BWW Review: MISS SAIGON at Majestic Theatre
Many people in attendance at the performance of MISS SAIGON at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio have vivid memories of the Vietnam War. Many may have actually fought over there, many protested in the United States in antiwar demonstrations, while others may have been living in the fighting zones as innocent villagers. No matter where your physical body was at the time, all can agree that the Vietnam War was a time of turmoil, fear, and uncertainty. No one understood the war but yet, the war dragged on. Although most U.S. Troops were pulled out of Vietnam in 1973, a small number remained until 1975 when President Ford ordered the helicopter evacuations of 7000 Americans and South Vietnamese from Saigon. This is the time just before the evacuations where MISS SAIGON takes place. No matter what your feelings about the Vietnam War, MISS SAIGON is a wonderful interpretation of the many real people who all just wanted to survive and find joy again in their lives.
The first actress to mention would have to be that of Emily Bautista who played the part of Kim. In portraying Kim, Bautista was certainly up for the challenge. Not only does she have many musical numbers, she also has many scenes that were physically demanding. Bautista rose to the challenge well. "The Movie in my Mind," sung by Bautista at the early part of the first act, proved she was a first-class act.
The part of Chris was played by veteran actor Anthony Festa. He brought his A game to MISS SAIGON and wowed the audience with his rendition of "Why God Why?" and generated a wild applause as he sang the last note. Other seemingly difficult songs Festa sang in the show were easily performed by him.
As the musical moved from scene to scene almost seamlessly, the chemistry between Bautista portraying Kim and Festa portraying Chris was apparent. The duets they sang together including such songs as "Sun and Moon" and "The Last Night of the World" were strong and complementing. Their abilities as actors were proven again and again throughout the performance of MISS SAIGON.
There was also the role of The Engineer who was depicted by Red Concepcion. Talk about talent and stamina. Concepcion was spot on and a most worthy contender in the role of The Engineer. He was definitely an audience favorite as demonstrated in their roars of laughter and loud applauses. Concepcion slayed them with his rendition of "The Transaction" and "The Morning of the Dragon," but he brought the audience to wild and loud applause with "What a Waste" and "The American Dream."
Throughout the performance it was evident that the show was a huge success and an audience favorite. But, not only is the story and lyrics well planned out and written by Alain Boublil and the music composed by Claude-Michel Schonberg, but it was also evident that the cast was carefully chosen and the orchestra flawless (conducted by Will Curry). Some additional actors deserve to be mentioned here due to their amazing talents as well. The part of GiGi was played by Christine Bunuan and she showed she was a talent to be reckoned with. Her songs "The Movie in my Mind" and "The Wedding Ceremony" showed of her finely tuned voice to near perfection. John was played by J. Daughtry and he was as talented as the rest of them. Most notable is the song, "Bui Doi" that introduced Act II.
Don't wait until it's too late to see MISS SAIGON as it plays in San Antonio, Texas at the Majestic Theatre. Dates are January 7-12, 2020. Get your tickets through the Majestic Box Office or online.
PHOTO CREDIT: Matthew Murphy