BWW Review: MISS SAIGON at Sabrina's Encore Productions
On Thursday, July 26, I had the pleasure of seeing the student edition of MISS SAIGON, as performed by Sabrina's Encore Productions at the Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, CT. I enjoyed seeing this talented young cast perform this show, even more than when I saw MISS SAIGON on Broadway, back in 1992. This stellar cast of teenage performers shows tremendous potential for future stardom. Director Sabrina Post and her cast have truly put in a lot of effort to put forth a first-rate show.
The music is performed by a live sixteen piece orchestra, including musicians who have performed on Broadway. The orchestra is on stage, towards the very back, in a way that makes them visible, but not distracting. A huge screen is in the back of the stage, projecting images that enhance the show, highlighted by a helicopter flashback scene.
Every cast member stays in character at all times, when on stage, whether as the center of attention, or in the background. This is such an important skill for all stage actors to have, the awareness to make every moment count when they are on stage.
The story is set during the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, an orphaned young woman named Kim (Elizabeth LaRosa) has just been hired as a prostitute. An American soldier named Chris (Aidan Moulder) becomes her first customer, and falls for her. The feelings are reciprocated, and he desires to bring her back to America so she can become his wife, an idea that she embraces. Technical complications, however, prevent Kim from joining Chris on his return to America. Kim is then furthermore encountered by the cultural issue of having been promised by her late father to another man in marriage, a man she is not in love with and never has been in love with, despite that man's strong desire to marry her. Chris, meanwhile, decides to give up on his quest for finding Kim, again, and moves on, marrying another woman names Ellen (Phoebe Doscher). To make the situation even more complex, unbeknownst to Chris or Ellen, Kim had conceived Chris' child, a boy. How does this all play out? Come to the show and see! The key thing to know is that Aidan Moulder, Elizabeth LaRosa and Phoebe Doscher all deliver incredibly moving performances, truly becoming their characters, to the point where the audience can feel the emotions of all three characters, with genuine sympathy and concern for all three. The stage chemistry between them is tight, and the performances make the characters feel believable.
As is the case with MISS SAIGON, "The Last Night of the World," is the greatest and best known musical number. Aidan Moulder and Elizabeth LaRosa have incredible singing voices that complement each other remarkably well to nail this song, both musically, and in terms of the emotion behind the words. The entire audience was moved.
For anyone unfamiliar with MISS SAIGON, please be aware that the show includes some crude language, sexually suggestive situations, and revealing outfits, particularly during the ensemble musical number, "The Heat is On in Saigon."
MISS SAIGON is scheduled for three more performances this weekend, including Friday, July 27 at 8:00 PM, and Saturday, July 28 both at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM. I highly recommend this show performed by Sabrina's Encore Productions at the Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, CT. To give multiple cast members a chance to shine, the roles of Chris and Kim will be performed by a different actor and actress (Jack Armstrong and Kayla Verga, respectively) on the Friday and Saturday night performances. To see Aidan Moulder and Elizabeth LaRosa in those roles, as I did, you can go to Saturday's 2:00 PM performance. For tickets to any of the performances, please go to tickets.