FACTS AND FIGURES
TOURING COMPANY INCLUDES
38 adult cast members, from 10 nationalities including British, Filipino, Thai, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, Singaporian, Swedish, Dutch and Malaysian.
The backstage team includes company manager, assistant company manager, five stage management, retail manager, six stage crew, four flymen, five follow-spot operators, three touring carpenters, three automation operators, four sound operators, touring electricians, nine dressers, four wigs personnel and five wardrobe personnel.
Two touring chaperones for the children playing Tam and a touring physiotherapist.
15 members of the orchestra plus musical director.
The show tours with a resident director to make sure the shows artistic standards are maintained.
Do 104 loads of washing per week.
All the straw hats in the show are from Vietnam or Thailand.
There are more than 200 pairs of shoes in the show.
The bikinis worn by the girls in the American Dream number have a kilo of beads on each one.
There are 16 costume changes for each member of the female ensemble throughout the show.
The GI boy’s flak jackets and helmets are all original and have been used in action.
Every piece of costume has a hand sewn label with the actor’s name, scene and character.
Four washing machines, four tumble driers, two ironing boards and four steam generator irons and three hot drying cabinets tour with the production.
WIGS AND HAIR
There are a total of 60 wigs in the show.
All the wigs are made from real hair and have lace fronts.
The character of Kim has seven hair style changes throughout the show and the actress uses her own hair for this.
In an eight show week the helicopter rotor blades spin approximately 3,600 times.
The blade span of the helicopter at full extension is 2.6 metres.
It has 10 different moving elements, independently controlled.
It weighs over 3 tons.
At full height it’s the same as 1.5 London double Decker buses.
There are over 35 feedback functions on board
By the end of the tour, the helicopter will have travelled an Olympic running track over 50 times, that’s over 20,000metres!
Miss Saigon is the ultimate tragic tale of doomed love like Romeo and Juliet, Madame Butterfly (on which it is based) and West Side Story.
Although it has comic moments it makes you cry and question what on earth US armed forces were doing in Vietnam in the first place.
And like Giacomo Puccini's opera it tells of a beautiful but naïve Asian woman abandoned by her American lover.
Opening night at the Bristol Hippodrome wasn’t without its technical hitches but by Friday evening in front of a packed audience it all went like clockwork (the word Agent Orange comes to mind).
My older daughter saw the original musical in London back in 1991 but being a student on a concessionary ticket with her seat high up in the gods made it all a distance memory.
My middle daughter had never seen the show but had read enough to know about the iconic helicopter scene.
So, what did they think about the show this week?
Words like brilliant, amazing, unforgettable and fantastic were banded about as they left the city centre theatre, and both said it was in their Top Three all-time best shows, but they added the gut-wrenching storyline made ‘enjoyment’ a sentiment too far.
Slight disappointment in the first half was the music was too loud and you missed some of the articulation, said daughter No2 who is an English teacher.
It was a shame because the cast is really strong but this was all sorted by second half.
The audience were gripped from the outset and there was a palatable tension in the air – Miss Saigon held my attention more than any other show I have seen, she said.
Essentially it is men behaving very badly during wartime and the sexual exploitation of women, I came out emotionally drained rather than euphoric, she added.
Like the tear-jerking final scene in the film Schindler’s List when the actual holocaust survivors appear, real footage is used of the dual heritage children left behind after this war who were shunned by the indigenous population is a harrowing reminder of the innocent victims of conflict.
Standout performances came from Filipino dancer and Shakespearean actor Red Concepción as The Engineer and Korean Sooha Kim for her extensive vocal range and emotive interpretation of the role.
The atmospheric lighting added glitz and gloom in appropriate doses while the optical illusion of a long flag-draped street is equally memorable.
One of the most powerful moments is when Red sings American Dream and ends up standing alone under the fierce stage lights – his character is not unlike Le Fou the antagonist in the Beauty & Beast film.
The split stage scene when the former US GI and his new wife back home in Atlanta learn of the fate of his former lover left to make a living in a seedy Bangkok bar lingers long after the final curtain.
A seamless production certainly lives up to all the hype but if you have a moral conscience you will come out feeling marginally guilty however, its brutal subject matter doesn’t detract from this is a must-see musical.
Music is by the incomparable team, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, while lyrics are by Alain and Richard Maltby Jr the team which bought you musical phenomenon, Les Misérables.
Miss Saigon has been performed in 32 countries, 369 cities, in 15 different languages and has won more than 70 awards and has now been seen by over 36 million people worldwide.
