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New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by Dave19 2012-01-20 18:23:21


Boublil and Schonberg wrote a new song for the character Ellen in Miss Saigon. It's called "Maybe". It replaces "Now that I've seen her". The Dutch revival production is the first production to have this song (the song was translated in Dutch of course). I had to get used to it at first, but now I think it's the best song Ellen ever had in the hotelroom scene.

The song is much more about hope then the previous songs. She also sings about how she met Chris, and that she is right for him. This new song makes Ellen much more real and likeable.
The lyrics are just amazing and very emotional. The lyrics are the song's strongest point.


Edit:

2 better versions of the song

Original CD version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWMA7BKD0Ck

Live performance in tv show:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oEtCQvi9IQ



New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by masterwolfie 2012-01-20 19:09:06


Beautiful! Now I wish they'd add in "Too Much for One Heart"!

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by random person 112 2012-01-20 19:38:23


They will never solve the problem of the ellen song

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by SporkGoddess 2012-01-20 19:40:34


Is there a translation or English version?

I think the issue is that the audience has seen what Kim has been through and it's just hard to sympathize with Ellen at that point. At least for me it is, heh.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by CATSNYrevival 2012-01-20 19:47:26


What was wrong with "Now That I've Seen Her?"

Also, who's the guy playing Chris in that picture? Yum.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by Wildcard 2012-01-20 20:30:30


Even though Ellen is Chris's wife, from the audience's point of view, she's the "other woman."

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by jimmycurry01 2012-01-20 21:31:13


No thanks. This new song is lacking the sound of the sense of anger and betrayal Ellen feels when she realizes that Kim was a bit more than a one night fling.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by My Oh My 2012-01-20 22:32:34


That was grating to listen to. Sorry. I don't think the actress sings it very well. She sounds very wobbly, sharp, and way too much head voice. Not doubting the singer's talent but this song does her no favors. Makes me dislike Ellen immensely and wish Kim would just pop up again and give her a good sock in the jaw.

"Now that I've Seen Her" is satisfying and also does not slow the show down musically like this number does. I am not interested in learning details about Chris' and Ellen's touching first meeting. Saigon is partly characterized by its heart wrenching realities and the incredibly difficult decisions that all involved must face. Ellen's spontaneous and emotionally charged "Now That I've Seen Her" should not be dumped over this "deep" moment. Boublil and Schonberg need to quit altering their works decades later. The shows have already proven themselves and then they go in and "improve" them only to disrupt what worked perfectly well before.

I don't consider this new song an improvement and think Ellen doesn't need more character building--she's always actually been one of the more real and fleshed out characters in the show.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by rosscoe(au) 2012-01-20 22:36:13


That should have just left it at, It's her or me

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by Bettyboy72 2012-01-20 23:50:29


"Now That I've Seen Her " is a very satisfying song that conveys a lot of emotion and information about Ellen's conflict. I don't care for the new song at all.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by eatlasagna 2012-01-21 03:12:05


I never really understood all the Ellen hate in this show... but whatever...

although when i took my friend to see the show... my friend had the best reaction... Ellen didn't start singing yet for I STILL BELIEVE.... and the second the lights went up for her part to begin my friend just looked at me and said "that b*tch!"... i thought that was hilarious

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by Dave19 2012-01-21 05:57:49


"Ellen's spontaneous and emotionally charged "Now That I've Seen Her" should not be dumped over this "deep" moment."

I disagree. I've always found "Now that I've seen her" a boring moment in the show. Yes, we know that you've seen her, you don't have to repeat it 20 times. Stop singing about how shocked you are and get yourself together.

In this new song, the shock is in the intro (the intro stayed the same). Then a moment of silence. And then the songs starts with "But maybe". And a whole glorious set of lyrics comes afterwards. A song about the next step, about hope.

I think you have to see this song performed in the show and understand the lyrics, that will make you love it. Once you've experienced that, the previous song "Now that I've seen her" won't do it for you anymore.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by allen11375 2012-01-21 08:43:12


Just my opinion, but I don’t know that the overall “tone” of the song matches the rest of the show. So much time has passed between everyone’s initial involvement and other projects have been realized since then that the song feels disjointed somehow.
I think it’s beautiful, musically and I love the way it builds – it’s certainly memorable (found myself humming it in the shower after one listen!).
I remember discussions about how the arrangements for the current ending of the show may not match very much to the rest of the show because too much time had passed since “Sacred Bird” to change it again. Perhaps it’s just knowing that fact that forced this opinion... I, for one, like the song, but don’t think it gels well with the other numbers, stylistically.
Ellen’s characterization will always suffer in this show, anyway (poor thing!). It seemed natural to try and “fix” her story somehow, but maybe the time has passed?

