Auditions set for "Miss Saigon," UHH spring musical


Auditions for “Miss Saigon,” the University of Hawaii at Hilo spring musical, will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 20-21, at the UH-Hilo Performing Arts Center. They are open to college-age and older actors. All will be required to sing at the audition, either as a soloist if seeking a lead role, or in a group if interested in a chorus role.

Soloists must bring sheet music for 16 bars of a song from the musical theater genre, while chorus auditionees will be taught a song from the show at the audition. A dance sequence will also be taught, so comfortable clothing that allows movement is essential.

The Boubil-Schonberg-Maltby musical, based on Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly,” takes place in Vietnam in the mid-1970s as American troops vacate Saigon, leaving behind a war-ravaged country and unexpected love. The musical won numerous awards, including 1991 Tony awards for Best Actress and Best Actor in a Musical, and has toured the world ever since its premiere in 1989.

UH-Hilo Professor Jackie Pualani Johnson will direct the show, with retired Department of Education teacher and professional musician Armando Mendoza as musical director. UHH dance instructor Celeste Staton will choreograph, with Kawai Soares and Kawehi Kanoho-Kalahiki as student choreographers. Amy Horst, director of choral activities at UHH, will team with senior Kait Wilson to work with singers. Ariana Bassett, resident designer, is in charge of scenery and lighting.

“Several lead roles are available: The Engineer, half-Vietnamese and half-French, who is a raunchy master of ceremonies/pimp in a Saigon bar; Kim, a girl orphaned at 17 and forced to make a living dancing with soldiers in the Dreamland bar; Thuy, promised to Kim in marriage but now embittered and rising in Communist military ranks; Chris, the American G.I. who falls inexplicably in love with Kim; John, Chris’ G.I. friend who eventually follows his conscience; and Ellen, who married Chris years after his Vietnam tour and chooses to stand by his side,” Johnson noted.

Secondary roles call for strong actors/singers/dancers as Gigi, Mimi, Yvette, and Yvonne, who work at Dreamland and share Kim’s hopes for a better life. Finally, a young Eurasian boy, age 3-5, is needed to play Tam, the child arising from Kim and Chris’ union. Parents of young actors interested in this role should contact Johnson to discuss the rehearsal and performance commitment at 932-7491 or by e-mail: jpjohnso@hawaii.edu.

 

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