Direct from its smash London run, Cameron Mackintosh's stunning new production of Boublil and Schonberg's legendary musical Miss Saigon returns to Broadway
Set in 1975 during the final days of the American occupation of Saigon, Miss Saigon is an epic love story about the relationship between an American GI and a young Vietnamese woman. Orphaned by war, 17-year-old Kim is forced to work as a bar girl in a sleazy Saigon nightclub, owned by a notorious wheeler-dealer known as "The Engineer." John, an American GI, buys his friend Chris the services of Kim for the night—a night that will change their lives forever.
“It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly 25 years since Miss Saigon first opened in New York, but if anything, the tragic love story of the show has become even more relevant today with the conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. This new production, directed by Laurence Connor, takes a grittier, more realistic approach than the original production while still delivering the power and epic sweep of Boublil and Schönberg’s tremendous score
Call it the guilty pleasure of '80s nostalgia if you must, but revisiting the show at almost three decades' distance, I was unprepared to be so consistently entertained for the two-and-a-half–hour duration. Sure, it's a brash, broad-strokes saga with questionable racial and gender representation and a taste for salacious vulgarity. But although director Laurence Connor has adhered to the basic contours of the original, his grittier approach exposes teeth in the material that I don't recall previously being so sharp..
The meticulous mounting is by Laurence Connor, who directed “School of Rock” on Broadway as well as the recent revival of “Les Miserables.” The production values alone are a jaw-dropper. That iconic helicopter, rendered with unusual realism thanks to the miracles of modern technology, is still the show-stopper. But lesser miracles are still stunning.
But as a piece of political theater that depicts Americans involved in a disastrous foreign war, cultural misunderstanding, the difficulties of emigrating to the U.S. as a refugee and the pursuit of success through shameless exploitation, “Miss Saigon” is more relevant and heartbreaking today than when it premiered on Broadway in 1991 at the same theater.