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by My Oh My 2012-01-21 13:04:40


I don't dislike Ellen at all. It was this new song which caused me to want to see Kim sock her in the jaw, lol.

I've always felt extremely bad for Ellen. A lot of people think she's an a-hole because of her reservations about adopting a child that isn't her flesh and blood into her family, but all of this happens so quickly and the show portrays their reactions as they happen at the heat of the moment. It doesn't make it right but it is understandable the torn feelings involved.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by gvendo2005 2012-01-21 13:20:29


Hi Quique. Still looking for a little Gavroche in your life?

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by My Oh My 2012-01-21 13:22:23


A little Gavroche? Huh? Who goes there??????

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by Dave19 2012-01-23 14:21:36


I added 2 better clips of the song.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2012-01-23 14:29:10




















New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by Wildcard 2012-01-23 14:33:46


Hoping La Mirada uses this song in their production

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by Dave19 2012-01-23 14:42:23


Sorry, can't find the English lyrics yet.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2012-01-23 15:28:28


Can't you translate them? You said they were amazing and emotional, so I just assume you understand them.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Tom_sthlm 2012-01-23 17:43:11


I saw this production in December and it is a real gem. It is quite small without the big, spectacular scenery and thus more focused on the characters.

I did not know then that Ellen had a new song. I was really sceptical when I heard the first lines of the new song since I am quite fond of 'Now that I've seen her' but all doubts quickly disappeared. This song makes Ellen more human and it helps to understand her feelings. She loves Chris with all her heart and she is frightened to death that she will loose him. She is panicking and a lot crosses her mind (that is why the song mainly consists of short lines that stop abruptly. Will she have to fight for his love, and if she fights, will she win or will she loose him to Kim again? For me it was not really easy to translate the lyrics from the recording but I guess these will be clear enough


I don’t want this,
I don’t want to fight with this woman who loves my husband
I came to help but what do I now?
What in God’s name am I doing here?

And after all…
I believe I will not loose him to her.
Because of this love back then, he will now have to choose.
She turns up here in person after all.
He was never really mine but all over again I still hope
That he knows and realizes that I can offer him more.
That not she but that I give him happiness in life
I still hope… I still hope he chooses for me.

He stole my heart, yes, the moment I saw him
with that gentle face and that sad smile.
How lost he was, how alone he was,
I knew I love that man - Forever.
But still…that I share in that dream that could drag him along at night.
When I saw her, I understood everything completely.
Do I conquer that dark past after all? Do I win his heart again?
Do i win in the end after all? Does he still compares her love with me?
Does he after all feel that he belongs to that woman who really loves him,
who through thick and thin shares his happiness and sadness?

My love… If I risk everything, yes everything, will I win after all?
It is up to him, will he choose for me? Will I win after all? Will our love conquer in the end after all?

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Dave19 2012-01-23 18:38:02


This is my translation:

I don’t want this,
I don’t want to fight with this woman who loves my husband
I came here to help.....what do I do now?
What in God's name am I doing here?

But still/Maybe
I have hope that I won't lose him to her
Because of the love from back then he has to make a choice now
She appears just like that/in the flesh
And maybe, he was never really mine......

But time and again I still hope that he knows and realizes that I can give him more...
That it's not her, but me that can give him happiness in life
I still have hope that he chooses me

He stole my heart from the moment I saw him. With his gentle/sweet face and that sad/sorrowful smile
How displaced he was, how alone he was
I knew I will love this man/hold on to this man forever

But still, I was part of that dream that used to carry him away at night
When I saw her I understood everything completely for the first time
Can I overcome that dark past and maybe can I win his heart anew

Am I the one who will win it eventually?
Is he comparing her love to me?
Does he feel maybe.......that he belongs to the woman that truly cherishes/loves him
The woman that shares his laughter and tears through thick and thin

my love
If I risk absolutely everything
It's up to him but I still want to
Can our love still/maybe overcome all of this in the end
























New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2012-01-23 18:54:47


Thanks to both of you!

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by EricMontreal22 2012-01-24 02:28:59


I really appreciate you posting this Dave--I admit all the changes to Miss Saigon fascinate me. (I actually have never gotten them straight - didn't early editions of the London recording actually have some different music that was re-recorded later? I have only seen the show once--its closing week in 1999 in London and remember being surprised by some other changes to the cast album I had listened to growing up for nearly 10 minutes but can't remember them at all now or what edning they used by then--What's the aforementioned "Too Much for One Heart"?).

