The curtain detailed with houses in Saigon lifts from the stage...
Vietnamese people walk briskly past each other...
Suddenly a helicopter flies overhead...
Bombs go off and panic ensues, leaving one girl thrown to the ground to be picked up and taken to a new life. In the most recent tour of MISS SAIGON, we’re about to embark on a love story during the Vietnam War.
Broadway in Chicago Brings the War to the Stage
Being away at war takes its toll on soldiers, and the ones serving in Vietnam were no different. Merely days away from being shipped out, a troop decides to spend a night on the town by visiting a brothel on Saigon. Here, our two destined lovers, Chris and Kim, meet. Him an American soldier and her a rice farmer turning tricks as her new way of life. For the few days they spend together, they fall in love and know their love can withstand anything.
Though Chris vows to take Kim with him when he leaves, fate has other plans. Will these two ever find each other again? Or will the war wreak permanent damage on their relationship?
Impressive Set and Dance Numbers
As we change settings during MISS SAIGON, different set pieces fly in and out to create the scenes before us - from the seedy bar Dreamland all the way down to the slums of Vietnam. They feel realistic as they capture the minute details of each setting. Not to mention the ginormous details as well, namely a helicopter looking like it’s about to land onstage.
The ensemble executes their dance numbers with military precision, especially during The Morning of the Dragon celebrating the defeat of the Americans. No member of this troop is missing a beat or out of sync.
And later on, The Engineer ,played by Red Concepción, really lets loose with his flair and dramatic stylings during The American Dream- complete with giant Lady Liberty and all.
A Different Kind of Love Story
Though the musical starts with the relationship between Chris and Kim, a different kind of love emerges. Kim, played by Emily Bautista, becomes the focus of the show. For those who are familiar with the musical, this shift might feel different as other productions have Chris as the main focus.
But with this recent tour, Bautista has our attention as we follow her story and as she commands our attention by sheer vocal and emotional power. As she pours her heart out during “I’d Give My Life for You, we fully believe that she would do absolutely anything for her son. This love and her life left behind have made her stronger and more determined to provide the best life for her son. When Bautista is on stage and her son never leaving her side, we see their unbreakable bond.
So while MISS SAIGON may be a love story, it’s truly a love story from a mother to her son. This production of MISS SAIGON is a good fit for those who are fans of classic musicals in general, as well as fans of this show in particular as this tour sticks to its roots.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Now through December 8, 2018
Tuesdays at 7:30PM
Wednesdays at 2:00PM & 7:30PM
Thursdays at 7:30PM (no performance on Nov. 22)
Fridays at 7:30PM (added 2:00PM matinee on Nov. 23)
Saturdays at 2:00PM & 8:00PM
Sundays at 2:00PM (added 7:30PM evening performance on Nov. 18)
Cadillac Palace Theatre
151 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
About the Author
Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.
Editor's Note: Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski