I almost saw this musical back when they were doing it in Manila. It was in the early 2000’s. My best friend from the university invited me to see it with him for free! Unfortunately, it was at the same time I had to go to a very important job interview. Had I known I would not have passed for that job, I would’ve just seen Miss Saigon. It would’ve been sooo nice to see it with Lea Salonga (I think it was her) playing Kim.
Anyway, fortunately enough, Miss Saigon is again on broadway at the same time as hubby and I were in New York. I booked well-ahead in advance a very nice seat, third row from the front on the left side facing the stage and right next to the aisle so nobody would bother me. It was such a fantastic seat! There were only six seats in our row. From there, I could see everything — the pores, the sweat, the tiny microphones, and even the tiny spittle of saliva from the actors’ mouths.
On to the review: first of all, I think the acting was great. I most especially enjoyed watching The Engineer. It’s a very likeable role — he was funny, witty and he sang and danced very well, of course. On the evening that we saw it, the role was played by Billy Bustamante (alternate for Jon Jon Briones) and he was very good. Did you know that Jonathan Pryce, the High Priest in Game of Thrones played and won the Tony for this role? Billy Bustamante, I think, was funnier and a bit more spirited… but I’m only comparing from Jonathan Pryce’s performance on Youtube videos, so…
Rachelle Ann Go and Eva Noblezada were quite good also. I know it’s unfair to compare Eva with Lea, so I will not do it in this blog. Especially since I have always been a big and loyal fan of Lea Salonga since I was a little girl. So, you already know I will be biased. Meanwhile, hubby prefers Eva’s voice over Lea’s. He thinks Lea’s voice is more high-pitched, which he does not like. I, however, prefer Lea’s because it is more varied in pitch and tone, richer, and has more character. Okay, I said I will not do any comparison between the two, but I still did. At least I tried to be a bit objective. 🙂
I loved everything about Miss Saigon, especially singing along with all the songs silently in my mind. I know all of them by heart, although they seem to have added some new ones and changed some of the lyrics of a few. I am rarely fanatic, but I guess, once upon a time, I was. I am very thankful to hubby dear for indulging me on this one. I know it’s not his kind of thing, but he still went with me.
The only thing I did not like so much is the story. It does have a bit of racial stereotyping, and very un-empowering for women. My friend who also saw the revival asked my opinion about the musical, and I told him that the story does not really work so much for me anymore. And he had the same opinion, more or less. I just totally enjoyed watching this musical for pure sentimental reasons. It was nice to feel like my teenage self again… and to have shared this experience with a loved one.