Anyway in this examplke--without having seen this new song in performance or English, I still have to side with those who find Now That I've Seen Her more appropriate. While I think the original "Her or Me" is ridiculously unsympathetic for Ellen--and while I have always loved the character and understood her, I think, I agree with those who say she's already a character many audiences might find hard to sympathize with and that song didn't help) I think Now That I've Seen Her is a good compromise.

Musically, I think it's more driving and better suited to that late in the show. But lyrically (and MS's lyrics have never been my favorite or particularly subtle I admit, though I prefer them to Kretzmer's awful Miz ones) I think it makes sense that Ellen WOULDN"T be as hopeful as this new song makes her seem. Some might complain that she repeats Now That I've Seen Her too much, but to me it makes sense that she has a sudden reaction like that when the reality of the situation suddenly hits. I hope the option will remain to use the song.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by EponineAmneris 2012-01-24 08:16:49


I am so glad to see this show getting new life

I truly love this melody, but I hope at some point the original team translates it in English for future revivals/productions. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention and for the translations

I always loved Ellen, so when my friends I "performed" it in my living room, no one fought because I *wanted* to be Ellen... and GiGi Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Kim



New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by theatrepaul 2012-01-24 10:37:48


EricMontreal, yes "Now That I've seen her" originally started out with some diffrent lyrics and was called "Her or Me". Claire Moore sings that version on the original London cast recording and it was in the show for (I think) around a year before it was changed for "Now That I've Seen Her" which was included along with other changes including an amended ending. Interesting that they've changed the song again. I'd love to see this new production - there have been rumours of a new London production in 2013.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by eatlasagna 2012-01-24 11:02:19


Ellen says "now that I've seen her" four times in the song... how is that too much? it's not she's saying "the american dream" every two seconds!

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Dave19 2012-01-24 11:40:58


It's just that "Now that I've seen her" is basically the whole message of the song. I've seen her. She's here. I heard her voice. I saw here eyes. I've seen her. It hurts.

The new song "maybe" has much more depth and different angles.
"When I saw her I understood everything completely" is just one sentence in the new song. I just love the part "And maybe, he was never really mine...." and "does he compare her love to me", all the doubts Ellen has. "Does he feel maybe.......that he belongs to the woman that truly cherishes/loves him
The woman that shares his laughter and tears through thick and thin".

By the way, the song was written in English but translated to Dutch for this production.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by SporkGoddess 2012-01-24 15:30:42


The repetition in "Now That I've Seen Her" makes sense though because she's in shock. She's dwelling on this new event. She's not really in the place to go "oh, well, maybe he'll still choose me in the end!" yet. It's a process song, a "what is she thinking" song, not a story-driving song.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by jacco 2012-01-24 16:14:33


Even with the Broadway changes I always missed Miss Moore's fascinating rendition of lines I actually sing in my bathroom:

"I know what PAAAIIIN her life today must be..
But if it all comes down to HER and ME"....

Always gets me....
SO GOOD!

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Dave19 2012-01-24 18:04:19


I agree that Claire sang that beautifully and I think she has one of the best voices in the world. Unfortunately no Ellen I ever saw live came close to that quality.

About the lyrics, "Her or me" actually was the 2nd set of lyrics for the song. In the video from the making of Miss Saigon there is footage of Claire rehearsing the song and there it's called "Who says it hurts".

It goes something like this;

"Who says it hurts
It's just like waking up
I don't hate this girl even so
Who says it hurts
.........(can someone help me out here)
Maybe I won't ever really know"


AND before that there were the wonderful Miss Saigon demo's with another song for Ellen, called "What if he doesn't come back home tonight". I wish someone could post that song here or on youtube.




New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by EricMontreal22 2012-01-24 19:47:44


TheatrePaul do you know when the cast album was changed from Me or Her to Now That I've Seen her? Wiki and the usual sources don't mention this--I got the casette tape originally I suppose around 90/91 and it had been changed by then--were other things changed on the recording?

I have to say I agree with others who say Now That I've Seen Her represents the shock perfectly. I really don't buy that Ellen in three minutes would move on to a hopeful more level headed take on the situation.

I admit, more often than not I tend to think creators shouldn't change their shows, and I tend to think more often than not they either fix something that doesn't need to be fixed or are worst--though like I said I like Now That I've Seen Her far more than Her or Me (and with other shows I've liked some changes--like Sondheim adding Our Little World to ITW, though I think Sondheim shows are often big examples of shows changed for the worse). Yet I get that one thing people in theatre love is they can continuously "improve" their works (which is much harder to do with film or even novels--unless you're George Lucas...), and I grant that it's their prerogative.

