Broadway's Miss Saigon: "Cast of the Musical Revival" | Talks at Google

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[Music] on behalf of the toxic Google team I would like to welcome you all to see today's talks at Google with the cast of the Broadway revival of Miss Saigon for those of you unfamiliar with Miss Saigon this comes from the creators of lame is Rob the musical Miss Saigon is the epic story of a young vet Vietnamese woman named Kim in a bar run by a notorious character called the engineer Kim meets a young American GI that encounter will change their lives forever featuring stunning spectacle a sensational cast of 45 and a soaring score including Broadway hits like last night of the world I still believe and I'd give my life for you this is a theatrical event you will never forget so to whet your appetite a little bit we've got a little sizzle reel from the show to give you a little preview and then we're gonna have the cast come up and perform a couple of numbers after which we'll do a little Q&A at the end we'll open it up to the audience so if you've got questions be sure to hold on to those to the end and we'll make sure we get to you all right thanks so much and enjoy the performance love story of our time is sweeping audiences off their feet Miss Saigon soars to the rafters it sensational in every way a passionate production brilliantly cast a dynamite Broadway revival the new Miss Saigon on Broadway [Applause] [Music] you [Music] in a place that'll won't let us fear in a life where nothing seems real I have found you [Music] I found you

[Music] I will hold [Music] our lives will change [Music] b-team drum and we'll have music all right Terry [Music] Oh crazies time goes on and on

Oh [Music]

like it's the last night

on the other side of the earth there is a place your life will have worth I will take

I know you'll see them all with me [Music] later on


goes on and on [Music] as shown us it's telling me to try and dance like it's the last night [Music] when I [Music] we'll see

[Music] so stay with me and called me try and dance like it's the last night [Music] [Applause]

[Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music]

how's everybody doing today aren't they pretty so basically at this point in the story my character John and a bunch of the Vietnam vets start a foundation called the boy boy foundation and what that is is that that is a foundation to raise money to go back to Vietnam to help the children that were basically produced by the war American citizens that have a right to live in America so this is a song about me asking you for your money so play along you got to be an audience that's your character we can't forget [Music] like all survivors I once thought when I'm home I won't give it down now I know I'm Claude I'll never leave Vietnam [Music] Wars and a Warren attends some pictures never leave your mind they are the faces of the children the ones we left behind they're caught we toy the dust of life concieved in hell and porn in stride they are the living reminder of all the good we failed to do we can't forget must not forget that they are are too these kids hit balls on every side they don't belong in any place they're secret they can't hide it's printed on their face I never thought one day I'd plead for half-breeds from a man that's torn but then I saw a camp for children whose crime was being born they're called bleed or the dust of life concieved in head [Music] we are their fathers had a family a loving home they never knew because we know deep in our hearts that they are our children too these are souls in need they need us to give someone has to pay for their chance to me [Music]

[Music] [Applause] [Music] Oh

that's why we know

[Laughter] ah children


hello again this next song is actually the finale of act 1 and without giving too much away the scene prior to this was very emotional very passionate and I realize in this moment that nothing is more important than protecting my child my son Tam who at this time is around three years old and the song is called I'd give my life for you


you who I cradled in my arms you asking as little as you can [Music] I know I'd give my life for you

you didn't ask me to be born why should you learn up a war or pay to eat you do not hurt again I swear I'd give my life for you I've tasted love beyond Alfea and you should know it's love that brought you here and in one [Music] when the stars burn like new I knew what I must [Music] I'll give you a world to conquer when grown you will be who you want to be can choose whatever heaven grunts as long as you can have your chair [Music] some nights a week reaching for him we feel his shadow brush my hair but it's just the proof I see this little one gods on the Sun bring hanjo [Music] you will be who you want to be [Applause] whatever heaven as long as you can have the child I swear I'd give my life for you no one can stop what I must do I swear I to give my life

[Music] that was amazing the singing was stunning so first of all thank you so much for being here maybe we could get it started by just sort of going down the row and introducing yourself and saying your character and the show my name is eva nobles odda and i play the role of Kim my name is Alistair Brahma I play the role of Chris I'm Graham Scott Fleming and I'm part of the ensemble hi I'm Billy Bustamante Molson the male ensemble Julian de Guzman also in the male ensemble Antoine L Smith captain Schultz male ensemble jon-jon briones I played the engineer Robert bindiya in the ensemble I think it was Christopher I play John so I'd love to kick things off by talking a little bit about the historical context of the show so this is obviously a show that is deeply rooted in history clearly the show is fiction but it's set it very distinctly in a specific time period basically the end of the via Vietnam War and the fall of Saigon I'm freakin pretty safely say most of us here probably were not born at this time and did not have a chance to experience this firsthand so how did you guys go about getting the context of the show did you have members that the creative team brief you on facts and history and sort of how did you get up to speed on the first day of rehearsal or the first kind of three days of rehearsal all of us together watched documentaries and we also talked about books and we talked about different things that we we've learned about the Vietnam War in terms of the context and the time period excuse me but then also this show is based on Madame Butterfly told through the lens of the Vietnam War so with those heightened circumstances it allows us to take certain artistic liberties with with the show but for the most part we all got on the same page about how long the war was what it was like to get out what the repercussions of the war after yeah we took like you know three four days to do dramaturgy got it and I know that many members of the cast's are not actually from the US or from Vietnam and I think we've got Bermuda Canada UK Philippines represented maybe even other countries do you guys feel for those of you born outside of the US do you have like you come to this with a different perspective then say you know the average American who's maybe been steeped in Vietnam history and sort of like what the Vietnam War represented I feel I feel more pressure I feel a lot of pressure and to to do the story justice as someone that wasn't that wasn't around during that that time and who isn't from here because you you don't want to do a disservice to anybody that was involved in the story so that's how I feel I feel and it's a duty to do it as truthfully and honestly as possible I was born and raised in the Philippines and during the fall of Vietnam we we had a lot of refugees come to the Philippines but two boatloads of refugees for maybe three so I've lived that I actually am born and raised in one of the slums of Manila so I understand the squalor the you know the the difficulties maybe not as as you know as much as how they what they experience in in Vietnam but I understand it more coming from from you know from a third world country and obviously I think what's what happens in the context of the play has a lot of resonances with what's going on in the world today especially you know Kim the engineer tam become refugees have to flee there home this has a lot of parallels about what's been going on in the Middle East in the last several years how much does the current political context if at all shape your performances I think especially now when when things are so easily triggered and heated it's important to have these conversations but on the table so that we can talk about them and then there is an open dialogue about well the story and what's great is that there's not I believe that when you come and see the show if you open with if you listen with open ears there's no way that you cannot be emotionally affected there's no way that you can leave the theater without thinking oh my god you know what that reminds you know that the same things going on today the refugees you know that that happened oh look at the natural disasters happening all the refugees that you know it's it it is all you know this story is legendary and timeless because no matter when you put it in history it will be relevant there is always war there is always going to be some kind of devastation happening throughout the country politically and with the people and it's it's great to have like I said an open dialogue about it and I think as well you know as being as Americans what we do what we do in other countries in the past had a lot of effects on on the world our policies it's it's it's not being preachy but the story is that we we in our story we talk about what we've done in that country what what happened to people that the effects the what we produce there and and all of this is all but you know we have a love story that that is the main point there okay so one of the things I guess that's sort of more general in terms of people who have been impacted by the war and effects I was reading a story in the times where I think one of your castmates talked about how a certain Vietnam vet would come back and it was cathartic they would come once a week have you seen any impacts like or heard from any members of the audience either Vietnam vets we're on the flip side of the coin people who were in Vietnam and where impacted who come to this and have certain reactions because they were directly impacted I well actually when I was on tour I've been doing this show for a long time so I was on tour in the Midwest the very first show we did and one of our crew guys because if you be seeing the show the very first thing you hear is the sound of a helicopter and it's rumbling it's really strong and this guy one of our crew members just froze like this and we found that he was a Vietnam veteran and he couldn't move and that was you know it's still affected them and you know it's still they still felt it we met somebody in London backstage who it was a grandmother who didn't speak a word of English and her granddaughter was translating everything is she was one of the boat people that came across and that was really extraordinary to hear from the tales and another story about someone my age or a bit older actually who was put in a box to kind of hide away on one of the boat it's just incredible the stories you hear and you get I think we've gotten a few boys at the at the stage door as well is - it really doesn't packed everybody which i think is quite special I had a guy there was a guy he was an American who was was there and you sort of obviously you know with the lighting and set design you try and recreate the world as best as you can but when you've got three walls and a theatre of a thousand plus seats is I always feel like we must be failing because of course it doesn't look like Vietnam you know but this guy said it does he said it I mean you guys have really captured the heat of the place it's what he said to me he said ever it just looks so hot and that's all like that's my biggest memory of that place was how hot it was and how busy it was he said it really does capture that's what he said I'm not sure he said it really captures the essence of what that place was for him which was a great thing to hear you know mm-hmm so