London welcomes Filipino cast of Miss Saigon
‘Miss Saigon’ is once again making raves right where it was first staged 25 years ago — and Filipino stage actors are still in the frontlines of its proud legacy.
The Prince Edward Theatre in London has been graced by British celebrities and former cast members since the show opened on 21 May. Among those who were seen on the red carpet were actor Eddie Redmayne, TV presenter Lizzie Cundy, BLAKE singer Stephen Bowman and Hollywood actor Luke Evans.
Former cast members who watched the revival were emotional. British-Filipina TV personality Myleen Klass recalled ‘I was in it in … 14 years ago. It was my first job out of college, so, yeah, it means a lot to me. So many Filipinos have so much to owe to this show because it showcased the talent that Filipinos have, and brought it to an international scale.’
Tony Award-winner Jonathan Pryce, who played ‘Engineer’ in the original production, said ‘I’m looking forward to seeing Jon Jon [Briones] playing my part — the usurper. I did it for two years and never tired of doing it. I’m sorry Lea [Salonga] isn’t here.’
Former cast member and the lead actress’ aunt Annette Calud said ‘The cast is so talented, and looking at the changes that they’ve made from when I did it 20 something years ago, I’m just thrilled to be here.’
Many Filipinos in London also welcomed the return of Miss Saigon to West End especially because the ensemble showcased many Filipino talents in the lead roles. Seventeen-year-old Fil-Am Eva Noblezada plays the heroine ‘Kim,’ which Lea Salonga played in the original production. Filipina Tanya Manalang is Eva’s understudy for the role. Filipino stage veteran Jon Jon Briones plays the evil ‘Engineer’ while singer Rachelle Ann Go plays bar girl ‘Gigi.’ Starring opposite Eva’s Kim is English actor Alistair Brammer, who will play American GI ‘Chris.’
Briones was overwhelmed by the support of the Filipino community in London and said ‘We think that it’s our show because a lot of Filipinos have been in this show. So it becomes our show, our story, and the support from Filipino community, from our kababayans has just been enormous and I’m just happy for that.’
Producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh mirrored his actor’s sentiments and said ‘Very proud of all the wonderful Filipino performers tonight. Brilliant. Miss Saigon would never survive without the Philippines. I am very grateful.’
Miss Saigon tells a story of doomed love between Vietnamese bar girl Kim and American GI Chris set in the 1970s Vietnam War. Ticket prices and show dates can be found here.