(I often wonder if these works are still performed in 50-100 years when the rights are free, if there will be debates about which versions to use, the way there are for some classic plays, operas, ballets, etc...)

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by eatlasagna 2012-01-24 19:53:44


it's so interesting listening to Ellen's part change... listening to the first preview in London, Ellen had a lot more lines and her confrontation scene after Her or Me had a lot more to it... always interesting to hear... that and John's line is really dumb that it makes the audience laugh (basically he just sings, hey guys we have a problem" sounds so.. odd)! haha...

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Pauly3 2012-01-24 20:44:12


"What's the aforementioned "Too Much for One Heart"?"

"Too Much For One Heart" was never used in the production. It was what became "Please". The creative team did not think the original version moved the story along, so the original song was replaced with "Please".

The original version was a great song though:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHmsJLzNgDY&fmt=18

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by jsg03jd 2012-01-24 23:47:09


I think "Her Or Me/Now That I've Seen Her" was just fine. It had that epic quality to it similar to Mother's song "Back to Before" in "Ragtime." I'm not sure how I feel about this new solo for Ellen.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by theatrepaul 2012-01-25 07:58:58


EricMontreal - Im not sure exactly when it changed. I got the cast recording soon after the show opened, certainly within the first year of performance. I think various changes were incorporated into the show including the change to this song when the first cast change happened which was probably about a year into the run. Not sure whether Claire Moore ever sung it as Now That Ive Seen Her or if Ruthie Henshall who replaced her was first to sing it with those lyrics.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Dave19 2012-01-25 15:56:36


It was changed within the first year, before the London cast highlights CD came out, because Claire re-recorded the vocals over the instrumental track for that CD. That's why there are 2 versions sung by Claire Moore on CD. (London double CD and London Highlights CD).

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Dave19 2012-01-25 16:01:19


So to make things a little clearer, there were 6 different versions/songs for Ellen.

1. What if he doesn't come back home tonight
2. Who says it hurts
3. Her or me
4. Now that I've seen her (still with the verses "there are days when your life clouds over, and the world gets so dark, etc)
5. Now that I've seen her (with other verses, like "It's all right when I just imagine, there's no face, she's not real, etc)
6. Maybe


I personally like the first "now that I've seen her" better than the second one.

But I like "Maybe" the best.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by EricMontreal22 2012-01-26 23:22:20


OK, I'm now completely confused about the recording issue (Pauly I appreciate you linking me to Too Much For One Heart--thanks!).

So did Claire record the Now That I've Seen Her version for the highlights recording and soon after it was incorporated into the complete London 2 disc/casette recording?

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Dave19 2012-03-24 07:02:37


I just read this on Twitter:

Stephanie J Block debuts "Maybe" a new song for Miss Saigon beautifully after rehearsing it for just a day. #amazing

This was at the Boublil and Schonberg concert in Dallas last night. Are there any clips available yet?

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by LizzieCurry 2012-03-24 09:58:59


SIGH.

Here's a link to that tweet.

https://twitter.com/insideaacenter/status/183365358651056130

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Dave19 2012-03-24 10:44:19


Why SIGH?

I just ask if there's anyone who has clips of this performance. Do you have an answer?

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by BWNUT 2012-03-24 19:56:36


Saw the Dallas show. SJBLock made the sign of the cross before singing this song which made the audience laugh out loud . It worked cause she nailed it and stopped the show .
My impression is it's longer than its previous incarnations. I thought the words are more lyrical and poetic. They're less angry, more sentimental and, as others have pointed out , hopeful. The melody is not as memorable imo because it did not stay in my head as Her or Me and Now That did .
Related tidbits : Lea Salonga announced that a Miss Saigon world tour is happening in 2013. Brian Stokes Mitchell, if I heard it right , announced that Peter Lockyer will take over the role of Jean Valjean in the 25th anniversaryth tour .



New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Phantom of London 2012-03-24 20:16:09


'New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon'

Why god why!

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by latitudex1 2012-03-24 21:11:37


http://youtu.be/yQ8tuBJ4bLE

Stephanie J. Block's rendition. I feel like "Now That I've Seen Her" is truer to the moment, but this song should get the audience to like Ellen. So, mission accomplished? Of course, that would hinge on whether or not the audience falls asleep in the middle of it.

