Well, we are in the home stretch, with 6 performances to go with Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance’s production of Miss Saigon, and we are excited to share this dramatic love story with different audiences.
In a harmonious medley of music (thanks to David), acting (thanks to Jamie), and dance (thanks to John), by Claude-Michel Schonberg, Richard Maltby, Jr., Alain Boubil, and William David Brohn, our cast and musicians have tried to make each show count.
The cast has come a long way from our very first rehearsal, and the confidence level– over each rehearsal and show–has grown tremendously, also. I was concerned about some minor things at first.
It seems that we have been through everything– from forgotten lines to wardrobe malfunctions to technical sound issues–and lots of other difficulties in between.
I’ve gotten pretty used to going with the flow for shows and have become used to adapting to a variety of mishaps, which have come up in other shows too, so it wasn’t too hard for me to keep on going…
But I have a hard time not laughing, at times, or breaking character ever, which actually takes more self-control than I realized.
There was a time in a show when the gun I used to shoot one of the characters (Thuy) came loose from the holster that I had underneath my costume, and I heard someone in the audience commenting and laughing about it.
So, I tried my best to keep the gun in place under my costume with just my arm, but after some awkward fumbling, it became very obvious I had a concealed weapon I was going to draw.
But, fortunately, the time when I was supposed to get the gun out wasn’t too, too early on. There was another show when I drew the gun a little too late…
Thuy was saying, “Oh, look, you have a gun! And, it’s a U.S. gun…” and then I realized I was too late in drawing it, which had appeared like an afterthought.
“Oh, yeah, you’re right…Whoops, ok, well here it is!” I thought, drawing it out as quickly as possible and still trying to keep my composure.
The wardrobe (thanks to Zach) and wigs (thanks to Gray) were colorful and dynamic, with lots of different scene changes.
Et Voila! The striking, pitch black Asian hair in Act 1 gains even more oomph with bright, bold colors in the Bangkok scene and then turns into flirtatious, curly, platinum bobs with red headbands, in American Dream.
The authentic Vietnamese dresses (thanks to Kim W. and her family), with traditional high collars and floral design, were the most difficult outfits for me to wear.
With about 10 small buttons and hooks and very little time in between costume changes, my fingers worked frantically to put each dress on…
But, finally, I have mastered it! During the “Sun and Moon Reprise,” where I have to change back into my original wedding dress on stage, during my singing, the beautiful golden dress I have to put on would have ended up with the whole front flap hanging open awkwardly.
In solution, Kim W., a fellow cast mate in the ensemble–with a strong high soprano voice– sewed 3 large buttons on to this dress, strategically placed to minimize the extra fumbling.
Special thanks to Kim, and also a special thanks to Amber, who plays the role of Gigi, (with her rich, deep voice that tugs at peoples’ heart strings and sticks to the mind in “Movie in My Mind”).
Working together with the cast, musicians, and crew at the Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance has proved both an interesting and rewarding growth experience.
Overall, we have learned to encourage one another, while accepting each others’ differences, appreciating individual strengths, and working with weaknesses in a way that we can be proud of and walk away from this experience feeling wiser, greater, and stronger.
I am grateful for this role and opportunity and am looking forward to staying in touch with everyone when the production is over!