Ruthie Henshall, the Olivier Award-winning actress seen in Broadway's Chicago and Putting It Together, will play Ellen, the American wife of the show's Vietnam vet hero, in the final month of Miss Saigon at the Broadway Theatre, Dec. 31-Jan. 28, 2001.
Henshall will be part of the company that includes the show's original Tony Award-winning star, Lea Salonga, who plays Kim, the wartime lover of Ellen's ex-G.I. husband, Chris.
Will Chase (a vet of the Broadway, tour and Manila stagings) returns to the New York company as Chris. The smash tuner by Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil and Richard Maltby Jr. celebrated its 4,000th Broadway performance Nov. 2.
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. It was scheduled to close Dec. 31, but producer Cameron Mackintosh extended the run by four weeks.
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.