Special Features

Miss Saigon 2024 “Returns” the Cast Home to The Philippines

As the opening night of Miss Saigon 2024 approaches, its cast and even the composer, Claude-Michel Schönberg, share how the musical brought them home.

Miss Saigon‘s return in 2024 truly shows that the musical has a special place in Filipinos’ hearts. Aside from showcasing the Filipinos’ passion and love for the arts, its return to Manila became a full-circle moment, as many of the cast members bonded with the musical’s characters on a personal level.

Even Claude Michel-Schönberg holds fond memories of the Philippines when he first composed the musical piece with Alain Boublill, noting how the Philippines was a “treasure island” of musical talent.

“There wasn’t much well-known Asian talent back then,” he recalls. “The Philippines helped make Miss Saigon possible. So thank you. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories and talents with the musical.”

Miss Saigon 2024 hits differently now

The critically acclaimed musical—which brings together a Filipino cast—has updated some of the executions of the songs. Abigail Adriano, who plays Kim, remembered how the musical’s American-Vietnamese director, Theresa Nguyen, advised her to “be her” and express her agency.

“There’s a part of me that will show in playing Kim,” Abigail reveals, while adding also how she’s proud to be the “second Kim.”

“It’s like Kim and I are navigating this whole new world together,” she continues. “It’s… a dream come true.”

Radiating with what the cast called “slay-Asian” energy, the musical also celebrates the many experiences that are precious to the cast. The fierceness and the “fabulosity”—as Seann Miley Moore calls it—pay tribute to the many women’s stories that built it. Even Daydream’s Kiara Dario, who is now playing Gigi, shared that being in Miss Saigon was one of the musicals she watched as a child with her grandmother and often wished to be a part of.

“When I left home to pursue my dreams, it was challenging,” she reveals. “But performing in Miss Saigon is a full circle moment with many of my mentors and teachers once being performers for the musical.”

Influences on the roles they play

Miss Saigon does not just celebrate the women whose stories it tells but the men who witnessed it all. Even Nigel Huckle and Laurence Mossman—playing Chris and Thuy respectively—shared the surrealness of returning to the Philippines to perform Miss Saigon.

“Seeing my mom return to her land and do what she does…” Laurence shook his head. “Coming back here [to the Philippines] gives you that feeling you never left.”

Meanwhile, Nigel recalls how his loving Ilonggo yaya played a vital role in his life while growing up in Singapore, revealing that one of the things he did for her was to get her a seat for Les Miserables. “She even had a picture with Rachelle Ann Go,” he beams.

Miss Saigon being a homecoming

Although the musical’s setting is during the American-Vietnamese War, it’s a timely reminder that they are not about who wins or loses. The many losses that families suffered because of the war are stories that survive, passing down to the next generation.

When Miss Saigon first came here, it elevated Filipino talents to the global stage. This time, it comes to remind families that one’s own decisions are not purely based on circumstance.

More about plays?

Why We Believe Families and Kids Can Appreciate Theater and All Its Drama
5 Reasons Teens Should Watch the Hamilton Musical
A Modern Retelling: The 6 Wives of Henry VIII are Brought to Life in Six the Musical

Catch Miss Saigon in Solaire Theatre starting March 23, 2024!

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