Did you see Miss Saigon in London? Almost 15 years after the Vietnam-set musical left the West End, its original producer, Cameron Mackintosh, is to revive it with a new run in one of the capital's biggest theatres.
Following Mackintosh's hints last year, Miss Saigon will move into the 1650-seat Prince Edward theatre in May 2014, 25 years after the premiere of Nicholas Hytner's production. The new staging, directed by Laurence Connor, who also took over Les Misérables for its 25th anniversary, is a flexible version of the original capable of nationwide and international touring. It has previously played around the country for two years, debuting in 2004.
Miss Saigon is set in the final days of the American occupation of the Asian city and charts the burgeoning romance of an American GI and a young Vietnamese woman. Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil's musical will also feature a newly penned song, entitled Maybe, with London audiences the first to hear it in English.
Mackintosh said: "Of all my shows, Miss Saigon is probably the one I have the most requests to bring back. For some years I have been waiting for the perfect theatre to house the new production."
He went on to describe the production as "more gritty and realistic" than the original, adding: "If anything the tragic love story of Miss Saigon has become even more relevant today. In the last 25 years our country has become involved in similar wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the way we weren't in Vietnam, and the American dream has been buffeted by the reality of recent history."
Miss Saigon previously racked up 4,264 performances over 10 years at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, where it remains the longest-running production. Though the production's New York run added three Tony awards to its two Oliviers, it is notorious for the controversy sparked by Jonathan Pryce's casting as The Engineer, a south Asian role. It remains to be seen whether the production will address those concerns following debates about the representation of enthnic-minority actors on stage.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010