11 April 2012
Amidst racial controversy never before seen on Broadway, "Miss Saigon" the musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (based on Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" and produced by Cameron Mackintosh), arrived in New York 21 years ago tonight...
The controversy loomed over the show in the beginning of its run, but it prevailed and remains one of the last great British "mega-musicals" of its time, helicopter included.
21 years later, lyrics from this "Saigon" moment seem eerie... considering the wars we're currently in. Still. Anyway, this is American G.I. Chris's big emotionally revealing moment about his ill-fated love affair with the Vietnamese 'bargirl' Kim (the Butterfly character):
"So I wanted to save her, protect her,
Christ I'm American
How could I fail to do good
All I made was a mess, just like everyone else,
In a place full of mystery
That I never once understood."
It should be made into a film.
UPDATED 09/03/2014 : Meanwhile, perfectly timed to, and in honor of its 25th birthday, this past Spring saw a full-scale Cameron Mackintosh revival of "Miss Saigon" open in London, with an obvious next stop of Broadway after that. Along with a replacement song for Ellen, there are also a slew of revamped lyrics. This is one of the better new lines: "This stink is making me choke, turns out this war is a joke, turns out the joke is on you."
Incidentally, the "live" cast recording will be released on its actual 25th birthday, September 22, 2014.
Oh, and about the film version of "Miss Saigon"... Well, happily, Mr. Mackintosh has said it remains a possibility. So, here's hoping he trusts and loves this piece enough to make the film.
UPDATE 03/21/2016 : Hurrah... "It should be made into a film" appears to be coming true. According to this little mention in the Daily Mail last week, things look promising for a Miss Saigon movie, potentially with Oscar-winner Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, The Beach, Slumdog Millionaire, Steve Jobs) as director.
CREDITS: Miss Saigon picture, Michael Le Poer Trench; Miss Saigon logo © Cameron Mackintosh