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The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)

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BroadwayNick
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The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#0
Posted: 12/22/05 at 4:34pm
Listening to my god-knows-how-old-tape of Miss Saigon, I heard "The Fall of Saigon." I was immediatly captured by the intensity and impact of the song. I felt like I was actually there! It is a magnificent moment in the show.
Could anybody fill me in on how it was staged (OBC/OLC/Tour/etc.)? I know there was an actual helicopter that came down, and everyone who has seen the show just raves about it. Thoughts? Comments? Otherwise? Thank you!
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#1
Posted: 12/22/05 at 4:43pm
ooh, I just listened to this the other day and remembered how amazing it was!

Someone else can probably give you better details, but basically, it's when the American's are being pulled out of Saigon. Chris thinks he'll be able to take Kim with him, but then they begin leaving immediately. Kim and Chris desperately try to get to each other; Kim keeps telling them that she is the wife of a soldier. There are many other vietnamese who are sort of trying the same thing, desperately trying to get through to the soldiers. The coolest part is that there are i think 3 large chain link fence pieces, and the Vietnamese (including Kim) are all on one side trying to get to the other...they rotate the pieces around several times so that sometimes the audience is on their side, sometimes they are on the oposite side...it is SO moving!! Then of course the helicopter lowers down, yada yada. My favorite part is really the fences and the choreography with them and how it alligns with the music.

Thank you for causing me to remember this, it reminds me of how much I love this wonderful show!!
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#2
Posted: 12/22/05 at 4:55pm
Just in case you don't know, the helicopter has historical significance due to the fact that that was really how the last of the American soldiers left Vietnam just before Saigon fell to the North's army. They were being flown off the roof of the American Embassy. I was not yet alive, but I understand that that moment is one of the first things people who were alive think about when they think about the Vietnam War.

If you already knew this, I apologize.
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#3
Posted: 12/22/05 at 4:55pm
yeah... i love the intensity of this scene.. if you'd have seen the 2nd national tour a few years back the ensemble was fierce during this number... i just love how the perspectives onstage are constantly being flipped around so that we see what it's like to be the vietnamese and then the american soldiers... i particularly love two moments.. when Chris and Kim are trying to get through and the ensemble is moving in slow motion.. so powerful... and when the vietnamese characters rush the gate trying to get through... good stuff
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#4
Posted: 12/22/05 at 4:59pm
oh yeah! I completely forgot about the slow motion...it gave me chills just reading what you said about it, thanks!
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#5
Posted: 12/22/05 at 5:06pm
BEST SCENE in the whole thing (next to when Kim shoots Thuy).

BUT in the past tour the helicopter was a hologram.

I did love how the gate was flipped around as well though, but that dang helicopter made me SOOO mad!!! IT WAS A PICTURE!! GRRRR!! LOVE IT STILL THOUGH!! :)
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#6
Posted: 12/22/05 at 5:13pm
re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)

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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#7
Posted: 12/22/05 at 5:15pm
"BUT in the past tour the helicopter was a hologram."

No... not a hologram. It was a well executed rear projection.
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#8
Posted: 12/22/05 at 5:39pm
You say well executed, I say cheesy. Tomato tomahto.
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#9
Posted: 12/22/05 at 6:56pm
I didn't think it was too bad in the most recent tour. Having seen the original tour, I was ready to be extremely disappointed. Perhaps it depends on how far back you sit. Maybe the closer you sit the worse the effect is? That was one of two scenes where I missed the original.
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#10
Posted: 12/22/05 at 7:01pm
hmmmm...I saw the tour this spring, and unless my eyes seriously deceived me, there was an actual, big ol' helicopter.
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#11
Posted: 12/22/05 at 7:40pm
well executed? please. at least in the recent tour.

the tour i saw years and years ago was to my knowledge a real helicopter (the first national tour)... thus if it was a projection it was magnificent.

