twitter instagram youtube pinterest
 photo toppost.png

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: Miss Saigon Broadway

Miss Saigon has been one of my favorite musicals since I discovered it years ago and it's much more than simply the show that shot Lea Salonga to stardom. I saw it last month, on March 24, to celebrate my sister's birthday. Based on the opera Madame Butterfly but set in the Vietnam War, it tells the story of a young American GI and a Vietnamese girl who are separated by the fall of Saigon. Furthermore, it brings light to the situation of the "bui doi" -- the half-American children born to Vietnamese women who had to deal with the stigma of their Western heritage. As a history major, how could I resist a show like this?


The music is written by the team that brought us Les Mis: Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil. It's a sumptuous score, alternating between dance numbers like "American Dream" and "The Heat is On" and soaring ballads like "I'd Give My Life for You" and "Why God Why." You can't leave the theatre without at least one song in your head. (If you'd like to listen, I recommend the recent live West End revival recording.)


This first Broadway revival takes after the recent West End one, even importing some of its cast. It's grittier than the original production and more focused on showing the atrocities of war. The sets are realistic enough to immerse you in the action and the costuming is lovely. Of course, it's the helicopter that many come to see and the effects surrounding it (especially with lighting and sound) are intense and impressive.


I could write whole essays on how fierce and wonderful Eva Noblezada is as Kim. Eva first played the role in London, right after graduating from high school (yes, I feel inferior in every way). Now back in her native United States after finishing up playing Eponine in Les Mis, it's clear that her Kim has only improved. Aside from her stunning vocals and acting that leaves me sobbing every time, I'm always impressed with how naturally she interacts with the young children who play Tam.

You can check out her singing "I'd Give My Life for You" at the Olivier Awards:


Though this was my third time seeing Miss Saigon, I've never seen anyone but Jon Jon Briones as the Engineer and I frankly never want to. It's a character with a tricky line to walk between comedic relief and showing the immorality that flourishes in wartime and Jon Jon executes it perfectly while also providing a humanity to the character. His "American Dream" is a show-stopper; the audience didn't stop applauding for several minutes the night that I saw it!


I truly didn't think that Alistair Brammer's Chris could be improved upon after seeing him in the West End, but Alistair proved me wrong. Alistair has been one of my favorite actors since I was sixteen and I'm so incredibly proud of him for being a leading man on Broadway, especially for a role like Chris which he seems born to play. (Yes, I feel like a proud little sister or something.) His voice is well-suited to the score and his "Why God Why" is the kind of performance that makes you remember why you love live theatre. However, it's his acting that impresses me the most: he truly shows a man broken by war and frustrated by his inability to help the people of a country torn apart. His "Confrontation" in Act II brought me to tears, especially his deliver of the heartbreaking line, "I'm an American, how could I fail to do good?" It's also worth saying that while his American accent was good in his West End performance, it's so impeccable now that I'm sure some are surprised to find out he's English!


If you have the chance, I would highly recommend seeing this beautiful and moving show before it leaves Broadway again in January as it's on a limited engagement. Worth seeing for any one of the three leads alone, it also boasts an impressive ensemble and cast of featured actors. For now, I'm just glad to have my favorite show back on Broadway, living the "American Dream."

Make sure to check out my full review video below x

No comments:

Post a Comment

 photo envye.jpg
envye blogger theme