Comscore

re: Miss Saigon original finale

phantom8019 Profile Photo
phantom8019
Featured Actor
joined:12/6/05
Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 10/14/07 at 03:54pm
I have seen a few productions of Miss Saigon, and I know it has been reworked a bit since the original London production (the recording of which, aside from Salonga and Pryce, is acted pretty terribly). Anyway, in the original production, it seems there is a rather loud reprise of American Dream right before Kim kills herself. I guess this was reworked for subsequent productions. Anyway, can someone tell me what was going on during this reprise and how it was staged? Thanks. It seems pretty awkward...
COOOOLkid
Broadway Legend
joined:8/15/05
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 10/14/07 at 04:00pm
I'm sure it was staged much similar to the revised finale, but with more focus/lights on the Engineer, Ellen, Tam, and Chris rather than Kim.

I could be wrong though.
"Hey, you! You're the worst thing to happen to musical theatre since Andrew Lloyd Webber!" -Family Guy
dramarama2 Profile Photo
dramarama2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/6/07
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 10/14/07 at 04:08pm
I believe that The engineer sang the reprise (as if to the audience) as Ellen and Chris walked away with Tam. This was interrupted by the gunshot. Hardly different to the current version.
A little known fact is that in the original screenplay, Pan's Labyrinth was Pan's FLAByrinth. Hmmmmmmm...glad they changed it.
jsg03jd Profile Photo
jsg03jd
Broadway Star
joined:11/24/04
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 10/14/07 at 06:00pm
Really? I didn't see the 1989 opening in Drury Lane so I always wondered what happened at that point in THE SACRED BIRD. The OLC has a really loud reprise of THE AMERICAN DREAM but no vocals...

I also read somewhere that the original staging of Kim's death was more graphic than what ended up in Broadway. Just exactly what that means, I don't know.
musicaltheater1 Profile Photo
musicaltheater1
Broadway Legend
joined:10/19/05
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 10/14/07 at 07:26pm
There were 3 versions of the Finale:

1. 1989 - The first one that was staged in London was called "Sacred Bird" where Kim was seated on the bed singing the farewell song to Tam (recorded in the OLC CD). Behind her was the altar. The staging of the suicide scene was similar to the revised versions.

2. 1991 - The second version was called "Little God of My Heart" which replaced "Sacred Bird." Change was made because management thought it gave away the ending. It was incorporated in the London, Toronto & Japanese productions (recorded in the Japanese Cast Recording only) and the first few weeks of the Broadway production when it opened in 1991. The staging is similar minus the bed. Kim rans behind the curtain when Chris arrives and kills herself.

3. The final and current version is simply called "Finale." It was changed due to time constraints (I heard "Little God of My Heart" also gave away too much of the ending and the score deviated from the common theme.). This version was incorporated simultaneously in all other productions and recorded in the CSR.





"I love acting. It is so much more real than life." Oscar Wilde
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." Aldous Huxley
Updated On: 10/14/07 at 07:26 PM
EponineAmneris Profile Photo
EponineAmneris
Broadway Legend
joined:5/25/06
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 10/14/07 at 09:38pm
I have seen/heard all versions discussed, but I seem to think the last and current one works the best.
"TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD"- LES MISERABLES--- "THERE'S A SPECIAL KIND OF PEOPLE KNOWN AS SHOW PEOPLE... WE'RE BORN EVERY NIGHT AT HALF HOUR CALL!"--- CURTAINS
musicaltheater1 Profile Photo
musicaltheater1
Broadway Legend
joined:10/19/05
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 10/14/07 at 09:45pm
The current Finale works great with the final version. I personally prefer the original "Sacred Bird" (sans orig. staging/set) as it brought so much more emotion to Kim's farewell to Tam. Good thing that song was preserved in the OLC recording.
"I love acting. It is so much more real than life." Oscar Wilde
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." Aldous Huxley
Updated On: 10/14/07 at 09:45 PM
jsg03jd Profile Photo
jsg03jd
Broadway Star
joined:11/24/04
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 10/14/07 at 11:05pm
I like the original OLC ending song too. It just makes more sense musically and emotionally for Kim to reprise I'D GIVE MY LIFE FOR YOU as it formed a symmetry with the Act 1 finale. I never did quite understand why the change was necessary.

But LITTLE GOD OF MY HEART was in the Broadway production longer than a few weeks. I don't think the last version of the FINALE went into the show until circa 1994 or earlier. In fact, Lea Salonga only finally got to sing this version when she returned to the Broadway production in January 1999 thereby making her the only Kim in all of the MISS SAIGON productions who had sung all of the versions of the show's finale. From Salonga's almost year long run at the Broadway Theatre after MISS SAIGON opened, LITTLE GOD OF MY HEART was the final song for Kim. I did like the last line Kim sings to Tam in this version: "Press your little hands to my face, and bless my journey."

