Magazine article Variety

'Saigon' Comes out of the Shadows as Anni Nears

Magazine article Variety

'Saigon' Comes out of the Shadows as Anni Nears

Article excerpt

BUTTERFLY EFFECT

Cameron Mackintosh hopes to set the enduring tuner on the 'Les Miz' path to Rialto and film renown

"MISS SAIGON" is back. With a West End revival bowing in May and a smaller-scale, stand-alone production now running at the D.C. area's Signature Theater, the 1989 mega musical, often mentioned in the same breath as "Les Miserables" and "The Phantom of the Opera," is being polished up for its upcoming 25 th anniversary. And it's happening at a time when the film biz, spurred by the success of last year's rendition of "Les Miserables," is starting to look at the back catalog of hit Brit tuners for its next prestige movie-musical.

So is the bigscreen perhaps the next stop for "Saigon"?

Not quite, even if Cameron Mackintosh, the legit producer behind both "Saigon" and "Les Miz" (as well as "Phantom" and "Cats"), has made no secret of the fact that "Miss Saigon" is the next title he'd love to see headed to Hollywood. But the bustle of activity around "Saigon" nonetheless reps a resurgence for a globally recognized property that, unlike the omnipresent "Phantom" and "Les Miz," seems as if it went dormant for a while.

It didn't, really. A touring version of the musical - a Vietnam War-era take on "Madame Butterfly" from "Les Miz" songwriters Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil - has been evolving over the past several years at various international locations, gaining a new song ("Maybe," replacing "Now That I've Seen Her") in the process. But even Nick Allott, managing director of Cameron Mackintosh Ltd., acknowledges that it's easy to get the impression "Miss Saigon" went away, in part because it hasn't recently played in any of the world's major theater capitals. "It does feel like 'Saigon' is one of the big iconic musicals that hasn't been done lately," he says.

With the London production gearing up, Mackintosh has scaled back a bit on licensing the show to other producers and presenters, but the company remains open to allowing some productions that won't present a conflict with the West End version. …

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