SINGAPORE 60's: ANDY'S POP MUSIC INFLUENCE: ON THE MUSIC N MEMORY TRAIL IS MY OWN BLOG N ROLL PROJECT. NOSTALGIA IS PERSONAL HISTORY N PICTURES TELL STORIES. POP MUSIC NOT PILLS. ANDY YOUNG. (November, 2008). IT'S DONE WITH MUCH TIME AND LOVE.


"TO BE A ROCK BUT NOT TO ROLL"

Friday, June 17, 2016

Les Miz, Miss Saigon: Singapore To London Part 2




Miss Saigon (1989) and Les Miserables (1985)

A Personal Experience

Each live musical my wife and I attended and seeing it on stage was a phenomenon in itself and each visit to the theatre had a story to tell. I cannot exactly remember the names of the theatres we went to but the 5 shows we attended were at the West End in London, an area like Broadway in New York, where musicals, plays and theatre acts were of the best quality with pomp, pageantry, and people.  
                          Buzzing Helicopter Icon: Miss Saigon

And during the 1990's attending stage musicals was trendy indeed, a happening that went on for many years and visitors going to London specially to watch these extravaganzas. But for us, it was just the music; a natural flow from musicals in the 50's to these ones in the 90's.
                                

Miss Saigon

Cameron Mitchell's Miss Saigon was exceptional because it was one of the first musicals we went to in the early 90's.  The draw for this particular show was Lea Salonga, a Philipino superstar who made it big with the starring role as Kim. We wanted to hear her sing in person. She was supposed to be performing that evening but didn't.  

It was a let down that night at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane but an unforgettable one. Strangely when I played the CD I could not recall many of the songs I thought I knew except for The Overture, The Heat Is On In Saigon, The Movie In My Mind, Sun and Moon, I Still Believe and the mental awakening of, If You Wanna Die In Bed.

It is based on the opera, Madame Butterfly and tells the sad tale of a romance, doomed from the start, between an Asian woman and her American lover. The plot setting was in 1975 in Vietnam during the war.

Not a musical I would take a child to since the lyrics would not be within the youngster's vocabulary, "Men pay a lot for virgin arse..." 

Miss Saigon lasted 10 years at the West End. To me it was The World of Suzie Wong revived, with Vietnam the buzz word. Great theatre though, especially with a huge 'helicopter' (or half of it) buzzing with full stereophonic sound and hovering near the ceiling on stage. It was a thrill for many of us in the audience. And lots of space for Asian actors to perform. But we loved the show!


                         Revolution Street Barrier Icon: Les Miserables.
Les Miserables

Another Cameron Mitchell sensation, this musical I could not appreciate*. Honestly, we didn't enjoy it, found it too heavy because we were tired out during the show after some heavy London eating and sight seeing. The plot was simple enough but we did get a little miserable watching it in the evening. The songs too didn't make it out for me.

The ones that I vaguely remember were, On My Own, One Day MoreI Dreamed A Dream and Lovely Ladies. The jocular Master Of The House woke me up from my golden slumber at the theatre.

To be fair, the musical was a huge success but the biggest impact for me was the unique street barricade on stage erected by the youthful revolutionists.  It became an icon for Les Miz, like the chopper did for Miss Saigon. The original stage production in London was the longest running musical since 1985 and second in the world. 

Queen's Theatre, Soho, Shaftesbury Avenue, Gerrard Street and a walk to a Chinese restaurant, where a bowl of won-ton noodles cost 10 Pounds and the restaurant had a minimum price entry tagged at 15 Pounds; kept me confused even to this day. Tickets too, cost a whopper then. But no Leicester Square for us. We weren't walking there to buy half price ones. Too tired.

No CD's from the show but watched the movie at home in later years. Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman were huge. But neither Victor Hugo nor the musical was for me. Could be the long journey from Vietnam to France? (Below a tired looking Andy Young posing outside the British Museum in 1990.)
                 Les Miserables: Master of the House video: tongwarit

Perhaps I just wanted to be happily entertained, with the emphasis on happily. The experience came only when we saw Cats, The Phantom of The Opera and Starlight Express. Another two stops on the road to witness musicals.

But it was a long way from the Cathay Cinema in the 50's to West End in the 90's.
     British Museum, Rear Entrance, Bloomsbury, London with Andy Young.

Disclaimer*
There is no intention to denigrate the plays mentioned.

Images: Google; Personal Collection.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Les Miserables, a musical play i remember deeply because that was my first visit and led me to appreciate such art. It was ab enjoyable trip as I went with my Mrs Fok and classmates from MPSS using edusave fund.

Ms Saigon, think I get to hear Lea Salonga. Cant remember the details but songs were beautifully sang and i was touched to scenes.

FACEBOOK said...

THANKS TO

TERENCE LEE
TOH RICARD
MALVIN CHUA
BELINDA POH
TRACY NG
AARON CHEW
YUCHIEN KUO
LAM CHUN SEE
JOYCELYN LEONG
SIMIN LAI
MERLIN LIM
YEN CHOW
PRISCILLA GEORGE
RANDY LEE KENG

PHILIP CHEW said...

Young and handsome then.

SAGAR KALAL (FACEBOOK) said...

Wow super sir.

LAM CHUN SEE said...

Looking cool.

LINDA TAN (FACEBOOK) said...

So young and gwapo (Tagalog for handsome).

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you all for comments, compliments and LIKES on Facebook. And as many on TWITTER, especially to followers of this blog.

FACEBOOK said...

THANKS TO

ANN ROWENA LIM
IRENE YAP
CHEN HUI SI
TIM LEONG LIM
PENNY KOH
PHILIP CHEW
JOHN CHER
DICK YIP
VIDYA DEVI BALAENDRAM
ATHENA BAGANI
MATILDA MARGARITA RICARTE
DORIS LIM

HAPPY TAY (VANCOUVER, CANADA) said...

I don't usually watch musicals ( I would probably fall asleep) but concerts from Engelbert Humperdinck to The Eagles, Journey or even oldies like The Platters, Temptations, etc., all have their shows here quite often...

FACEBOOK said...

THANKS FOR LIKING THE POST

SHAIK MOHAMMED
KOO VICTOR
NINA CHEWY
JAMES KWOK
EILEEN TAN
AUDIE NG
JALANI MOHD.
SAGAR KALAL
LINDA TAN

(Please excuse if names are missing.)

chakap chakap said...

The Musical

Set in early 19th-century France, it is the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant, and his quest for redemption after serving nineteen years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his sister's starving child.

Valjean decides to break his parole and start his life anew after a kindly bishop inspires him by a tremendous act of mercy, but he is relentlessly tracked down by a police inspector named Javert. Along the way, Valjean and a slew of characters are swept into a revolutionary period in France, where a group of young idealists make their last stand at a street barricade.

It is the longest-running musical in the West End followed by The Phantom of the Opera.
The Broadway production opened 12 March 1987 and ran until 18 May 2003, closing after 6,680 performances.

JAMES KWOK said...

Good morning Andy,

Thanks for your posts. Please keep them coming. You help keep my mind active with great memories. This one reminds me of those days when I was back-packing in Europe and Australia with my wife, and with our 2 daughters, separately, during their university summer breaks.

Cheers and blessings.