THE STORY OF MISS SAIGON - APRIL 1975
 

Facts about
Miss Saigon

World premiere on
September 20, 1989,
at the Theatre Royal, London.

Broadway premiere on
April 11, 1991,
at the Broadway Theatre, NY,
with a record-breaking $37 million
in advance sales.

More than 25 million people
have seen Miss Saigon worldwide.

More than 10 million in the
U.S. alone have seen the show.

Grossed more than $750 million
in nine countries.

Grossed more than $425 million
in the U.S. in 22 cities.

Winner of 27 major
international awards.

Tony Award Winner Productions
in English, Hungarian, Japanese,
German, Danish, and Dutch.

It is Friday night in Saigon, shortly before the fall of the city and the final withdrawal of the American troops from Vietnam. At a sleazy after-hours club called 'Dreamland', owned by a notorious Eurasian wheeler-dealer known as 'The Engineer', Vietnamese bar girls are preparing for the nights 'contest' for the title of Miss Saigon and the privilege of becoming the prize in the evenings raffle. The engineer is marshaling the proceedings, urging the girls to go out front and hustle for him and themselves. It is their only way to earn enough money to survive and perhaps get a passport out of the country before the city falls. Tonight he is introducing a young virgin, Kim, 'fresh from the country'.

The club is packed with American marines, civilians and South Vietnamese officers. Among them are two GIs, Chris and John, out to get drunk, laid or both. Chris sees Kim and is instantly taken by her. The contest is won by Gigi, who, in turn, is won by one of the marines.

As the action freezes on stage, Gigi is joined by all the other girls who fantasize about finding a GI to take them away to their dream life in America, far from the sordid nightclub and the impending disaster which will fall on the city when the North Vietnamese army reach Saigon.

John tries to cheer Chris up by buying him Kim's services for the night. After a tentative meeting, they eventually dance together and Kim takes Chris to her tiny bare room. Later that night, with Kim soundly asleep but the city still bustling outside the small window, Chris reflects on his feelings. He leaves some money for Kim, and goes out to the street. There, he is accosted by locals who beg him to help them leave the country. He returns to the room, and, looking at Kim for the last time, realizes she will be his best memory of Saigon.

Kim awakens, as Chris is about to leave the room. She refuses to take the money Chris has left and tells him how she came to be there. Chris immediately decides that he wants to spend his last few days in Saigon with her.

The next day, Chris telephones John to tell him he's moving in with Kim and is spending his last 48 hours in Saigon with her. John is horrified; events have snowballed and Saigon is on the brink of invasion by the North Vietnamese army.

To maximize their time together Chris strikes a deal with the Engineer to release Kim from her duties at the club.

The bar girls help Kim to move into her room that she will share with Chris. A Shrine is set up for the occasion and the girls and Kim sing Vietnamese words traditionally used to celebrate weddings. The festivities are interrupted by Kim's cousin, a man to whom she was promised when she was just 13, and is now an officer in the North Vietnamese army. Chris protects her and sends Thuy away. He then takes Kim in his arms and proposes to take her to America.

 
       
       
 
HO CHI MINH CITY - APRIL 1978
 
 

The action moves forward three years. Saigon has been renamed Ho Chi Minh City and the victory of North Vietnam and the third anniversary of reunification is being celebrated in a street pageant.

Kim is in the small room she shares with a number of Vietnamese. In the early morning, she sings about the GI who she still believes will come back for her. But Chris, who now believes Kim to be dead, is back home on the other side of the world, asleep in his bed and haunted by nightmares. Next to him is Ellen, his wife. She too sings of her hopes - that he'll finally leave behind whatever is troubling him.

The Engineer returns to Ho Chi Minh City from a reeducation camp. Thuy, now the people's commissar, offers him his freedom in exchange for finding Kim. The Engineer leads Thuy to her, but she again rejects his love because she is sworn to Chris. Thuy orders his soldier to wreck her room and beat up the Engineer. Kim reveals she that she has a three year old son, Tam, by Chris; when Thuy tries to stab the boy, Kim pulls out a gun and is forced to shoot Thuy. Afterwards, she and Tam run away.

When soldiers discover that Thuy has been murdered, all hell breaks loose, and the Engineer escapes to his hideout in the abandoned backroom of what was once 'Dreamland'. He collects his few treasured possessions and prepares to join the boat people in fleeing his war torn country.

Kim and Tam burst in on the Engineer and tell him what has happened to Thuy, asking him for help to leave the country. On discovering that Tam is the son of a marine, The Engineer identifies him as a root for freedom for them all.

Transported by the belief that the long-awaited reunion for her family will take place, Kim sings to Tam, telling him that she will do anything for him. They join the 'boat people' and leave the country.

 
       
     
 
ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 1978
 
 

John is now working for an agency that deals with the problems of children born to Vietnamese women with absent American fathers, and is addressing a conference in Atlanta attended by Chris and Ellen.

After his address, John tells Chris his staff in Bangkok have found Kim alive and working there. He also tells Chris of the child he has fathered.

 
       
     
 
BANGKOK - OCTOBER 1978
 
 

In a street in the sleazy district of Patpong, the Engineer and his rivals are seen hustling for customers outside a nightclub called Le Moulin Rouge.

John finds Kim working there as a bargirl, and tells her Chris is with him in Bangkok. On seeing Tam and hearing of Kim's undying love for Chris, John is unable to tell her that Chris is already married, and can only promise to send him to see her.

Kim is confronted by Thuy's ghost, who reminds her not only of her guilt but draws her into memories which continually haunt her of the devastating fall of Saigon when she and Chris separated, and, with a huge crowd of Vietnamese pushing at the Embassy gates, she failed to get past the guards and saw the last helicopter take off with Chris on board.

The Engineer, who does not trust Chris or John, finds the address of the hotel where they are staying, and Kim runs to find Chris.

Meanwhile, Chris and John are traveling through the city to find her.When Kim reaches the hotel Ellen mistakes her for the maid. On learning the truth, Kim is distraught and urges Ellen to take Tam back to America with her, but she refuses.

After Kim leaves, Ellen determines to fight for Chris. On Chris and John's return, Ellen tells them what has happened, and despite Kim's wish to see Chris alone, they decide to go together and persuade her to stay in Bangkok where they will support her and the child.

Kim returns to the club and lies to the Engineer, telling him that Chris will arrive later that evening to take them all to America. The Engineer finally believes his dreams will come true, and fantasizes about his inevitable success in manipulating the American Dream to his own ends.

Meanwhile, Kim has decided to sacrifice her own life so that her son can have a future in America with his father, as previously promised. As Chris arrives with Ellen and John, Kim disappears into her bedroom. A gunshot rings out and her body falls to the floor. A distraught Chris runs in and holds Kim in his arms for one last time as the curtain falls.

 
       
       
       
       
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