And LITTLE GOD OF MY HEART has melodic lines that were preserved in the last version of the FINALE heard on the CSR.
SporkGoddess Profile Photo
SporkGoddess
Broadway Legend
joined:7/27/05
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 10/14/07 at 11:13pm
I like "Sacred Bird" because it was almost like an aria, but the "Finale" has a gorgeous, heartwrenching melody that just kills me everytime.
Jimmy, what are you doing here in the middle of the night? It's almost 9 PM!
LadyRosecoe Profile Photo
LadyRosecoe
Broadway Star
joined:8/4/07
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 10/15/07 at 12:12am
I also believe that the original "Sacred Bird" was closer to the source material. Could anyone back this up? I've listened to the aria from Madam Butterfly and I could have sworn the two sounded similar.
SporkGoddess Profile Photo
SporkGoddess
Broadway Legend
joined:7/27/05
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 10/15/07 at 12:16am
Maybe a little, now that I listen to it. "Sacred Bird" was more calm and soft though, whereas "Tu! Tu! Piccolo iddio" is more frantic and passionate. Both have that dramatic buildup at the end though.

Mind you that I'm not analyzing this from a theory standpoint.
Jimmy, what are you doing here in the middle of the night? It's almost 9 PM!
LizzieCurry Profile Photo
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 10/15/07 at 12:19am
Unfortunately, the only legit recording of Little God of My Heart is on the Japanese cast recording and in pieces of the "making of" special from the Toronto production. I think it stayed in until at least mid-1995, because that was the first time I saw the show and I seem to remember the "This is the Hour" reprise version of the finale was considered newish at the time.
"Don't patronize me, alright?" - BroadwayStar4
jsg03jd Profile Photo
jsg03jd
Broadway Star
joined:11/24/04
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 7/19/09 at 07:17am
The music for LITTLE GOD OF MY HEART was a little jarring the first time I saw the show because its melody was nowhere to be heard in Act 1, and then suddenly, it became the denouement of MISS SAIGON in Act 2.

At least with the last version of the FINALE, the melody was recognizable from Act 1's THIS IS THE HOUR.

I still prefer SACRED BIRD musically and structurally for the show.

Quick question: The Japanese cast recording of MISS SAIGON is just as complete as the English Symphonic version, right? The only differences being the melody of LITTLE GOD OF MY HEART appearing in the Entr'acte and the same song replacing SACRED BIRD, correct?
StageManager2 Profile Photo
StageManager2
Broadway Legend
joined:10/21/05
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 7/19/09 at 07:33am
I prefer "Sacred Bird," too. The short reprise of "I'd Give My Life For YOu" works better for the finale, IMO. As jsg03jd noted, it forms a symmetry with the first act finale. Then, Kim was figuratively saying, "I'll do whatever it takes for you" and in the aforementioned reprise she literally means, "I'll kill myself for you."
Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae
Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra
Salve, Salve Regina
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Eva
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
O clemens O pia
SporkGoddess Profile Photo
SporkGoddess
Broadway Legend
joined:7/27/05
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 7/19/09 at 01:04pm
Yeah, I also think their reason for removing it is pretty dumb. I mean, the reference to the phoenix or whatever is too stereotypical, but the rest of the musical that mentions paper dragons etc is totally fine?
Jimmy, what are you doing here in the middle of the night? It's almost 9 PM!
eatlasagna
Broadway Legend
joined:10/6/04
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 7/19/09 at 02:05pm
yeah... Little God of My Heart stayed with the show until the 1st National Tour opened in 1993... so it was performed on Broadway for several years...

also there is a video of Sacred Bird online and it's basically the same thing.. during American Dream reprise it's different... instead of the Engineer coming in and taking Tam, Kim just goes behind curtain and the Engineer comes in and sees Tam and takes him and the little reunion happens and then the gunshot... basically the same... it's also interesting because that finale went through changes as well... i have several audios of the early London production and the musical interludes of that number change in several of the audios i have... this show went through so much changes AFTER the official opening!!!

a little off... although i can see why they cut it, i really like listening to Kim's little aria after she kills Thuy... does anyone know how long that was kept in the show for in London?
COOOOLkid
Broadway Legend
joined:8/15/05
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 7/19/09 at 06:15pm
The Original Japanese recording is actually recorded from a live performance, so I believe it includes the entire show. (you can hear the applause, footsteps in the opening, etc)
"Hey, you! You're the worst thing to happen to musical theatre since Andrew Lloyd Webber!" -Family Guy
COOOOLkid
Broadway Legend
joined:8/15/05
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 7/19/09 at 06:35pm
Just for those who wants to hear the second version of the finale


..
"Hey, you! You're the worst thing to happen to musical theatre since Andrew Lloyd Webber!" -Family Guy
jsg03jd Profile Photo
jsg03jd
Broadway Star
joined:11/24/04
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 7/19/09 at 07:39pm
"a little off... although i can see why they cut it, i really like listening to Kim's little aria after she kills Thuy... does anyone know how long that was kept in the show for in London?"

I always wondered that myself... It's referenced in the MAKING OF MISS SAIGON book, but I have no idea whether this was part of the London production after it was frozen then later removed or whether it was taken out in previews...

Thanks for the response on the Japanese recording question. Had no idea that it was a live recording. And the Kim who is on that CD has sadly passed away, right?
eatlasagna
Broadway Legend
joined:10/6/04
re: Miss Saigon original finale
Posted: 7/19/09 at 07:52pm
yeah.. Minako Honda passed away from cancer... there's a clip of a special on her death on youtube... really ad...

the aria was in the show for a while but i don't know how long... definitely after it opened because i have different audios of KIMS singing it... i'm going to assume two years or so
darkfacegood Profile Photo
darkfacegood
Chorus Member
joined:7/5/08