Speaking of a big musical hit, Miss Saigon first premiered in London Sept., 1989 and closed Oct., 1999, after 4, 264 performances! On April, 1991, it opened in New York City and closed there Jan., 2001, after 4,092 performances! It has been performed in English, Japanese, Hungarian, German, Dutch, Danish, Polish, Estonian, Swedish, Korean, Bulgarian, Czech, Finnish and Portuguese. Unfortunately, the wonderful production of Miss Saigon, which opened May 3, at the Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities in Redondo Beach, has a limited engagement only through May 18, 2008, a wonderful production worthy of playing for a much longer run.
Based on Goacomo Puccini’s opera, Madame Butterfly, it was written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg with glorious music by Schonberg, lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Boublil. But this is a modern story (set in Saigon rather than Japan) during the “Vietnam War about an American soldier Chris (Eric Kunze and Kim (Jennifer Paz), a Vietnamese girl, who fall in love. During the evacuation of the Americans as chaos ensues, Chris and Kim become separated. Losing track of her after his return to the United States, at long last, he believes that she has perished. After four years, Chris marries Ellen (Misty Cotton), an American girl. However, it turns out that Kim is not only alive and well, but caring for Tam (Olivia Aniceto), her son by Chris, and trying to escape from Vietnam. She his hoping to get to America with Tam to find Chris and is being “helped” by a shady character known as the Engineer (Kevin Bailey). His purpose is to use Tam to get to America. They first find their way to Bankok, and Chris’s old army buddy John (Harrison White) discovers that Kim is alive and living in Bankok. He, Chris and Ellen travel to Bankok in search of Kim and when John finds her, he discovers that she has Chris’s son. She is excited to discover that she and Chris will finally be reunited until she is told that is married to someone else. Kim is heartbroken. Her main concern is for the safety of Tam, what will be Chris’s?
Jennifer Paz was in the first national tour of Miss Saigon, and continues to be enchanting in the role of Kim. Kevin Bailey is stupendous as The Engineer. His big production of The American Dream is a real show stopper. The other cast members, including Bonifacio Deoso, Jr. as Thuy and the entire ensemble bring the full production to life. It is replete with all of the amenities of the Broadway production, the landing and take-off of a helicopter, a full-size Cadillac on stage and fabulous lights galore in some of the scenes. The Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities Orchestra is under the direction of Alby Potts and Miss Saigon was directed by Stephanie A. Coltrin