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Miss Saigon Question

Lauren2
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Miss Saigon Question#1
Posted: 12/14/19 at 12:46am
Hey guys! Just got out of Miss Saigon! It was great. Had a question about the helicopter. I know when it enters and leaves thats like a projection but does anyone know how it works on stage? Because the propellers spinning looked SO REAL! Just super curious.
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Miss Saigon Question#2
Posted: 12/16/19 at 8:39am

The helicopter itself is attached to an articulated arm that is mounted on the rear wall. There are no actual blades on the helicopter:

"It's not ideal to give actors buzz cuts while they're performing, so real rotors were out of the question. 'The original helicopter had tennis balls on ropes for its rotors,' Kinley says. The center piece would start to spin while the helicopter was offstage; by the time it arrived, the centrifugal force meant that the ropes were taut.

"'When we started on the new helicopter, we were looking at light solutions and laser solutions and all manner of effects,' Kinley says. 'We ended up going back to rope because it was physical' but would collapse for storage and not shred the scenery."

https://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/A-new-spin-on-the-Miss-Saigon-chopper-13484431.php

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Miss Saigon Question#3
Posted: 1/11/20 at 8:27pm

Anyone know what happened with the helicopter during the current San Antonio tour stop? A friend posted on Facebook that there was some sort of a "malfunction" at Wednesday's performance, with someone being injured.

As of the matinee performance today, they're using a projection.  I searched but didn't see anything mentioned on threads here.

 

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Miss Saigon Question#4
Posted: 1/13/20 at 8:29am

sbflyfan said: "Anyone know what happened with the helicopter during the current San Antonio tour stop? A friend posted on Facebook that there was some sort of a "malfunction" at Wednesday's performance, with someone being injured.

As of the matinee performance today, they're using a projection. I searched but didn't see anything mentioned on threads here.
"

Sorry to hear that someone was injured. 

I would be very disappointed if I bought tickets to Miss Saigon and there was no helicopter. Not because I think it's "gimmicky", but because I think seeing/hearing a physical helicopter is invaluable to the desired harrowing nature of that scene. 

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Miss Saigon Question#5
Posted: 1/13/20 at 11:49am

I agree, in the original production in particular, the sound of the helicopter was amazing.

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saxpower
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Miss Saigon Question#6
Posted: 1/13/20 at 12:29pm

When people complaint about the "high tech"/"gimmicky" nature of the use of the helicopter (either physically or as a projection) I wonder if they understand the importance of the scene.  It must be absolutely clear that Chris did everything he could not to abandon Kim- having him shown essentially dragged kicking and screaming onto the helicopter is really the clearest way to do this. 

I remember the sound in the original production was literally so loud my seat was shaking.  Someone actually wrote into Dear Playbill asking if the roof opened and an actual helicopter flew into the theater.  Obviously, the question shows a great deal of lack of common sense, but as done in the original production, it actually "felt" like that's what had happened 

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Miss Saigon Question#7
Posted: 1/13/20 at 2:37pm

Yep, the helicopter effect really brings the audience into Kim's experience. When the sound comes from behind you and over your head, and then it appears in front of you, you're right there in that horrific maelstrom. It truly feels like a nightmarish situation from which the audience, like Kim, cannot escape.

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SeanD2
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Miss Saigon Question#8
Posted: 1/13/20 at 2:39pm

saxpower said: "It must be absolutely clear that Chris did everything he could not to abandon Kim- having him shown essentially dragged kicking and screaming onto the helicopter is really the clearest way to do this."

Actually we don't know this at all from the actual text of the piece. The scene is called Kim's Nightmare and we don't know how reliable her imagining of Chris's behavior at that moment would be. 

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Miss Saigon Question#9
Posted: 1/13/20 at 2:56pm

SeanD2 said: "Actually we don't know this at all from the actual text of the piece. The scene is called Kim's Nightmare and we don't know how reliable her imagining of Chris's behavior at that moment would be."

Is the scene actually called "Kim's Nightmare"? I believe the original London cast recording lists that piece as "The Fall of Saigon".

