I have to admit when it came to Miss Saigon, I only knew the very broad strokes. I knew it was a love story related to Vietnam and that there was a helicopter in it. That’s pretty much it. If you’d ask me to name a song from it you’d be the recipient of a blank stare.
Still, I knew it existed and as I grow into my fandom of musical theater and explore all of these classic shows I am lucky enough to be able to attend I was certainly excited to finally see this one.
It did not disappoint.
July 16 – August 11 2019
Experience the acclaimed new production of the legendary musical MISS SAIGON, from the creators of Les Misérables. This is the epic story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim. In a bar run by a notorious character called The Engineer, Kim meets an American G.I. just before the fall of Saigon. That encounter will change their lives forever. Featuring stunning spectacle, a sensational cast of 42, and a soaring score including Broadway hits like “Last Night of the World,” “The Movie in My Mind,” and “American Dream,” this is a theatrical event you will never forget.
That blurb from the Pantages website is very much accurate. I was completely captivated with this show. It is a prime example of what a musical is capable of. Spectacle, emotion, grand design and performances all wrapped into a gorgeously produced show.
At the heart of Miss Saigon is the love story between an American soldier and a young woman who was forced into being a prostitute by a man with dreams of making it big in America. The show is structured in such an interesting way, revealing certain events that happened during a time jump with a flash back that really adds a unique aspect to the show. It’s packed with really interesting characters, even giving the audience conflicting feelings. Especially around The Engineer. He is such a scummy opportunistic guy but he is played with such charisma and gusto that at times you find yourself liking him. Kudos to Red Concepcion for his really fantastic performance. I both loved and hated him throughout the show and that is no easy feat.
Easily though, and for me without question, the absolute highlight of this show is Emily Bautista. Her portrayal of Kim is nothing short of revelatory. She delivered one of the greatest performances I have ever seen in a show. She somehow was able to convey the innocence of a girl forced into a life she did not ask for nor want and the absolute heartbreaking agony that she experiences as the show progresses. I was blown away by her. Just a tremendous talent that I can’t wait to see grow into stardom.
If you have the opportunity to see Miss Saigon during its run, I implore you to do so. It really is a wonderful show and a superb production. The cast is phenomenal. The songs are beautiful and the production itself is often breathtaking.
Miss Saigon runs now through August 11 at the Hollywood Pantages Theater.
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.