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'Miss Saigon' returns to PH for auditions

Posted at | Updated as of 10/15/12 6:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The hit musical “Miss Saigon,” which launched the international career of Filipino actress Lea Salonga, is gearing up for a revival in London’s West End.

Lea Salonga as Kim in the original West End production of "Miss Saigon"

And just like in 1988, when producer Cameron Mackintosh and the songwriting team of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, “discovered” Salonga in Manila, the production team is again flying to the Philippine capital to hold auditions for the lead role of Kim, the 17-year-old Vietnamese bar girl, as well as ensemble cast members.

According to the website Broadway World, the auditions will be held at the Philippine Opera Company’s headquarters Opera Haus in Makati on November 19-22.

A Facebook page has been set up to provide more details on the Manila auditions. 

“‘Miss Saigon’s’ executive producer, director, choreographer, and musical director will be flying in from London to hold auditions for the restaging of the hit musical, which paved the way for Filipino talents such as Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson, and Isay Alvarez, among others to shine on the world stage,” Dong Alegre, the representative of Mackintosh in the Philippines, told Broadway World.

“Miss Saigon,” based on Giacomo Puccini’s popular opera “Madame Butterfly,” had its world premiere at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane London on September 20, 1989 with Salonga and 13 other Filipinos, including Monique Wilson, Isay Alvarez, Robert Sena, Pinky Amador, Michael Williams and Junix Inocian.

The musical about a Vietnamese prostitute who falls in love with an American solider during the fall of Saigon ran for over 4,000 in London before closing in 1999.

It opened on Broadway in 1991, also with Salonga, who won a Tony Awards for her performance. It closed in New York in 2001.

According to the “Miss Saigon” official website, the musical has been performed in 25 countries and 246 cities and has been translated into 12 different languages

‘It begins again’

In her Facebook page, Salonga couldn’t help but notice the timing of the upcoming Manila auditions.

“And so it begins again... It was in November 1988 that I auditioned for ‘Miss Saigon.’ Whose life is going to change this November 2012?” she said in a post on Facebook on Saturday.

“Who would be your bets for the West End revival of ‘Miss Saigon’? Auditions are in November,” she said in another post.

Among those mentioned by Salonga’s Facebook friends are “American Idol” Season 11 runner-up Jessica Sanchez; Repertory Philippines’ actress Cara Barredo, who currently appears in Rep’s “The Wizard of Oz” as Dorothy; and Manila-born Singaporean Julia Abueva, who starred in a Singaporean production of “Spring Awakening” early this year.

According to Broadway World, audition requirements will be announced soon.