“Miss Saigon” may be billed as the epic love story of our time, but in all honesty, it’s probably one of the saddest stories I’ve seen – in the best way possible.
It’s a tragic love story.
A grim love story that producer Cameron Mackintosh said had become even more relevant today than when it opened in the West End of London in 1989.
“With innocent people being torn apart by war all over the world, this brilliant new production, directed by Laurence Connor and featuring the original, dazzling choreography by Bob Avian, takes a grittier, more realistic approach that magnifies the power and epic sweep of Boublil and Schönberg’s tremendous score,” he said.
The musical tells the story of Kim, a young Vietnamese woman who is orphaned by war. Without many options to survive, she finds herself working at a “girls” bar – run by my favorite character in the show; the notorious Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American G.I., Chris, but during what I’ll refer to as a “racy rendition of life on both sides of the gate during the Vietnam War,” the two are torn apart.
Before I go on, let me say the scene mentioned above is about as cool as the chandelier drop in “The Phantom of the Opera.”
Spoiler alert: There’s a real helicopter (or a shell of a helicopter) on the stage, and the grumbling of sound effects and the drama of the score highlights the fall of Saigon to perfection. The arresting visual marked the symbolic end to years of a bloody war, but also the end of this “epic love story” as Chris is carried off the roof of the U.S. Embassy and Kim is left behind.
For the next three years, Kim goes on a journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he’s fathered a son.
In the second half of the production – my favorite half – we also get to see a lot more of the Engineer, who in all honesty stole parts of the show in the same way the King stole parts of “Hamilton” when it was in Dallas.
Oh man, this guy is creepy. He is raunchy. But he is not the villain of the story, as actor Red Concepcion said in a recent interview.
“I think the real villain of the story is war and how it shapes people,” he said. “No one comes out of the war unscathed. No one comes out of the war completely clean. They come out of it broken and completely changed.”
“Of all my productions, despite its popularity, “Miss Saigon” is the one that the public has had the least chance to see as it requires such a huge international cast of Asian and Western performers and a vast array of visually stunning sets,” Mackintosh said. “Now, for the first time in 17 years, as it continues to wow audiences in major cities around the world, theatregoers across America will be able to see one of the most spectacular musicals ever written in all its glory, in a new production that critics in London and on Broadway have embraced.”
This new production features stunning spectacle and a sensational cast of 42 performing the soaring score, including Broadway hits like “The Heat is On in Saigon,” “The Movie in My Mind,” “Last Night of the World,” and “American Dream.”
“Miss Saigon” opened this week at the Music Hall at Fair Park, as part of Dallas Summer Musicals and Broadway Across America. The production runs through May 26.
Single tickets start at $25 (pricing subject to change) and are available at DallasSummerMusicals.org or by phone at 800-745-3000.