EXCLUSIVE: London Revival of MISS SAIGON Will Complete Casting Late December
The official statement was issued to BroadwayWorld.com to address false information circulating on the Web, including a recent tabloid report suggesting Filipino pop singer/actor Rachelle Ann Go has been cast to play the featured role of Gigi Van Tranh, a disillusioned prostitute, whose musical number with the show's protagonist Kim and the female ensemble "Movie in My Mind" is one of the more emotional showstoppers in Act 1.
Filipino singer/actor Isay Alvarez originated the role of Gigi in 1989.
Alvarez and husband of 22 years, Robert Seña, who was also part of the original London cast, are currently on vacation in New York City. BroadwayWorld.com has approached Alvarez for a quick interview: "When I auditioned for 'Miss Saigon,' along with many other girls, the creative team was looking for someone who would play Kim. When they heard my voice, they cast me as Gigi right away! I think it was my big voice, I guess, and my age at the time," she said.
Interestingly, Seña was quoted in the Philippine Daily Inquirer to have said that, "...The lines of the song ["Movie in My Mind"] were meant to be divided and sung by several girls, the prostitutes in the musical. But after the creative people heard her [Alvarez] sing it, they decided to just halve it into two--for Kim and Gigi."
Of note, public auditions for the London revival of "Miss Saigon" were scheduled in New York (for the roles of Kim and The Engineer) last month and early October; in London (for East and Southeast Asian actors) last July; and in Manila (for the roles of Kim and Asian ensemble) last November.
Recently announced to open at the Prince Edward Theatre in London on May 3, 2014, "Miss Saigon" broke records for the largest single-day ticket sales in theater history when its public bookings opened last month. "Miss Saigon" sold more than £4.4m ($7.1M) on Monday, September 9, breaking the records set by the original London production of Trey Parker, Bobby Lopez and Matt Stone's "The Book of Mormon" at around £2.1m ($3.4M) just last March; and Mel Brooks' original Broadway production of "The Producers" at around $3M (£1.9m).
"Miss Saigon," which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year, features music by Claude-Michel Schönberg with lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and Alain Boublil, adapted from the original French lyrics by Boublil.
This new production of "Miss Saigon" is directed by Laurence Connor with musical staging by Bob Avian and additional choreography by Geoffrey Garratt; production design by Totie Driver and Matt Kinley, from an original concept by Adrian Vaux; costume design by Andreane Neofitou; orchestrations by William David Brohn; lighting design by Bruno Poet and sound design by Mick Potter.
Set in 1975 during the final days of the American occupation of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), "Miss Saigon" tells the epic love story between Chris, an American G.I., and Kim, a young Vietnamese bargirl, which is loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's "Madame Butterfly."
Since its London premiere in 1989, "Miss Saigon," which originally starred Tony and Olivier Award winner Lea Salonga as Kim, has become one of the most successful musicals in history, and enjoyed a phenomenal 10-year run at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The mega-musical has been performed in 28 countries and in more than 300 cities in 15 different languages. It has won more than 40 awards, including two Olivier Awards, three Tony Awards and four Drama Desk Awards; it has been seen by more than 35 million people worldwide.
For tickets (£27.50 [$42.99] to £67.50 [$105.53]), call 0844-482-5155 or visit miss-saigon.com.
Photos c/o Isay Alvarez Seña