In 1904, Giacomo Puccini presented what would become one of his most celebrated operas. Madame Butterfly is a tragic opera about a young Japanese girl, who falls in love with young naval officer Pinkerton, who beds her, and soon afterward leaves her when his ship sails, unaware that she is now caring his son.
In 1991, producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh opened “Miss Saigon” on Broadway. The musical is based on Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly,” however, the story changes to the end of the Vietnam war, as people are scrambling to get out before the communists takeover, and, Butterfly is now a young Vietnamese girl named Kim, whose whole family and town had been destroy by bombings. A night club manager/pimp called “the Engineer” takes her into his club, Dreamland, where she meets Chris, a young American officer, and in this incarnation of the story, both fall madly in love, but get separated in the chaos that follows.
Colorful tree blossoms, incredible vocal pieces, and Japanese formality, are now replaced with chaos, war, and survival with soldiers from both sides, and “red light district” night clubs that reek of desperation.
TPAC opened the award winning musical “Miss Saigon” Tuesday night, on June 4, with amazing voices, incredible dance numbers, and stunning special effects.
The international cast, includes the slick “Engineer” played by Red Concepcion from the U.K. He shines in the sad desires he wants from his perception of the American dream.
Kim is played by Emily Bautista, the modern Butterfly, whose innocence has been lost as she tries to survive. She pulls at heart strings when she sings “The Movie in My Mind.” Anthony Festa, who plays her lover Chris, is a vocal standout with numbers like “Why God Why” and the beautiful duet he has with Kim, “The Last Night of the World.”
Jinwoo Jung plays Thuy, a man from her village, who was promised Kim by her now dead father. Even though she tells him she is married to Chris, he will not let go. Jinwoo’s performance is filled with an incredible intensity, and has a dynamic song with Kim, in “You Will Not Touch Him.”
The cast is excellent, the dance numbers are great and some special effects that are best left as surprises. The show plays until, June 9. For more information go to www.TPAC.org .