And the song does sound better with a belt. Huh.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by LizzieCurry 2012-03-24 23:26:14


Why SIGH?


Because people copy and paste tweets without pasting in the URL! It's not that hard!

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by eatlasagna 2012-03-25 02:24:03


i like it but i miss the catchy melody of NOW THAT I'VE SEEN HER

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by HeyMrMusic 2012-03-25 02:40:01


I don't think it's a bad song, but "Now That I've Seen Her" is a much stronger song in my opinion. I don't think "Maybe" gets all that exciting until the end.

Good luck trying to find someone sing this consistently eight times a week.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by theminutepast 2012-03-25 13:42:57


"Now That I've Seen Her" has always been one of my favorite songs from Miss Saigon. I agree with everyone else who says that the song captures Ellen's raw feelings and reaction to the hotel scene.

This new song, "Maybe," bothers me on so many levels. First, it doesn't have a melody that stays with you. That song was completely unmemorable except for the repetitive, screeching word "maybe." Second, the lyrics are too complex for the moment right after the hotel scene. Ellen should be upset that Chris didn't confide in her about Kim, but honestly, Ellen doesn't have that much reason to suspect Chris is getting ready to leave her. Ellen's song should be about Chris' betrayal in not telling her about Kim and about her immediate hurt upon meeting Kim. Finally, this song just doesn't fit with the rest of the musical. The sounds and melodies I associate with Miss Saigon are not reflected in "Maybe" at all.

Ultimately, Ellen is an unimportant character. It doesn't really matter what the audience thinks of her - if they sympathize with her or feel she's the other woman. Aren't we supposed to feel both, anyway? Aren't we supposed to feel conflicted about her and the way the story ends?

On top of that, I don't see any reason for changing Ellen's song when her story is completely wiped from our minds not fifteen minutes after her solo number when Kim kills herself. I don't see why Boublil and Schonberg have been obsessed with this song all these years. I also don't understand why they continue to tinker with their best musicals when it's apparent their new arrangements are terrible. (I still have not forgiven them for hollowing out some of the best tunes in Les Miserables.)




New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Dave19 2012-03-25 14:38:01


"the lyrics are too complex for the moment right after the hotel scene. Ellen should be upset that Chris didn't confide in her about Kim, but honestly, Ellen doesn't have that much reason to suspect Chris is getting ready to leave her. Ellen's song should be about Chris' betrayal in not telling her about Kim and about her immediate hurt upon meeting Kim."

That's what I though when I first heard the song too.
A few weeks later I actually watched the show with the song in it. It is a match made in heaven. Everything you doubt now will fall in to place then. Only then, you will see what I mean.
It's perfect and that surprised me too.


"Ultimately, Ellen is an unimportant character. It doesn't really matter what the audience thinks of her - if they sympathize with her or feel she's the other woman. Aren't we supposed to feel both, anyway? Aren't we supposed to feel conflicted about her and the way the story ends?"

What? Ellen is a very important character. Without her there would be no story because Chris and Kim could just live happily ever after together. But I can see the logic in this. Your opinon is based on the show with the old number, and that's why you think of Ellen that way.


Also, Ellen knew about Kim for days/weeks now, everything is slowly getting clearer for her. Chris' behaviour from the past few years, etc. She has very good reasons to be insecure. They have been traveling for days, maybe planning this trip for weeks. She knew she was going to meet Kim. She thought about all this before. With that in mind "Now that I've seen her" is actually quite silly. After all this time, and this trip to Bangkok there are more thoughts going through her mind than just "I just realized that Kim exists". She already knew that. The audience was ready for her next thoughts even before that song started. We've seen the panic reaction in the screaming in the scene before.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by jsg03jd 2012-03-25 17:58:05


"Maybe" not.

I don't like the melody - it sounds like either it was a reject from "Martin Guerre" or any number of Frank Wildhorn tunes. I still don't see the need to eliminate "Now That I've Seen Her" at this point in time.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Wildcard 2012-04-05 19:58:14


Since Ellen only has 1.5 songs in the show, I like that the new song has more impact. I think it's beautiful. I hope they record the 2013 revival.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Babies 2012-12-24 01:52:29


While I agree completely that Ellen is a pivotal character -- and by that I mean that Kim would not have a reason to shoot herself if Ellen wasn't an impossible obstacle -- there are some very significant reasons why changing the song also changes the nature of her entire character, and also lessens the need for Kim to commit suicide. One might say the new song is about hope. Well, guess what? The whole show is about hope -- from Kim's perspective and from the Engineer's perspective. In fact, we've already heard Ellen hope and "still believe" that one day Chris will confide in her and they'll be happy. Do we need her to reprise that? We don't need to be inundated with more hope from someone we don't particularly NEED to sympathize with. We can... if we want... it's certainly a valid direction to take Ellen in... and it's a lovely song... but to me, it's all much more tragic when Ellen presents herself as a woman who is not going to back down, because let's face it: if someone came along and knocked on your door and claimed to be married to your husband or wife, you'd be like "F you. I don't care who you are or were, now leave."

