When Miss Saigon
closed at the Broadway Theatre in 2001 after 4,092 performances, it had the distinct honor of being the sixth-longest-running show in Broadway history.
But the musical was not without its faults. Even before its arrival on Broadway, Miss Saigon
was shrouded in controversy after London’s 1989 West End production cast white actors in Asian roles.
Now, in the era of cancel culture, the #MeToo movement and a time where racial tensions appear to be on the rise, Miss Saigon
has not aged well.
Loosely based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly
, Miss Saigon
is set during the Vietnam war and tells the story of Chris, a white American G.I., who falls in love with Kim, a Vietnamese sex worker. A romantic love story this is not. Kim bears Chris’s child, whom she gives up in the hopes the child can have a better life in the U.S. In the end, Kim kills herself.
While Madame Butterfly
has a similarly tragic trajectory, Miss Saigon
certainly perpetuates negative stereotypes of Asians as a people in need of saving. However, old habits die hard, and Miss Saigon
remains one of the top-grossing musicals of all time — even in 2019. The musical is best remembered for a striking scene in which a helicopter lands on stage representing the fall of Saigon. And while the tunes in the show may also be quite memorable, it may be time to ask whether it’s time to retire this outdated production.
San Antonio audiences can decide for themselves when Miss Saigon
lands at the Majestic Theatre on Tuesday, January 7 as part of the North Park Lexus Broadway in San Antonio series.
$45-$408, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8 and Thursday, Jan. 9, 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10 and Saturday, Jan. 11, 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11 and Sunday, Jan 12, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston St., (210) 226-3333, majesticempire.com.
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