Emily Bautista as ‘Kim’ and Anthony Festa as ‘Chris’ in the North American Tour of MISS SAIGON singing “Sun and Moon”

Photo by Matthew Murphy, Dallas Summer Musicals

Review: Dallas Summer Musical's 'Miss Saigon'

May 20, 2019 - 1:57 pm
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By Jimmy Christoper for 1080 KRLD

Over the years, I missed two previous showings of Miss Saigon in Dallas and Cleveland, so I was excited about seeing this version at DSM at Fair Park Music Hall.

Disappointment is my reaction to this operatic musical that is a dark, depressing, brutal, tragic tale of one of the ignominious times in American history. 

It is an opera with all but a few words sung.  It would be helpful if the lyrics were superimposed on a screen.  Eighty percent of the music was unintelligible and seemed like one big, overbearing number.  The most powerful and disheartening number was “Bui Doi” about the many Amerasian children left behind in Vietnam. “Sun and Moon” by lead characters Kim (Emily Bautista) and Chris (Anthony Festa) was somewhat touching and romantic.  Each singer possesses a strong, clear voice, perfect for opera.  Red Concepcion provided some humor as Engineer, the greedy, scumbag pimp.

As a 1970-71 Nam veteran, I don’t recall the bar girl prostitutes looking like they are portrayed in this musical.  And, the civilian women and men, are not all low-lifes. 

The stage design conveyed the sleezy, horrific, dismal, gloomy times. Act I showed Saigon in 1975 at it’s raunchiest.  The Dragon Acrobats in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) 1978 was well choreographed and staged, although the accompanying song sounded like a Russian piece.

The powerful 1975 fall of Saigon scene in Act II was highlighted by the very real- looking helicopter picking up remaining military and leaving many desperate Vietnamese behind. 

The second to last number “American Dream,” is a bawdy Vegas-like slap at the fakeness of the U.S. and the sham of it’s involvement in Southeast Asia.

Miss Saigon, for mature audiences only, is showing through May 26th at the Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas.