Miss Saigon

The Civic – THE EDGE®, Auckland

20/05/2011 - 11/06/2011

Production Details


ONE of the world’s most stunning musicals, an Auckland season of MISS SAIGON, is announced for 2011. 

Raw and uncompromising, MISS SAIGON is an intensely personal story of the losses we suffer and the sacrifices we make. From the creators of Les Misérables, this Broadway blockbuster is a love story of epic proportions, one of the most stunning theatrical spectacles of all time. 

Set in war-torn Saigon in 1975 amid the turmoil of the Vietnam War, MISS SAIGON tells the moving tale of an American soldier and a Vietnamese girl who fall in love only to be separated during the fall of Saigon. Their struggle to find each other over the ensuing years ends in tragedy for her and a fighting chance for the child he never knew he had. 

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre, The Ziera Shoesseason of MISS SAIGON will open at Auckland’s Civic theatre on Friday, May 20, 2011. Tickets are now on sale for this incredible season. 

Guest starring the enormously talented TINA CROSS as “Gigi” – a hardened Saigon stripper. There is a 60-strong all New Zealand cast, the biggest cast ever assembled for a stage musical in Auckland, eclipsing the critically acclaimed 42nd Street cast that dazzled theatre audiences earlier this year. 

The pivotal role of “Kim” – the role that shot LEA SALONGA to international fame – will be played by CHRISTIANA ZHU, a former member of New Zealand composer David Hamilton’s award-winning choir Opus, who thrilled audiences throughout Europe and America. Television personalityRUSSELL DIXON will play troubled American GI “Chris”. 

An explosive love story on a truly epic scale.

MISS SAIGON is the 10th longest running Broadway musical in musical theatre history and since its London premiere in 1989, MISS SAIGON has become the third most successful musical in the history of British theatre and the longest running show ever to play Drury Lane. It has been performed in 18 countries, in nine different languages, has won 30 major awards and been seen by over 31 million people worldwide. 

MISS SAIGON is an epic love story about the relationship between an American GI and a young Vietnamese woman during the fall of Saigon; and a night that will change their lives forever.

Three years later, the US Army has fled Saigon; Chris has returned to America and is now married; he now learns that Kim is still alive and has born him a son. His search for Kim, and their son Tam, finds them living in poverty in Bangkok.

When Kim discovers Chris is in Bangkok with his wife, her hopes to be reunited with him disappear. Desperate to ensure a better life for her son, Kim will make the ultimate sacrifice.

Not just a show, but an experience. A magnificent theatrical must-see. Get your tickets fast for this incredible show. 

From Friday 20 May 2011
Priced from: $59.90 – $79.90
GROUPS 10+ SAVE! CALL 09 357 3354   

The Cast
This stunning production features an all New Zealand cast... 
Kim: Christiana Zhu 
Chris: Russell Dixon 
Engineer: John Hellyer 
John: James Calcinai 
Thuy: O’Neal Mendoza 
Gigi: Tina Cross 
Ellen: Jane Horder 
Tam: Kenzo Santayana, Abbey Martinez, Isabella Caballero, Johann Guadalupe 

May Lee Allen, Samantha Batchelor, Chris Blackburn,Camille Boyte, Matt Carr, Kimberley Chan, Erwin Cifra, Emma Clemens, Andrew Comrie, Paul Dickens (John Understudy), George Everts, John Ferguson, Leigh Fitzjames, Jessica Fong, Romel G Gonzales, Leilani Ann Guillen, Chris Haines, Emily Hermon, Flip Hirst, Stefan Jammes, Melinda Joe (Gigi Understudy), Percy La Madrid, Nelson Lam, Jarrod Lee (Thuy Understudy), TravisMcWalter, Dwayne Mallo, Kristine Marasigan, Rory Nolan, Steve O'Reilly, Catherine Ombao, Joseph Quinn, Elizabeth Revell, Reynald Ricafrente, Ena Rico, Leon Ruwhiu, Hyde Sham, Mio Shimazu, Russell Siayngco, Greg Stockwell, Janel Surtida, Tiffany Utama, Janet Van, Lynne Van, Warren Vickery, Jarryd Walker, Jason Yang-Westland, Jessica Young  

Polished cast add sparkle to spectacle

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 23rd May 2011

Amateur company gives wholly professional treatment to classic Vietnam musical 

At a time when the supremacy of American culture appears unassailable, Miss Saigondelivers a timely reminder of the Vietnam experience with the haunting image of a helicopter evacuating the embassy in Saigon providing a sharp warning about the dangers of hubris.

Created by the partnership behind Les Miserables, the show presents a nuanced analysis of American power and brilliantly demonstrates how the vast sweep of history can be distilled into the intimate experience of ordinary people.

The production by North Shore Music Theatre is a testament to the enormous dedication of part-time artists who are driven by a simple love of performing. [More]
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.   


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Of loss and sacrifice

Review by Karyn Cushen 22nd May 2011

There was a lot of hype surrounding the North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Miss Saigon and, of course, the successful contracting of Tina Cross as a female lead. Understandable to a certain extent, given that it’s the first time Auckland has played host to Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s epic musical and the subsequent associated costs. But was it worth the hype? Well, yes and no.

For those not in the know, Miss Saigon, touted as the greatest love story of all time, is a musical loosely based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly. It follows the doomed romance of a Vietnamese woman and her American GI lover who, with the fall of Saigon in 1975, are geographically and culturally separated for three agonizing years. Told correctly, it is a story of great loss and sacrifice.

Now, my first surprise for the evening was that Cross is cast as Gigi Van Tranh, a deadened Saigon stripper with a penchant for a quick buck, a rather minimal lead that is tasked with singing one song in the first Act and one song only. Thank goodness that Cross sings ‘Movie in My Mind’ flawlessly, as that is more or less her entire contribution to the two-hour plus performance; that and sauntering around in black suspenders and a corset. I think a little more Cross would’ve validated the production’s preceding media hype. 

The skilled delivery of Cross’s vocal number is matched by her fellow leads, notably Russell Dixon, Christiana Zhu and Jane Horder, but none more so than John Hellyer as The Engineer. Hellyer, complete with a sleazy moustache, holds the crowd in suspense as he confidently delivers his solos, particularly ‘If You Want to Die in Bed’ and the pyrotechnically-enhanced ‘The American Dream’. 

The production is further complemented by impressive set designs, especially that depicting the fall of Saigon, sound effects and a truly magnificent and perfectly timed orchestra. 

With all this on board, the production still manages to foster a degree of amateurism, which ultimately breaks the rapport the leading cast members desperately need to maintain with the audience, to create a convincing story of loss and sacrifice. This occurs through: a) the orchestra diluting the leading vocals; b) stage crew being blatantly visible to the audience; and c) the unregimented, and therefore unrealistic, choreography of the Asian military scenes. 

I am no stranger to large-scale musicals, having frequented both the West End and Broadway on numerous occasions, and I can honestly say that the North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Miss Saigon wasn’t the worst musical I have ever seen, but it certainly wasn’t the best.  
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.  


Nicki Dawson June 7th, 2011

I went to see this on Sunday 5th was delighted by all it all - so much work went into it.

The guy who played The Engineer John Hellyer I believe stole the show

the props, sound, the actors passion really showed on stage. 

K Jarvis May 28th, 2011

What a silly review, unnecesarily showing off about visiting the West End and Broadway and focusing on such trivialities as the role of Tina Cross, Karyn seems to have overlooked what is important.  In my professional opinion it was both a captivating and well executed production supported by great music, cast and a brilliat set. I would throughly recommend Miss Saigon and I too have visited countless West End musicals. 

Ameet Chana May 24th, 2011

I agree with this review. This isn't the worst musical I've ever seen but it's not the best either. I think Paul was generous in his review. Its also saddening to know that the majority of the box office will not be seen my the company. With the prices they charged for this show knowing that it was paying all the artist involved would almost make me forgive and excuse the shoddy production elements. I took along 3 mates to this who were visiting from  the UK and 1 from the States and I had to apologize to them all the way home on behalf of you guys. They couldn't believe this was the level at which musicals were at in NZ, I too thought this was a professional production. I learnt a very expensive lesson.   

Dave Wilson May 23rd, 2011

Mostly agreed, but then the show should not be promoted as a professional production it seems to fool audiences into believing that it is a professional production company producing the show. Productions put on at the Civic usually come to a certain standard, I have mostly enjoyed many of these amateur shows at the Civic but agree with the statement that it lacks a certain professionalism.

The idea that the tickets are reasonable is ridiculous, as stated ATC musicals (professional) tickets cost only up to 40 - 60 dollars whereas here for Saigon they are upwards to 85. These prices would suggest a professional show, where does the money go?

Tom Westall May 23rd, 2011

I am sorry but i have to disagree with a fair few of the statements made in this review

Firstly, Tina Cross is an amazing performer and while it would have been nice if she had a larger role, you can't really complain about because who was she meant to play? Kim? Ellen? Maybe even Tam?

Secondly, of course the show has a degree of amateurism...... its an amateur show? In can't compare to the West End or Broadway because they are professional shows. Despite this the cast of Miss Saigon were very impressive and I thoroughly enjoyed the show

And Finally I must agree with Mark......... It wasn't the best and wasn't the worst?? Really? As a reviewer surely you can find something slightly more constructive and insightful to say

If you want to read a review which I think sums up what Miss Saigon was really like try http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10727368

Carly Hood May 23rd, 2011

 I have to agree with Karyn. I commend the performers but I really object to the way these shows get billed (Cats, Rent all the same). The use of the very iconic marketing imagery and publicity/marketing saturation is misleading for the public and makes me wonder where the budget for the shows go (not into paying the performers obviously). I don't understand how Paul Simie Barton can call the ticket prices reasonable. The professional companies in Auckland charge less and at least you are guaranteed a wholly professional performance.

Liam May 23rd, 2011

"Miss Saigon wasn't the worst musical I have ever seen, but it certainly wasn't the best"

What an informative statement.  This would apply to every musical you have ever seen, except for two, right? 

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