A resounding score, awe-inspiring sets and heart-breaking characters set the tone for the tragic love story of Miss Saigon, a new production of the renowned musical running at the Kennedy Center through January 13.
Currently on the U.S. leg of its tour, the events of Miss Saigon take place at the end of the Vietnam War and follows a Vietnamese woman, Kim (played by Emily Bautista), as she escapes her war-torn village. Afterward, she’s then forced to work at a bar in Saigon (modern day Ho Chi Minh City) and falls in love with American soldier Chris (played by Anthony Festa).
While attempting to return to the U.S. together, Kim and Chris are separated. The rest of the musical follows Kim’s tireless efforts to reunite with the love of her life.
A story set in a time of war, there are moments that will have you reaching for a tissue. However, the play is more than sad; comedic relief comes in the form of the Engineer (played by Red Concepción), the owner of the bar Kim works in.
A somewhat dodgy character, you can’t help but admire his tenacity and resourcefulness. His solo singing of “American Dream,” also proves a show-stopper as he dances on a convertible in front of a giant mask of the Statue of Liberty.
Other stand-out moments of the musical include the incredible set designs, which incorporate building structures that make you feel like you’re walking the streets of Southeast Asia, a helicopter that drops down from the ceiling and real footage of children orphaned during the Vietnam war.
As with their production of Les Misérables, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Miss Saigon is a grandiose production that will have you laughing, crying and entranced from start to finish.
Experience Miss Saigon at the Kennedy Center, running through January 13. Tickets start at $49. Run time is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. Learn more about Miss Saigon here.
The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC; 202-467-4600; www.kennedy-center.org