Signature Theatre’s production of Miss Saigon. Photo credit: Christopher Mueller
An impoverished woman who turn to prostitution to make a living in hopes of sending her child off to live a better life. The mostly good-natured man man who “saves” said mother and child. Signature Theatre’s Miss Saigon shares a few common traits with Les Miserables. Both musicals were written by the French duo of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, so it makes sense. Both also set out to be prime examples of the epic blockbuster musical, one where every word is a song and big numbers are orchestrated to put the musical into musical theater. The barricades of Les Mis are matched by the swooping helicopters of Miss Saigon when it comes to iconic imagery.
On Broadway, famed producer Cameron Mackintosh made both productions into long-running hits. At Signature, Eric Schaeffer and company attempt to fit as much giltz and glam of Miss Saigon onto the small Max Theatre as possible. Unable to fit a whirly bird into the production, the show instead is dressed to the nines with ripped parachutes, barbed wire fences, and metal grating that creeps from the stage into the audience. The ensemble that takes to this rough and gritty stage is strong, but has noticeable holes that makes this rendition solid, but not show-stopping.