Clear Channel Entertainment

Dates: 8 - 13 July 2003
: Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Reviewer: Ross Michael Pink






MISS SAIGON, the classical Broadway musical, rolled into Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre to the enthusiastic delight of Vancouver fans.

The performance opened to a sell out crowd and clearly earned every tribute that has marked its stellar theatrical path.

Who would have thought that a story about war, tragic love and suffering would become the sixth longest running show in Broadway history, grossing 1.3
billion worldwide?

MISS SAIGON is the "thinking person's musical with universal themes that reflect the human suffering of war.

This amazing story, based on the Puccini Opera, Madame Butterfly, was cleverly crafted by Frenchmen Alain Boublil and Claude -Michel Schonberg, and is
reminiscent of the ancient Greek classic, Trojan Women, which captured so well and for the ages the suffering of women in war.

MISS SAIGON is set in 1975 in Saigon, Vietnam in the final days leading up to the US military evacuation after the war. In this love story, Kim, the Vietnamese beauty, played alternately by Karen Alvarez and Jennifer
Hubilla on different nights,






meets and falls in love with a dashing US soldier, played beautifully by Allan Gillespie, in the gaudy, aptly named, Dreamland Bar.

After the fall of Vietnam to the Communists, Kim and the bar owner, The Engineer, played brilliantly by Jon Jon Briones, flee to Bangkok, Thailand.

Clearly, Briones is a major star and clearly carries the show with his magnificent singing and excellent stage presence. His song, The American Dream, is a show stopper as they say on Broadway and dazzled the Vancouver audience.
Eventually Kim with her son fathered by Chris, and Chris are reunited but not without the typical Romeo and Juliet tragic ending.

Special mention should go to the special effects and lighting crew which created scenes that brought the drama of war seemingly into the theatre, particularly
when the helicopter landed to pick up retreating Americans.

Musicals like MISS SAIGON, remind us once again of the power and pageantry of the stage.

2003, Ross Michael Pink