It runs at the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday, June 23. Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm with 2.30pm matinees on Wednesday and Saturday.
For tickets from £25 click HERE.
PHOTOS: Cameron Mackintosh/Johan Persson
Hello it's Vietnam hitting Bristol
PREVIEW: Miss Saigon will play the Bristol Hippodrome this summer.
Cameron Mackintock’s spectacular new production of the Boubil and Schönberg’s legendary musical is going on a nationwide tour and comes to Bristol from Wednesday to Saturday, May 16-June 23 2018.
The cast includes Red Concepcion as The Engineer; Sooha Kim as Kim; Ashley Gilmour as Chris; Zoë Doano as Ellen and Gerald Santos as Thuy.
At certain performances the character of Kim will be played by Joreen Bautista.
They are joined by David Allwood, Randy Chien, Vinny Coyle, Kristine Mae Diaz, Michael James Eborall, Aynrand Ferrer, Seng Henk Goh, Emily Beth Harrington, Jack Heasman, Tom Hier, Barnaby Hughes, Kamm Kunaree, David Kar-Hing Lee, Amanda Lingdren, Ela Lisondra, Winchester Lopez, Christian Rey Marbella, Jay Marsh, Tom Mussell, Thao Nguyen, Saori Oda, YoungJoo Park, Kiel Payton, Katherine Picar, Alistair So, Carl Jae-Suk Sohlberg, Eloisa Amalia Tan, Gavin Tsang, Amadeus Williams, and Gerald Zarcilla.
Further casting to be announced soon.
Red Concepcion’s many theatre credits in his native Philippines include Adam/Felicia in Priscilla Queen of the Desert for which he won the ALIW Award and Gawah Buhay Award, Tommy in The Normal Heart and Alan Strang in Equus as well as the musicals West Side Story and Hairspray.
Sooha Kim made her professional debut in this recent production of Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre where she covered the role of Kim before going on to play the role in the Japanese production. Her credits whilst training in Korea include Maureen in Rent and Carmen in Fame.
Ashley Gilmour also appeared in Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre. His most recent credits include playing Link Larkin in the national tour of Hairspray.
Zoë Doano’s many West End theatre credits include Cosette in Les Misérables, Johanna in Sweeney Todd and most recently Grazia in Death Takes A Holiday. She has also appeared in the national tours of The Sound of Music and High Society.
Gerald Santos was the youngest ever winner of the biggest singing contest in the Philippines, Pinoy Pop Superstar. He has released five studio albums and has won numerous awards including winning twice Best Male Concert performer at the prestigious ALIW Awards.
Last week, this new production of Miss Saigon opened on Broadway to nightly standing ovations following a smash-hit run in London’s West End.
The New Yorker calls it a ‘dynamite Broadway revival’.
When this new production opened in London in May 2014 to record-breaking advance sales and critical acclaim, Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph wrote ‘this thrilling new production spills out beyond the theatre and speaks directly to the times we live in’.
The show swept the board at the 2015 Whatsonstage.com awards winning a record breaking nine awards, the most awards ever won by a single show in the 15-year history of the awards including: Best West End Show and Best Revival of a Musical.
Miss Saigon tells the story of the last days of the Vietnam War, 17-year-old Kim is forced to work in a Saigon bar run by a notorious character known as The Engineer.
There she meets and falls in love with an American GI named Chris but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon.
For three years Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he's fathered a son.
Miss Saigon has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg with lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr and Alain Boublil, adapted from original French lyrics by Alain Boublil, with additional lyrics by Michael Mahler.
The new production is directed by Laurence Connor with musical staging by Bob Avian and additional choreography by Geoffrey Garratt.
Production design is by Totie Driver and Matt Kinley based on an original concept by Adrian Vaux; costume design by Andreane Neofitou; lighting design by Bruno Poet; projections by Luke Halls; sound design by Mick Potter; and orchestrations by William David Brohn.
Since its London premiere in 1989 Miss Saigon has become one of the most successful musicals in history.
The original Broadway production opened on April 11, 1991 with what was the largest advance sale in Broadway history ($37 million).
The show went on to play for nearly a decade and 4,063 performances seen by more than 5.9 million people.
Miss Saigon has been performed in 28 countries, over 300 cities in 15 different languages, has won over 40 awards including two Olivier Awards, three Tony Awards, and four Drama Desk Awards and been seen by over 35 million people worldwide.
Tickets go on sale mid-May.
Click HERE for book office or call 0844 871 3012.