Alex Belfield went to see Miss Saigon Musical 2001.
Miss Saigon Musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil. It is based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, and similarly tells the tragic tale of a doomed romance involving an Asian woman abandoned by her American lover.
The setting of the plot is relocated to the 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War, and Madame Butterfly’s story of marriage between an American lieutenant and Japanese girl is replaced by a romance between an American GI and a Vietnamese bar girl.
The musical was premièred at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, on 20 September 1989, closing after over four thousand performances, on 30 October 1999.
It opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre in 1991 and subsequently played in many other cities and embarked on tours.
Prior to the opening of the 2014 London revival, it was claimed that Miss Saigon had set a new world record for opening day ticket sales, with sales in excess of £4m.
When Miss Saigon toured the UK, Belfield went to Manchester to meet Robert who is one of the Stars of the show
The musical’s inspiration was reportedly a photograph, which Schönberg found inadvertently in a magazine. The photograph showed a Vietnamese mother leaving her child at a departure gate at Tan Son Nhut Air Base to board an airplane headed for the United States where her father, an ex-GI, would be in a position to provide a much better life for the child. Schönberg considered this mother’s actions for her child to be “The Ultimate Sacrifice,” an idea central to the plot of Miss Saigon.
Highlights of the show include the evacuation of the last Americans in Saigon from the Embassy roof by helicopter while a crowd of abandoned Vietnamese screams in despair, the victory parade of the new communist régime and the frenzied night club scene at the time of defeat.
Recorded 2003 by Alex Belfield at Celebrity Radio & the BBC.