COLOGNE The hugely successful musical production “Miss Saigon” will be coming to Cologne starting in January. A highly emotional love story that takes place during the Vietnam War, it is well-known for the scene when the last helicopter leaves from the roof of the American Embassy.
The billion-dollar musical producer from London - responsible for successes such as "Les Misérables" and "The Phantom of the Opera", to name a few - Sir Cameron Mackintosh seems refreshingly unpretentious and acts as you would expect from a gentleman, understated with a nice smile, and twinkling eyes. "No," he says, "I don't think I'm going to produce 'Miss Saigon' again in this lifetime."
One could take this as self-irony in light of his age - Macintosh is now 72 - but another production of the musical will not even be necessary. Because the new English language original version of the musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg is sensational and simply unbeatable. It is modern and timeless at the same time and it will be showing at the Cologne Musical Dome from January 22 to March 3. As well, it is an excellent example of the fact that the best love stories - those that stay in your memory and keep you thinking - usually don't end well.
The story of Kim (Sooha Kim) and GI Chris (Ashley Gilmour) from the last days of the Vietnam War is no exception. The two get to know each other in a nightclub, and it's love at first sight. He wants to take her home to the States with him, and it already seems as if Kim is on her way to fulfilling something which all the other girls in the bar only dream about. But in the confusion of the American troop retreat, the couple is separated and loses all contact. Kim stays back in Asia and gives birth to their son Tam - Chris finds someone new at home. Until their paths cross again three years later in Bangkok. Those who grow fond of Kim and Chris in these turbulent two hours will have an emotionally gut-wrenching experience.
"Miss Saigon" is one of the most successful musicals ever. Since its premiere in London on September 20, 1989 and its Broadway premiere in April of 1991, the musical has been shown in more than 369 cities in 32 countries and attracted around 36 million viewers. Miss Saigon has been performed in 15 languages and has won 70 awards, including two Laurence Olivier Awards and three Tony Awards.
The dramatic highlight is the departure of the last helicopter from the roof of the American Embassy, while desperate people down below try to get over the fence. Anyone who doesn't think of the parallels to war zones and refugee dramas these days would have to be living in a different world. In the real world, even love cannot conquer all. But it is and remains beautiful - even in Saigon.
Miss Saigon: January 22 to March 3 in the Cologne Musical Dome, tickets are available in the Bonnticket shops of the General-Anzeiger and on the Internet at www.ga.de/tickets
(Orig. text: Ulrike Strauch, Translation: ck)