 

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SporkGoddess
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Miss Saigon Question#10
Posted: 1/13/20 at 4:08pm

My understanding (could be wrong) is that "Kim's Nightmare" is the overall segment with Thuy appearing, then the flashback to the fall of Saigon, and the "Sun and Moon reprise." So the song "The Fall of Saigon" is just the flashback scene with the other parts trimmed out. I think that the fall of Saigon part is objective and not just Kim's speculation--her nightmare is subjective, but then that transitions to the flashback which isn't just from Kim's POV.

Also, I hope that they fix this by the time the tour hits my city next month. I saw two non-equity tours with the projection and was really looking forward to the "real" deal.

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Updated On: 1/13/20 at 04:08 PM
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Miss Saigon Question#11
Posted: 1/14/20 at 2:14am
I've read that when the helicopter malfunctions they overdo the lighting and sound to make up for it and most people don't even notice the difference. Every time I've seen it (the original Broadway production, the original tour, the new tour and The Muny where they used an actual helicopter) it's worked so I'm not sure how convincing just having the projection is. Honestly it wouldn't be a make or break for me. The effect has always been overhyped and the scene is so dramatic already that the helicopter just adds an extra layer.
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Miss Saigon Question#12
Posted: 1/14/20 at 7:55am

Chowd95 said: "Every time I've seen it...it's worked so I'm not sure how convincing just having the projection is. Honestly it wouldn't be a make or break for me. The effect has always been overhyped"

If you think the physical helicopter is "overhyped", but you've only seen the show with it, how are you able to evaluate the effectiveness of the scene without it? I'm not trying to be snarky; I'm genuinely curious.

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Miss Saigon Question#13
Posted: 1/14/20 at 8:12am

this reminds me of years ago doing a theatre tour of Dury Lane and they were doing a put in at the time, and when we were under the original stage, the had the helicopter scene going on above, we had to stop the tour because we could not hear what other people were saying.

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Miss Saigon Question#14
Posted: 1/14/20 at 9:20am

Seems like a good place to mention that a theatre in Georgia did do it with a real Vietnam helicopter.  Story here: http://www.playbill.com/article/how-a-real-vietnam-helicopter-lands-nightly-at-the-epic-outdoor-miss-saigon

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Miss Saigon Question#15
Posted: 1/14/20 at 9:44am

DooWahDiddy said: "Seems like a good place to mention that a theatre in Georgia did do it with a real Vietnam helicopter. Story here: http://www.playbill.com/article/how-a-real-vietnam-helicopter-lands-nightly-at-the-epic-outdoor-miss-saigon"

Wow!

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morosco
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Miss Saigon Question#16
Posted: 1/14/20 at 3:07pm

The folks that did that production of Miss Saigon with a real helicopter also did a production of Titanic outdoors on a lake.

Titanic video clips here

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Miss Saigon Question#17
Posted: 1/15/20 at 1:41am

Well, I was at the initial performance of the one week Oklahoma City run tonight and I have to report that the helicopter is still gone. We got the protection instead. Not gonna lie. I was so disappointed that I spontaneously uttered, “ oh man” out loud. Luckily several seats next to me were empty. It worked as well as it could without the physical helicopter. When I bought my ticket, that was the main thing I was looking forward to. It’s like going to see Phantom and getting a projection of a chandelier instead. Although I know the chandelier is much more pivotal to Phantom than the helicopter is to Miss Saigon. However, after talking to the merchandise guy at intermission, I understand why it was taken out at least for now...

He said some guy didn’t notice that the wheel of the plane was headed towards him in San Antonio (apparently it takes 5 or 6 people to navigate it) and it rolled right over his foot and crushed it. It was a local person that they added to the cast just for the San Antonio shows. No idea if they’ll add it back in, but better safe than sorry..,

Speaking of which I almost didn’t go tonight. I am still tired from my NYC trip and after doing laundry, honestly didn’t feel like leaving the house. But I couldn’t even find anyone to take my ticket for free so at the last minute I threw on some joggers and my Madonna tour jacket and got to theater about 10 minutes before showtime only to be greeted by slowly moving security lines into the theater. Finally got in and raced to my seat only to experience 30 minute delay in starting. At first I thought it was because of the security lines, but then they announced it was because of technical difficulties. Intermission was also longer than I expected. Not sure if this is because they are trying to decide about using the helicopter or not. 