Simply put, everyone can't be a protagonist in the story. The only antagonist we have is Thuy and he bows out before the first act is done. I've always found it particularly interesting that Ellen, who is completely innocent, becomes an antagonist simply by virtue of being married to the man that Kim loves. She takes an honest position and says: "Look, we'd like to help, but he's my man and that's not going to change. It sucks that I've seen you face to face and you're not just a name I can discard... but tough sh**." It does paint her as a bit of a b*tch, but it also harkens back to the concept of war and media established in Bui-Doi, which is that if we don't see it, we don't care. They're just nameless faceless people... until you discover that they're real. And so Ellen's battle becomes hating this woman even though she's flesh and blood and suffering. It's not her moment to believe that love will triumph, it's a moment to doubt… and question... and hate... and to hate that she hates at all, but she can't help it. We need a character like that to balance out the ones who are not like that at all. It's unrealistic to think that everyone wants to do the right thing without hesitation. In fact, self preservation is usually our first reaction. That's real.

You wouldn't stop and pause and reflect on your life two seconds after confronting your husband's secret first wife. You'd be like "whaaat the eff just happened here, and how do I even begin process this?!" Robbing her of that small moment to play a proper antagonist puts her on the same playing field as Kim, and though in a way they are every much in the same boat, it's too one dimensional to have all your characters with the same motivation. That's just bad storytelling. It's much more powerful to have people coming from all angles. I mean, do we need an American copy of Kim? No. We need someone who is driven by the same cause but reacts differently. Let's look at the characters:

Kim - wants to be reunited with Chris, but most of all is willing to sacrifice everything so that her child will have a better life with his father.

Chris - wanted to give Kim a better life, failed, and eventually tries to find her so he can be reunited with his child.

Engineer - wants to flee to American to make a better life for himself. Helping Kim and Tam is a step which only benefits his endgame, though I prefer to think that he cares... he just doesn't really show it or realize it until it's too late... in that final moment when he picks up Tam and shields him from the sight of his mother's body.

John - wants to do right where they went wrong during the war and help the children left behind

Thuy - wants the bride (Kim) he was promised to maintain his family's honor

Ellen - wants to keep her husband. Period.

Perfect tragedy. What we need is for her to make her intentions clear because she hasn't done that yet. We don't need to know how she met Chris; that was already established in "Please" when John explains to Kim that Chris fell apart after the war. It's also explained to Kim during "Room 317" and by Chris during "Confrontation" when he tells Ellen how he felt during and after the war. We know he was down and giving up, and then he met Ellen and his life began again. We know he's torn about what to do next. We know that John wants them to work this out and he thinks they're doing a piss poor job of it. We know that the Engineer is getting what he wants. We know what Kim wants... and that only leaves Ellen to lay her cards on the table.

Everyone in between Kim and Ellen can do whatever they want, but Ellen is in direct conflict with Kim, and her reaction will ultimately cause Kim to kill herself. If Ellen makes us sympathize with her, the impact of what she's done is not so powerful when Kim pulls that trigger. Because the moment she does, you realize that if only Ellen had received her differently, Kim would not have left in such despair. Think of it like yelling at someone, and you then you sit around thinking negatively about them, stewing in your anger… and then you find out they're dead before you could resolve the argument. You would feel so guilty and wish you'd done things differently. If, however, you held out hope that it's not a big deal and everything will be alright, and the person dies, the guilt factor is not as deep and scarring. This, to me, changes the entire ending for Ellen. I like to think that she walks into that room and sees Kim on the floor and thinks "Oh god, what have I done?" You see, we don't have to sympathize with her BEFORE that moment because it becomes a tragedy for her as well the very moment she sees Kim dying in her husband's arms. When we turn her into someone who is more likeable and more patient instead of considering a very brutally honest ultimatum, we rob Ellen of some of that guilt that she deserves. It also makes Kim's decision less tragic and suddenly needless. I don't want to look at Kim dying on the floor and think "Aww, you should have waited it out to see what happens." I want to recognize that she was willing to pay the ultimate price for her child and that she had no other choice. Thus, Ellen shouldn't be telling us that she's going to wait it out and see what happens, because she believes in Chris… she should be declaring war on Kim's intentions. And that makes it all the more ironic -- that this story should start with Chris wanting to save Kim from a war, and that Kim goes through all this, only to end up in a war of love that results in her death.

