Music by Claude-Michael Schonberg
Lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. & Alain Boublil
Directed by Jim Corti
Music Direction by Shawn Stengel
Choreographed by Jeff Hancock
Spectacular production a thrilling theatrical experience
Jim Corti has taken Paramount Theatre in Aurora’s Broadway series to new heights as he has engineered many remounts of well known Broadway musicals that look , feel, and play much like the originals. He employs loads of Equity players and union musicians to fill the pit while the to tech creatures add the sound, look and lighting that rival the best national touring show that come through Chicago. Utilizing the spacious Paramount Theatre (1,888 seats) tickets for these spectacles rang only from $36.90 to $49,90 with season subscriptions even cheaper, Paramount Theatre is quickly becoming a major player in Chicago’s theatre scene. There productions are strong enough to justify the trek to the Western Suburbs.
Their latest production, the classic Miss Saigon continues their fine theatrical tradition. It is a spectacular accomplishment
Since Miss Saigon premiere in 1989 in London is played 4,264 performances while the Broadway production played to 4,092 performances. Over 28 million have seen this show.Jim Corti’s production is sprawling, well sung with fine enunciation gave Richard Maltby, Jr’s lyrics added power.
Several highlights mark this polished production: Jeff Hancock’s provocative choreography particularly in “The American Dream” show stopper and the “The Morning of the Dragon.” Joe Foronda is the show’s anchor as the Engineer—the street wise hustler bent on getting to the USA. Foronda’s long experience works to give depth and edge to this sleazy character. His performance is worth seeing the show! The vivid staging, lighting and sound are among the show’s strengths. You’d swear that a chopper landed on the set! (Sound design by Adam Rosenthal)
Miss Saigon is a romantic musical—a pop opera really—set in 1975 in Saigon just as the Viet Nam war closes. An American marine, Chris (power voiced Brandon Moorhead) falls in love with young native orphan—Kim (the lovable Shawna Haeji Shin) that is reminiscent of Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly. This tragic tale of love and war contains much recycled Boublil & Schonberg music that sound amazingly like Les Miserable especially with the many anthems. Brandon Moorhead belts his songs and has a spark of attraction toward Shawna Haeji Shin’s Kim. We quietly cheer for the two young lovers. But the huge spectacle together with the excellent supporting work from Elliott Greer as john and W. Blaine Brown as Thuy and the manic ensemble carries the show.
The emotional impact of the last few scenes will hit you right in the heart. Shawn Stengel’s 21 person orchestra gave the production a soaringly large feel. Joe Foronda’s brilliant performance is not to be missed. Paramount Theatre’s Miss Saigon is lavish, lusty and lively. It is a first class production that is a “must see.”
Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: November 2, 2013
For more info checkout the Miss Saigon page at theatreinchicago.com
At Paramount Theatre, 23 East Galena, Aurora, IL, call 630-896-6666, www.paramountaurora.com, tickets $36.90 – $49.90, Wednesdays at 1:30 & 7;30 pm, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 3 & 8 pm, Sundays at 1 & 5;30 pm, running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes with intermission, through November 24, 2013.