r... it wasn't real.
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#12
Posted: 12/22/05 at 7:47pm
the current non-equity tour uses a projection... the 2NT which closed in 2001 or 2000 used the actual helicopter... some regional productions use an actual helicopter as well
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#13
Posted: 12/22/05 at 7:54pm
in Toronto it was a REAL helicopter shell....and for some reason I remember that in San Francisco

it's an amazing, and powerful scene and for those of us who lived through that era, it brought it all back
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#14
Posted: 12/22/05 at 8:42pm
I don't think it is a real helicopter, it just looks like one (although it definitely looks like one). There is an interesting story about how the special effect was created at the link below.

http://www.jsonline.com/enter/performingarts/jaques/jul99/copter18071699.asp?format=print
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Updated On: 12/22/05 at 08:42 PM
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#15
Posted: 12/22/05 at 9:40pm
From what I remember (granted, the last time I saw it on Broadway was in 1992), the gate doesn't rotate, it would just open and close to let people change sides. The pace was very fast. In the beginning of the song the gate was still open, and Chris was trying to leave, but wasn't allowed to. They closed the gate - the Vietnamese on the downstage side, trying to get in, while the soldiers are facing the audience on the other side of the gate.

The 'phone call' (when Chris was trying to reach Kim) took place at a small booth on stage right. Chris stood there until John pulled him back in. And you see the gate again, but the sides are reversed, the Americans are downstage now and you get a view of the 'inside of the compound' where Chris & John was arguing ("Let me go, John, etc...").

I don't know how it would like with the projection. As far as I remember, when I saw it, it was a real helicopter (or looked very real, in any case), with Chris screaming his head off while being dragged into it. Very emotional.

Okay, so my memory it is pretty vague. I remember lots of running, though. These guys would literally sprint off-stage, then run back on 5 seconds later on the other side of the gate. Or sometimes the gate would open and they would just change sides. Very impressive, at least when I saw it.


Updated On: 12/23/05 at 09:40 PM
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#16
Posted: 12/22/05 at 9:54pm
I had completely forgotten about how moved I was by this show. It was the first and only show I have ever seen on Broadway. (Yay for tours though) I was brought to tears so many times. This show is amazing!
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#17
Posted: 12/23/05 at 2:04am
ok, so its not a real helicoptor..its only the front half of a shell and it sat on a HUGE box (called the helipad) which was hollow and that allowed the guys to get in the helicoptor and jump down inside the box. the "propellers" were actually string/wire with balls tied on the ends to give them weight and look like real propellers when the strings (or wires) flew out of the center peice. the gates were amazing..i loved the change of perspective too...brilliant staging. that whole scene was incredibly INTENSE. the cast had to sit through HOURS AND HOURS of footage of this and every time it was performed it was impossible to not make it real when those visions of the actual moments were their heads. everyone was EXTREMELY committed to making it emotional and impactful. the 2nd national tour ROCKED!!!
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#18
Posted: 12/23/05 at 10:11am
"the 2nd national tour ROCKED!!!"

I saw Miss Saigon when it first came to Broadway, and then returned to see it on Broadway several times, but I was kind of out of my Miss Saigon phase by the time the 2nd National Tour made its round. Now I rather regret missing it re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon).
Updated On: 12/23/05 at 10:11 AM
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#19
Posted: 12/23/05 at 1:14pm
speaking of Miss Saigon and the helicopter... there was a great joke at the DROWSY CHAPERONE last night.... at the end of the show there is an airplane on the stage (if you aren't familiar, the musical is about a man who is playing a record of a show called the DROWSY CHAPERONE and it's being played out in his apartment via his imagination, if that made sense) and then the lights go out causing the music to stop... so the superintendent walks in to fix the breaker and then the music/show continue... the superitendent asks if he's listening to a musical... and then the superintendent talks about how he liked MISS SAIGON and how he was all impressed with how there was a helicopter on stage... the irony being there is an airplane (albeit a drawing) right behind him that he can't see... haha... good stuff
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re: The Fall of Saigon (Miss Saigon)#20
Posted: 12/28/05 at 9:20pm
I agree... the projection on tour was pretty cheesy... here I was all excited about the chopper landing on the stage and it was a daggoned projection... oh well, the choreography on the fences was AWESOME! I loved the slo-mo... gave me chills.

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