One of the reasons they keep toying with this, unfortunately, is probably because of the race-related backlash that always comes from this show. There are always those who detest the story because they feel it depicts the Vietnamese as seedy prostitutes and savages and hustlers, while the Americans are portrayed as pompous do-gooders who don't really care about the Asians, and all the while the Asians need to be "saved" by becoming Americanized. Madama Butterfly is consistently criticized in the same manner. Ellen is tagged as a cold-hearted American b*itch who needs to be given more to sympathize with, simply because there are no white people in the story to sympathize with at all. You have a predominantly Asian cast, you have a soldier who left a knocked up girl behind and then moved on, you have his stone-cold wife, and all the white people have no intention of actually helping in a manner worth celebrating. I think the story is great the way it is because it leaves everyone with their hands tied and no happy ending in sight. So does everyone else I know, whether they're white or Asian or any-American. But the voices of dissent carry louder than the voices of approval.

They should have left "Her or Me/Now That I've Seen Her" alone. They also should have left "The Sacred Bird" alone instead of reprising "This is the Hour" or inserting "Little God of My Heart". Why they do this is truly beyond me. Removing "I Saw Him Once" from Les Mis was another brutal decision that robbed Cosette of her only defining moment.

And now that all that is out of the way, I challenge you all to listen to the new song again and try to figure out where the tune was taken from, because the FIRST time I heard it, I was humming along in perfect unison. I knew every note before she sang it. Either it WAS taken from Martin Guerre, or it's borrowed from another piece. I literally already knew it as she was singing it, but I've never heard it before. It's driving me nuts.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by theminutepast 2012-12-24 09:15:50


What I meant is that Ellen is a mechanism in this story. We don't need to think too deeply about her situation. She's necessary to the story, though, of course.

I don't see any other possibilities for how a wife would react to meeting her husband's other wife he never told her about. I think "The Confrontation" is the natural way such a conversation would go. I never placed any blame on Ellen for Kim's decision to kill herself. I never really thought of it.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Fosse76 2012-12-25 01:54:42


Ellen specifically says to Kim that they will not take Tam: "Take a child from his mother, impossible Kim...but Kim your child needs you, Chris is married to me we want kids of our own." That tells Kim that the only way Ellen and Chris will take Tam is if she is dead. Her suicide is a direct result of what Ellen says to her about not taking Tam.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Dave19 2012-12-25 06:20:42


Yes, and in the next scene she tells Chris:

If it was only Tam I'd take him now, he is your son we'd make it work somehow.

Oops........

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by My Oh My 2012-12-25 06:46:54


^ When I first heard that part, which wasn't included on the OLC album, I thought Ellen was an a-hole.

But I quickly quit thinking that, even if she does say one thing to Kim and another to Chris. It just takes placing yourself in her very, very difficult and awkward position, and I think most would be like her...wanting to make good with the hubby, but finding Kim's eagerness in imposing a child that isn't her's onto their lives frightening enough to make her blurt out in the heat of the moment, "Chris is married to ME. We want kids of our OWN!"

Of course, it isn't happening to us, and we're just watching. It's very easy to decide what the best thing for all involved is, and apply it like nothing. Ellen was already such a good sport and understanding enough to remain with her husband through it all, even choosing to fly out with him to be of "help." I'm sure she fully intended to do just that, but as she says, "I didn't come here to meet a girl who loves my husband! I came here to help, but what do I do? Now, after this? What do I...?"

She sort of knows she loused things up, but she wasn't told the full story, causing Kim and she to end up revealing to each other that information in what is probably one of the most awkwardly heart wrenching situations anyone could ever find themselves in.

Poor Ellen and poor Kim. =(

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by theminutepast 2012-12-25 12:20:46


Fosse, I get how someone could blame Ellen for Kim's decision to kill herself. I just never placed that blame because Ellen's responding honestly and from a place of shock at what she's just learned about her husband. If anything, I blame Kim for not waiting to meet with Chris and hear from him directly. But then again, there could be reasons for why she wouldn't do that, and it doesn't work in the narrative to have a chat between Chris and Kim.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Dave19 2012-12-25 18:07:28


"Ellen's responding honestly and from a place of shock at what she's just learned about her husband"

Ellen already knows that Kim has a child from Chris and that's why they went to Bangkok in the first place.

