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Miss Saigon returns to West End

Published 19 June 2013

A quarter of a century after it made its world premiere in London, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon will make its much-rumoured return to the West End next May.

The Cameron Mackintosh-produced epic, which features iconic songs including The Movie In My Mind, Sun And Moon and Why, God Why?, will be directed by Laurence Connor and play at the Prince Edward theatre, with dates and cast still to be confirmed.

Based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madam Butterfly, Miss Saigon transports the classic love story to the final days of the American occupation of Saigon in 1975. There American GI John buys the services of 17-year-old Kim, an orphan who has been forced to work as a bar girl in a sleazy nightclub owned by a notorious wheeler-dealer known as The Engineer. The pair soon falls in love, but are separated when the war ends. Years later, their doomed love affair catches up with John.

Miss Saigon ran for 10 years following its premiere at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, winning two Olivier Awards and making it the most successful show in the legendary venue’s history. The production has subsequently been seen by more than 35 million people worldwide, performed in 28 countries and won more than 40 awards, including three Tony Awards for its Broadway run.

Speaking about the announcement, Mackintosh said: “10 years ago I decided to reconceive the show in a completely re-imagined physical production that could play a far greater number of theatres than the original but still retains Bob Avian’s legendary musical staging and the same scale of cast. As well as touring the UK with enormous success, the new production directed by Laurence Connor has been seen in numerous countries around the world where it has been embraced by audiences and critics alike with as much enthusiasm as the original.”

The producer, whose many hits include Cats, Les Misérables and The Phantom Of The Opera, believes that the show has not dated since its 1989 premiere, explaining: “If anything the tragic love story of Miss Saigon has become even more relevant today. In the last 25 years our country has become involved in similar wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the way we weren’t in Vietnam and the American Dream has been buffeted by the reality of recent history. The new production has taken a more gritty and realistic approach to the design than the operatic original but still delivers the power and epic sweep of Boublil and Schönberg’s great score.”

An added bonus for Miss Saigon fans will undoubtedly be the addition of a recently composed song by the musical’s acclaimed duo Boublil and Schönberg’s, Maybe, which will be performed in English for the first time at the Prince Edward theatre.

The creative team is completed by lyricist Richard Maltby Jnr, choreographer Geoffrey Garratt and designers Totie Driver and Matt Kinley, from an original concept by Adrian Vaux, Andreane Neofitou, Bruno Poet and Mick Potter.

Tickets for Miss Saigon will go on sale to the public on 9 September, however keen fans can sign-up for priority booking from 2 September at www.miss-saigon.com

The announcement comes hot off the heels of the news that the Prince Edward theatre’s current occupant, Jersey Boys, will move to the Piccadilly theatre next March.

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