Spring is in the air on this sunny day in Aurora!  After a relaxing holiday, I found myself up at dawn yesterday working on MISS SAIGON.  Cranked the Bose speakers at home this weekend and couldn’t help but think my neighbors must have been saying, “What’s he working on now?!”  My pulse raced at the very start with the helicopter effects and the power and majesty of the orchestra on the original London recording!  Based on Puccini’s MADAME BUTTERFLY, this really IS an opera in its own right!  Astonishing singing!

Exciting to revisit a great show.  It’s telling the way you realize how much you’ve changed since the last time you’ve heard it.  Especially if it’s been several years.  Your experience in life informs what you hear.  My appreciation for the piece skyrocketed.  How intricate and emotionally charged.   There I was Good Friday afternoon sauteing sausage and mushrooms (for a fresh homemade pizza) and wailing away in the kitchen with Kim, the orphaned Vietnamese bar girl and Chris, her American GI, and that pimp, The Engineer (a role I played a long time ago).  Memories washed over me.  And there is something about getting older.  How could I be even more thrilled with this work than I was then?  Life.  Death.  Experience.  The humanity you’re taught as you mature.  The authors’ poetry and incisive, compelling take on these young lovers spoke to me more eloquently.  To have love.  To lose love.  To never have known love.  The elixir of war and passion “like it’s the last night of the world!”   A story told during the red hot climate of panic and escape and evacuation upon The Fall Of Saigon in 1975.  I remember how we gave each other the stage during bows every performance.  Looking into each other’s eyes red from crying.  Seeing my fellow actors beaming smiles to the ovation of the audience on their feet.  This is a story that can pierce your heart.

God, I repeat myself in these blogs…reference sobs in every one!  Well, emotion is motion.  It feels alive to feel!  These experiences are moving.  You are so appreciated to give me this forum on the theatre we are exploring at Paramount.

Well, lots of thinking and paper work ahead.  So much will happen so quickly.  In a few weeks we’ll begin MISS SAIGON auditions.  The “Dreamland Girls” and the American GIs and The Commissar and the Vietnamese population of men and women in the throes of a time of hell on earth, all exalted by the love story of Kim and Chris.  Researching the historical, non-fiction source material is addicting.  There are countless images of tragic love stories.  The children there in Vietnam today, the sons and daughters of our service men born to Vietnamese girls.  We have a huge burden, this director and cast, in doing justice to this story.  Not to mention finding actors with the singing chops for these roles!  Keep a good thought!

-Jim Corti