The only surprise is that Kim tells her that she wants them to take Tam. It's actually strange that Ellen and Chris never talked about the possibility of taking Tam with them or not, as they found out about it weeks before while they still were in the USA.

Kim's idea should be no surprise, especially not because John works for the "Bui Doi" foundation and they have the purpose to reunite the children with their fathers and that's what they are doing by going to Bangkok.

If Ellen and Chris just had a chat on the airplane going there, like "If it's only Tam we could take him, but I don't want to have Kim near", then she could have told Kim that in the hotelroom, instead of being so surprised.

The only one that should be surprised is Kim, who finds out that Chris has another wife all of a sudden. So I think Ellen should have been better prepared and not so determined to scream "NO" to Kim's idea immediately. It would have been better if she said "I understand it's difficult but Chris is married to me now. Let's just wait for Chris and have a talk with all of us and see what we can do with Tam, because Chris and I talked about it of course and we are willing to take Tam".









New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by SporkGoddess 2012-12-25 18:38:31


Ellen also finds out that Kim meant much more to Chris than he had told her.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by My Oh My 2012-12-25 19:06:49


Dave, I think you're severely underestimating Ellen's experience. Everyone could see Kim's and sympathize, but I've always understood Ellen's just as much and feel it may not be as desperate, but still heart breaking.

She has been dealing with Chris' repeated nightmares and his calling out Kim's name. She has no way of knowing if it's out of love for her or what. She has all but seconds to connect the dots and many, many questions come up at the same time. And on a much lesser, but definitely not negligible, level is Kim isn't some nasty ho that Ellen knows Chris wouldn't go for and she feels a bit threatened in that way too. Throw in Kim's absolute heartbreak and obvious still being in love with Chris, AND her own shock at thinking Chris has merely married another women while still being married to her, and I think Ellen deserves a big, warm, cuddly hug, awwww.



New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by Dave19 2012-12-27 10:41:41


Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Ellen, I love the character and feel very much sympathy for her.

It just seems silly to me that Chris and Ellen were going to Bangkok to meet Tam and never spoke about any consequences together. I also hate it when someone screams something in full conviction, and 5 minutes later, to her own husband declares the complete opposite.

But that might be a hypocritical thing you see in many relationships.

But if I were Ellen, I would never say to Chris "We could take Tam, we could make it work somehow" (only if I mean it), and realize that 5 minutes ago I was screaming the opposite, and if I did happen to make that mistake, I would say, let's go to Kim and tell her that news NOW.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by JoanMBFan 2013-10-22 22:05:11


Apparently B&S have just written a new song for Miss Saigon called "Leave Him?".

It will make its world premiere in China next month for the Do You Hear The People Sing concerts with Michael Ball and Lea Salonga, from irish producer Enda Markey. I think Aussie singer Amanda Harrison (once the Australian Ellen) will be the first person to sing it.

Not sure if this replaces Maybe or is slotted in a new place in the show?

https://www.facebook.com/thepeoplesing

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by BrassBandBoy 2013-10-23 02:19:17


Judging by that screenshot of the score, this IS "Maybe" ("Toch Nog" in the Dutch revival), only with a different title.

Guess they just changed the lyrics of the song...

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by jsg03jd 2013-10-23 09:34:19


Ugh. Lyrical changes will not fix this. "Maybe" is just a very forgettable melody. The Signature Theatre revival used it and even though the young lady playing Ellen ended the song on a gratuitous high note, at the two performances I attended, the reception was very lukewarm - no one applauded the first time I saw the show.

The mini touring production I caught at The Bushnell retained "Now That I've Seen Her," which itself went through several lyric changes, but it's still a better melody and works just as well today for Ellen as it did for the original productions in London and New York.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by KathyNYC2 2013-10-23 09:41:58


I think the best productions of Miss Saigon are when Kim and Ellen are both sympathetic characters who are both victims of a meaningless war. The only real bad guy should be war.

I am not sure this new song will accomplish this....

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by DottieD'Luscia 2013-10-23 09:52:24


I heard Ellen's new song, Maybe, during the recent production at Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. It was whiney, screechy, and dull, and served absolutely no purpose.

New song for Ellen in Miss Saigon - Translation
Posted by BwayGeek2 2013-10-23 11:07:39


I was quite satisfied with "Now That I've Seen Her" after they replaced "Her or Me" because I thought it made Ellen more likeable.