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Miss Saigon returns to Manila after more than two decades

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“Without [the] Philippines, the show could never have opened,” said Claude-Michel Schönberg, composer of Miss Saigon. Claude went to the Philippines in 1988 to look for the cast of their original production of Miss Saigon, and they ended up casting many Filipino performers, including Lea Salonga as the lead role of Kim. 

Now, back in Manila after more than two decades, Miss Saigon PH features another Kim of Filipino descent, Abigail Adriano. Playing alongside her is Nigel Huckle as Chris. And included in the main cast are more Filipino performers, Seann Miley Moore (The Engineer), Laurence Mossman (Thuy) and Kiara Dario (Gigi).

Abigail Adriano as Kim in Miss Saigon 
  PHOTO: Ross Copiaco
Abigail Adriano as Kim in Miss Saigon PHOTO: Ross Copiaco
Miss Saigon in PH
Kiara Dario as Gigi [in Miss Saigon PH] PHOTO: Ross Copiaco
Seann Miley Moore as The Engineer.  PHOTO: Ross Copiaco
Seann Miley Moore as The Engineer. PHOTO: Ross Copiaco
Miss Saigon PH cast performs "The American Dream"
Miss Saigon PH cast performs “The American Dream” PHOTO: Ross Copiaco
Miss Saigon in PH
PHOTO: Ross Copiaco
Sam Sewell of GMG Productions
Sam Sewell of GMG Productions PHOTO: Ross Copiaco
Jean-Pierre Van Der Spuy, Director of Miss Saigon Australian and Asian Tour.
Jean-Pierre Van Der Spuy, Director of Miss Saigon Australian and Asian Tour. PHOTO: Ross Copiaco
Claude Michel-Schonberg, Composer of Miss Saigon
Claude Michel-Schonberg, Composer of Miss Saigon. PHOTO: Ross Copiaco

The Philippine Times was able to ask a couple of questions during their media event, hosted by Yanah Laurel. 

PhilTimes: What kind of relationship do you have with your character, Chris? 

Nigel: It’s an exciting challenge to be able to dive into someone who starts the show so disillusioned, and then he meets Kim and his world is changed. But then his world is shattered again by their separation and then digs into this story of PTSD… I think his journey really embodies that sense of mystery and the Vietnam War… What I love is the challenge.

PhilTimes: How has it been working with the Filipino cast and crew of Miss Saigon

Nigel: Filipino culture is quite close to my heart, and it has been for a long time, because when I was really little… I had a yaya… she lives in Iloilo… and we’re gonna bring [her] up to see the show. I love being in the Philippines. And to reconnect again after being here 8 years ago [for Les Miserables], it’s special. And my dresser, Grace, was the dresser for Will Chase in 2000! Nothing beats the feeling of being back here and being right in it, in the heart; it’s special.

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PhilTimes: How does it feel to be back in the Philippines? And as part of the international tour of Miss Saigon?

Laurence: It feels like a dream, being back in the Philippines. I actually lived here for 6 years, from 2014 to 2020. And that’s really where I got my start in theatre. I was in Fun Home with Lea Salonga, and Kinky Boots alongside Yanah [Laurel]. And being back… it just feels like home… I love the food, the kindness, the hospitality of Filipinos. I’m here with my mom, and she’s back home so on a personal level and a spiritual level, it feels amazing just to be back here [and] in one of the most recognisable shows in the world. It’s such an important piece of art for Filipinos.

PhilTimes: Do you think the show will resonate differently with Filipinos here compared to the Filipinos who saw the show in Australia?

Laurence: I mean, it’s Pinoy power. We’re everywhere! We’re such an important part of society, not just here but over in Australia and wherever we’ve immigrated to. And one thing that’s consistent is our love and hospitality… Being over here and getting chance for the new generation, as well as people who have seen the show before, is really electric… I’m so excited to inspire that new generation, for people who are seeing us on the stage, seeing reflections of themselves…

Miss Saigon PH will have their gala night on Tuesday, 26 March, and will run until Sunday, 12 May at The Theatre at Solaire. Merchandise will also be available at the venue, from tote bags to shirts, hoodies and more. Ticket holders are in for a treat because Claude Michel-Schönberg will stay until the opening night performance of Miss Saigon PH this Saturday, 23 March 2024.

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