The technical aspects of The American Dream were excellent. It was also the best number of the show. Red Concepción was great as The Engineer. He stole the show with The American Dream. Emily Bautista was very good as Kim. Anthony Festa was kinda bland as Chris, but I think that’s more how the character is written. His scream however at the end of Act 2 sent chills down my spine. We had no understudies. Haven Je was cute as a button as Tam. 

Also I don’t know if it’s the sound design for the show because usually I don’t have any problems with the acoustics in this theater, but I had trouble understanding a lot of the lyrics. Not so much the dialogue when they were just speaking but more of the words when they were singing. It doesn’t help that I was not familiar with the score. Listening to the London cast recording now and the lyrics are crystal clear. It doesn’t help that I found a lot of the music ugly with a few notable exceptions (I Still Believe, The American Dream) although I’m enjoying the cast recording more. I probably should’ve listened to it before I saw the show. It reminds me a bit of Les Miserables, which is understandable. 

I also found Act One too long, but that could just be because I had limited legroom in the front row of the Grand Tier and my knees were screaming. I was able to move to an empty aisle seat in same row at intermission and that was much better. 

I has never seen Miss Saigon before and after tonight I’m not sure I need to see it again but I’m glad at least now I’ve seen it. After my NYC trip, I didn’t plan to spend much tonight, but I ended up buying the coffee mug, magnet and program. I may have been iffy on the show, but I do quite admire the graphic design. 

Sorry for the long post. I intended only to comment about the helicopter but kept typing as I was afraid if I stopped and tried to restart in the thread dedicated to the tour I might lose my momentum as I’m fading fast. LOL. 

I didn’t stage door as I was tired. 

Updated On: 1/15/20 at 01:41 AM
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Miss Saigon Question#19
Posted: 1/16/20 at 2:53pm

Miles2Go2 said: "I also found Act One too long"

I feel like act one would have a very natural ending with the confrontation between Kim and Thuy. The intermission should follow immediately after "This is the Hour".

 

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Miss Saigon Question#20
Posted: 1/16/20 at 3:13pm

Lot666 said: "Miles2Go2 said: 'I also found Act One too long"

I feel like act one would havea very natural ending withthe confrontation between Kim and Thuy. The intermission should follow immediately after "This is the Hour'.
"

That wouldn't make sense. That would be stopping in the middle of the scene. 

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Miss Saigon Question#21
Posted: 1/16/20 at 4:33pm

Fosse76 said: "Lot666 said: "Miles2Go2 said: 'I also found Act One too long"

I feel like act one would havea very natural ending withthe confrontation between Kim and Thuy. The intermission should follow immediately after "This is the Hour'.
"

That wouldn't make sense. That would be stopping in the middle of the scene.
"

That’s where they did the break for the two disc Original London Cast recording. So if that was your first exposure to the show it does make sense that you would expect the intermission to be placed there, as they didn’t include the rest of the scene and the second disc gave a clean start to “If You Want to Die in Bed.” I was certainly surprised that intermission didn’t land there when I first saw the show way back in the day after months of listening to that recording. It makes sense to have it where it is, but I could see the argument to put it after “This Is the Hour” if that recording is all you’re familiar with. 

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Miss Saigon Question#22
Posted: 1/17/20 at 6:06am

Lot666 said: "Chowd95 said: "Every time I've seen it...it's worked so I'm not sure how convincing just having the projection is. Honestly it wouldn't be a make or break for me. The effect has always been overhyped"

If you think the physical helicopter is "overhyped", but you've only seen the show with it, how are you able to evaluate the effectiveness of the scene without it? I'm not trying to be snarky; I'm genuinely curious.
"

It's 30 seconds in an almost three hour show. There are so many musical highlights and emotional beats that are way more satisfying than watching Chris hang off the helicopter screaming Kim's name. Miss Saigon has always been a show that has its spectacle talked about first and the content second. The simpler moments, like the lighting during "Movie in My Mind", the dichotomy of Kim and Ellen's realities during "I Still Believe", the horror of "You Will Not Touch Him", the desperation of "I'd Give My Life For You", the harmony of the men's chorus in "Bui Doi" and the interweaving of all the melodic lines as the show builds towards its inevitable conclusion. I could watch a concert version without the sets (like Les Mis has done) and be just as involved every time.

 

Updated On: 1/17/20 at 06:06 AM