Broadway's Miss Saigon starts the New Year with the return of its Tony Award-winning original star, Lea Salonga, Dec. 31, beginning the final month of performances for the pop musical about the love among the ruins of a fallen Vietnam.
Also joining the company at the Broadway Theatre are Will Chase, returning as Chris, the G.I. in love with Vietnamese girl, Kim (played by Salonga); Michael K. Lee as Thuy and Ruthie Henshall as Chris' wife, Ellen. Melinda Chua is the alternate Kim (Salonga does not perform Wednesday evenings or Saturday matinees). The company also includes Luoyong Wang as the Engineer and Charles E. Wallace as John.
Performances continue to Jan. 28. The smash tuner by Claude Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil and Richard Maltby Jr. celebrated its 4,000th Broadway performance Nov. 2. It was announced that Miss Saigon would end Dec. 31, but producer Cameron Mackintosh opted to continue the show for four weeks, into 2001.
The musical is inspired by Madama Butterfly and sets the action in during the 1975 fall of Saigon, when American troops pulled out of Vietnam. Henshall won an Olivier Award for her work in London's She Loves Me, and was an ensemble member in London's Miss Saigon before assuming the role of Ellen there. Salonga certainly loves her signature role; she played a return stretch in the Broadway company in 1999.
* Jonathan Pryce, Hinton Battle, Liz Callaway and Willy Falk, the original Broadway stars of Miss Saigon, appeared with the show's creative team (sans Boublil, who could not make it) at the 4,000th gala performance at the Broadway Theatre Nov. 2.
The 7 PM evening — packed with friends, family and industry people who have supported the show over the years, helping make it the sixth longest-running musical in Broadway history — included a full performance of the hit megamusical followed by an on-stage celebration at which producer Cameron Mackintosh spoke and announced the show's extension. Also in attendance were co-librettist Schonberg (whose Les Miserables is packing them in at the Imperial), director Nicholas Hytner, American lyricist Richard Maltby Jr. and others.
The Broadway staging of the 1989 London hit opened April 11, 1991 and became an international sensation.
For ticket information, call (212) 239-6200.
Visit the website at www.miss-saigon.com.