Review Roudup: MISS SAIGON's National Tour Launches in Rhode Island
The North American tour of Miss Saigon launched this week at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, RI. For announced tour dates and to see a video preview, please visit www.miss-saigon.com.
Red Concepción leads the tour as 'the Engineer' direct from the current U.K. Tour, Emily Bautista plays 'Kim' having also performed the role in the most recent Broadway production and Anthony Festa plays 'Chris.' Joining them will be Stacie Bono as 'Ellen,' J. Daughtry as 'John,' Jinwoo Jungas 'Thuy' and Christine Bunuan as 'Gigi.' At certain performances, the role of 'Kim' will be played by Myra Molloy.
They are joined by Joven Calloway, Alexander Aguilar, Erick Arenas, Eric Badiqué, Eymard Cabling, Kai An Chee, Max Ehrlich, Julie Eicher, Matthew Dailey, Noah Gouldsmith, Adam Kaokept, Madoka Koguchi, Nancy Lam, Brian Shimasaki Liebson,Jonelle Margallo, Jackie Nguyen, Matthew Overberg, Emilio Ramos, Adam Roberts, Michael Russell, Paul Schwensen, Julius Sermonia, Emily Stillings, Tiffany Toh, Nicholas Walters, Michael Wordly and Anna-Lee Wright.
MISS SAIGON tells the story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim, who is orphaned by war and forced to work in a bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American G.I. named Chris, but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For 3 years, Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he's fathered a son. 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."
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Janine Weisman, NewportRI: Maybe it's because the final curtain falls with Festa's harrowing screams. If you know what happens at the end of "Madame Butterfly," then you know what happens at the end of "Miss Saigon." I was exhausted just from sitting through this show, which seems like a Spin Cycle that never lets up.
Andria Tieman, BroadwayWorld: MISS SAIGON is among Broadway's longest-running productions, and this new tour is definitely pulling out all the stops. Despite the effort and expense put into this production, it's hard to reconcile some of the more dated aspects of plot and underlying current of western exceptionalism. Still, the cast is very strong, and being aware of the issues with plot make this something that can be a historical learning experience, as well as an entertaining show.
Channing Gray, Providence Journal: And while I hate to use the term "chemistry," it just didn't exist between Kim and Chris, who apparently wedded in a ceremony that Chris seemed completely bewildered by. Yes, there was some slow dancing between them, but I never got the sense she devoted her life to him, like the heroine in Puccini's opera.
Ashlee Pham, JW Campus Herald: All in all, "Miss Saigon" is an excellent musical regarding its plot, music, the casts and storytelling techniques. The musical still remains some sensitive problems around the war dated today. People with different backgrounds and political views can have different lenses to see the musical. Moreover, although "Miss Saigon" is timeless, audience's perceptions in different period of time are not the same. Ultimately, it is still an entertainment product, people should watch and experience the musical themselves to have their own answers.
Jerry Boggs, South Coast Today: As with all the national touring shows PPAC brings to its stage, the sets were stellar. The helicopter descending on roof of the U.S. Embassy, loading up soldiers and taking off again, is jaw-dropping. Revolving fences pivot around the stage, cleverly changing the audience perspective from inside the gates of the embassy to outside.
Photo: Matthew Murphy