved out of West End and Broadway revivals celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Tony Award–winning musical’s 1989 London debut. Arriving amid fevered conversations around the topic of immigration, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s translation of Puccini’s 1904 opera Madama Butterfly to the Vietnam War is timelier than ever. The French playwrights’ extravagant “popera,” conceived between their celebrated Les Misérables and Martin Guerre, has aged equally well on an artistic level. Director Laurence Connor brings realism and immediacy — and, of course, a scene-stealing helicopter — to this tense and tender tale of a Vietnamese mother who chooses to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of her son.
About Miss Saigon
Miss Saigon begins on April 29, 1975, the night before the United States essentially ends the Vietnam War by surrendering South Vietnam’s capital city. The colorfully amoral pimp, fixer and survivor known as the Engineer (Red Concepción) sells the poor yet virtuous country girl Kim (Emily Bautista) to an American soldier (Anthony Festa), who is forced to abandon her after a night of passion. Three years later, Chris, now married, reunites with Kim and their child in Bangkok.
Reviewing the show’s 1991 Broadway debut, New York Times critic Frank Rich lauded Miss Saigon’s lush melodies and praised it as “a gripping entertainment of the old school (specifically, the Rodgers and Hammerstein East-meets-West school of South Pacific and The King and I).” With its revival, audiences can again swoon to gorgeous ballads like “You Will Not Touch Him” and “If You Want to Die in Bed,” which reflect Kim’s transformation from a naive victim of circumstance into a steely conduit of fearless maternal resolve. The musical’s contemporary relevance later reaches its apex in “The American Dream,” in which the Engineer fantasizes about the supersized life he will lead when he finally moves to America, where the Vietnam War’s lessons are still being learned.