Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, February 26, 1999

‘Miss Saigon’
finally comes
to Hawaii

A seven-week run begins
Oct. 7 at the Blaisdell
Concert Hall

By Tim Ryan


After speculation on when "Miss Saigon" would arrive in Hawaii, the musical is set to land at the Blaisdell concert hall for a seven-week run beginning Oct. 7.

The show will appear through Nov. 28, according to Alan Wasser Associates, the show's booking agency in New York City. "Miss Saigon" is famous for dozens of complicated scene shifts and 91 special effects -- including a simulated helicopter landing.

Producer Ronald Andrew of Eagle Eye Entertainment in Toronto said the contract with city officials has been signed. Casting for the Honolulu dates of the national touring company and ticket prices have not been set, said Andrew, who expects to announce the details here in April. "I promise you there will be some really intriguing surprises," he said.

Andrew also will be announcing his company's future plans for Hawaii's theater-goers. "We think there are other shows good for your market," he said, declining further comment.

One of those shows is "Fame - The Musical." Andrew is one of three producers for the national touring company of "Fame."

The Star-Bulletin has learned the city apparently has blocked out dates in March of next year for the musical at the Blaisdell concert hall.

City officials did not return Star-Bulletin calls yesterday.

"Fame -- The Musical" was inspired by the Academy Award-winning movie and television series about the star-struck students in New York City's High School for the Performing Arts.

It's taken more than eight years for "Miss Saigon" to make its way to Hawaii because of the distance and expense of shipping the set and equipment.

As to whether Lea Salonga would reprise the title role of Kim, Andrew declined comment.

Salonga originated the role of the Vietnamese "Madame Butterfly" who falls for an American G.I. during the fall of Saigon when the play opened on Broadway in 1991. She won every major theater award for best actress that year. Salonga returned to Broadway in that role in January.

A controversy erupted in Honolulu last year when the city attempted to prevent the Honolulu Symphony from using the concert hall for up to three months to accommodate "Miss Saigon."

"The symphony is delighted that the city and Mayor Harris have been so helpful in resolving the conflicts we had with 'Miss Saigon,'" said Michael Tiknis, symphony executive director.

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