As the earth spins, the night sky is turning a smokey blue this morning. Under the street lights below, a cranky garbage truck yawns while upstairs here in the loft the coffee maker gurgles and spurts perfume of kona roast. Filling a white bone china mug under the night light over the stove, I’m thinking of you and the perspectives to share on our progress in Miss Saigon rehearsals. Unbelievably, today is our last day at The Elks rehearsal hall. We move into the theater tomorrow. During lunch yesterday, we went over to the theatre to see the set being loaded in. My friend, it took my breath away! A massive, imposing steel monster of sculpted red bamboo scaffolds. Half built, a disturbing image of a now sleeping giant soon to awake and find its legs. Violent, nightmarish. All I could think of is the work to do for us to be as prepared as possible to approach this beast. After lunch yesterday, Lighting Designer Jesse Klug, Projection Designer Mike Tutaj and Sound Designer Adam Rosenthal attended our second “stumble through” and the cast championed the day with remarkable performances. The Ensemble is tireless and precise playing opposite poles of crushing machine like precision and robust full throated singing. The heart and empathy rendered in scenes depicting Vietnamese boat people at the end of Act 1 and the victims left behind during the The Fall of Saigon in the nightmare sequence in Act 2, illuminate the humanity and tragic plight of these people. Power tenor Brandon Moorhead is developing young G.I. “Chris” and his complex struggle with first love, the horror of war and its aftermath in this portrait of a soldier’s trauma and regrets. Shawna Shin’s teenage “Kim” depicts a baptism by fire into womanhood with eloquence, strength and passion casting a spell as she sings. Like magic, Sophie Kim ramped up her portrayal of the tough and sexy “Gigi” in her heart bursting rendering of “Movie In My Mind”….and Emilie Lynn, powerfully sympathetic from the start and with formidable singing chops continues a growth in the role of Chris’s American wife, “Ellen”, that manifested new heights in her soliloquy that had the room cheering. Joe Foronda’s “Engineer” is unstoppable as he nails moment to moment with a piercing black laser look in his eyes, the scheming opportunist reveling in this hell.
Time. Never seems to be enough time. More later.
My love & thanks,