Miss Saigon gets a major resident production beginning Oct. 30 at North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA, with Rona Figueroa as Vietnamese heroine Kim, ready to sacrifice all for an American G.I.
Official opening for the staging, one of the first since the international blockbuster ended its Broadway run, is Nov. 1. Figueroa played the role of Kim on Broadway for two years. Kevin Grey stars as the Engineer, which he played in Toronto and Los Angeles. Brian Noonan plays Chris. Thos Shipley is John. Jessica Hendy plays Chris' American wife, Ellen.
Barry Ivan directs and choreographs. Kathy Rubbicco is musical director. Performances continue to Nov. 18.
Tickets are $18-$56. For North Shore Music Theatre information, call (978) 232-7200 or visit www.nsmt.org.
* The long-running hit musical, Miss Saigon, has its final Broadway curtain Jan. 28, 2001, and speeches and farewells followed the sold-out matinee. The Sunday show marked Miss Saigon's 4,097th performance.
Theatre Under the Stars in Texas was the first company in America to secure the rights to produce the show following the Broadway production. It played the Arena Theatre in Houston in March and April.
The smash tuner by Claude Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil and Richard Maltby Jr. celebrated its 4,000th Broadway performance Nov. 2, 2000.
The musical is inspired by the same novel that prompted the David Belasco play and the Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly: a novel called "Madame Chrysanthemum." The action of the show is largely set during the 1975 fall of Saigon, when American troops pulled out of Vietnam. (It also flashes forward to 1978.) A major plot point of the musical focuses on the children of American soldiers and Vietnamese women. They are called "Bui-Doi," or "dust of life," and, over the years, Miss Saigon has raised awareness and money for refugee children scarred by war. A total of $3.5 million has been distributed to charities throughout the world by Miss Saigon-inspired Bui-Doi Fund.
"We're not trying to make a musical about the Vietnam War, like movies which have been made about the Vietnam War," director Nicholas Hytner told his cast on the first day of rehearsal in London in 1989. "It's a tragic love story which has the Vietnam War as the background — or at least the end of the Vietnam War."
Freely mixing pop-style ballads, military marches, gospel and more, the score includes such songs as "The Heat is On in Saigon," "The Movie in My Mind," "Why God Why?," "Sun and Moon," "The Last Night of the World," "The Morning of the Dragon," "I Still Believe," "Bui-Doi," "The American Dream."
The Broadway staging of the 1989 London hit opened April 11, 1991, and continued to become an international sensation.
Embraced by audiences for its big tunes, soap-operatic emotions and pungent conjuring of the grit and urgency of the setting and time, Miss Saigon lost the Tony Award in 1991 to The Will Rogers Follies, a sentimental and patriotic frolic that cheered audiences in the months following the Gulf War conflict.