Monday, September 9, 2013

The Journey of MISS SAIGON From The Concept to the Auditions

I recently found a gem. While Miss Saigon was being made, that is, from the time producer Cameron Mackintosh came in to work with composers Boublil & Schonberg (of Les Miserables) on the finishing touches to the score to opening night at the Theatre Royal in London in 1989, a film crew was capturing much of the process. The culmination of said filming was a documentary called The Heat is On. It is one of the most fascinating show documentaries I have seen, because it spreads the attention pretty evenly throughout the different aspects of the process.

Today, I bring you the first two parts. In the first video, you will see Cameron Mackintosh and the composers at the piano working out some of the songs and talking about what kind of girl they need to play 17-year-old Kim. They describe her as, "18 with immense charm and lungs of steel." So a few girls audition in different cities, but they clearly lack some aspect whether it be the voice or the innocence needed for this role.

The second video features more auditions including Monique Wilson (original Mimi as well as Kim alternate) and Lea Salonga (original Kim) who were theatre friends before auditioning for Miss Saigon together. At the beginning of Salonga's audition, she asks Claude-Michel Schonberg to sign her Les Mis memorabilia, which is adorable since I'm sure she had no idea then that she would later be considered one of the best Eponines of all time. Besides singing Kim songs, there is also a rare clip of her singing "The Movie in My Mind" which she never sings because it's sung in the show by Gigi. You also get to see Monique Wilson sing the Kim solo, "I'd Give My Life for You." In addition, there are great clips of the poster and set models emerging.

Watch for the next few parts later this week on Singular Sensation!

Read More:
Lea Salonga on Broadway
Jonathan Pryce on Broadway

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