it looks actually period a little bit from the historical context talk a little bit more about this production itself so obviously I think most people will know this is a revival of a show that was on broad in the early 90s tremendous success both critically financially so I'd love to know a little bit about how the show has changed my understanding is this is not a direct Carbon Copy they're even a new song changes to much of the lyrics so I don't know if any of you would feel comfortable talking about at John John I know that you've been with the show actually the longest and actually from the original cast but would love to hear your perspective about how things have changed over time and how this is different from the previous original production it's totally different yeah our set the original set is it's beautiful because it was I think it was the most high-tech set ever because things were just gliding in and out and the first time you see it you go oh my god and when you first see the helicopter going like but this time around I think it's more it's grittier that the the producers have been doing this for a long time so now they know what they want they want this grittier because of the new for the new audience and the times have changed it's it's not as pretty and as as you know you know it needs to represent what really happened back then so it is uglier it's it's hotter it's it's it's not pretty like for example the very first scene they they want it they don't want people to go oh my god that is so fun I want to be in it they want you to see it and go oh my god that's disgusting that's that you know that's awful from my understanding I believe that first just to piggyback off of what John John said the first production was much closer it was much more heightened and much closer to an opera and now our show really kind of flows very nicely almost in a maduk way it's it's it seems to be more high-def doesn't it now I think yeah kind of sharper and speaking of changes with the production said this current production started out in the West End in 2014 if I'm correct I believe John John Alistair you guys were part of the original production out Eve as well of course so did you see changes from the production when you brought it from the UK to the US and is that like is it is it is a response to the audience or is it was it hey we figured out these things work didn't work in London so when we're making the transfer we want a sort of overhaul yeah it has chaser tanam lyrical changes it's funny each time you come and sort of revisit it because I did the show for a year in London and then went away and then and then I came back to it very briefly to read we did a filmed version and then we've come here and each time it's just they just try and sort of delete any of the things that are considered to be unrealistic there's an there's just a few little single kind of syllables and and sort of O's that are quite sort of musical theater well we don't need that anymore you know that so it seems to becoming more and more real more and more conversational I think each time you revisit it I feel like it like trims the fat off of it a bit like when Nick was saying it's kind of it started off kind of like an opera I feel like now almost you could consider it a play with song because it does it's so smooth the way that the production goes from my understanding you know you bring in different actors who are all frickin outstanding and the whole dynamic changes you have different chemistry between different people and you have different stories and different perspectives of like say Ellen she is a critical role in the show and one of the hardest in the show she comes onstage and she has to she has very little time but every single second millisecond counts and it's worth wait just as much as the Kim that Kim and the engineer and with that like you have different people playing it you're gonna have different you know staging you're gonna have different ways of storytelling through the songs and and reacting with with the other performers cool sort of speaking about the impact of individuals I would love the talk little bit about some of your individual journeys because I think we've got some really fascinating stories in terms of your backgrounds the Eva you have a really interesting journey in terms of sort of your how your path to the professional theatre world my understanding is that when you were in the West End production that was your first professional performance out so I'm ever getting paid okay would you mind she was 17 which is crazy and amazing would you talk a little bit about your journey and how you were discovered and what it was like to be seventeen and be the lead in a major epic musical mental it was it was it wasn't like all fun it was like the most difficult thing I've ever done I was a long story short I was plucked from a musical theater competition here in New York I'm at the Minskoff called the Jimmy Awards the national high school musical theater awards and from tar ribbon he's a casting director here knew that Saigon was with casting I had no idea hi I literally had nothing no experience before that and she they flew me we drove up to New York from North Carolina and I auditioned a few times and yeah that it really went quickly it was so difficult because I I mean I had I left high school I left everything but it was all worth it and then some because this shows like changed me it's been incredible but we but there's so many incredible stories like in the cast definitely I heard that Tara Rubin the casting director was there when she was singing and she went pulled out her phone and started recording and send it to Cameron Wow Cameron Cameron is the producer Cameron is the producer of the musical for those who aren't familiar that's that's pretty amazing and for those of you who don't know either was actually nominated for a Tony for Best Actress in a musical which is pretty amazing so I wanted to ask you were nominated against some pretty heavy heavy hitters I have it down here about see Bette Midler Patti LuPone christine ebersole what does it like to be like your age and against these people like where these your did you yeah I'm sure you knew who these people were where does it like to be sitting there it was surreal it was surreal but at the same time like it was just a good time because I don't really base my career off getting awards but obviously door what an honor um so it was just if a night like my the biggest highlight for me was getting to perform with the cast and knowing we kicked ass like we killed it like it was amazing so that was that was a big thing for me and just the the recognition for the show that's all that matters okay so proving to you John John you mentioned how you have a very we've talked a little bit about your long history like I said you were part of the original cast can you talk about what it's like and I understand that you performed this all over the world and in a variety of roles in a variety of countries what has it been like being so involved in one show for such a long period of time and do you have a favorite country and role that you've done in in your journey America yes I'm old I've been with the show on and off since 1989 this show means so much to me because because of this show I was able to leave the Philippines I was able to to have a better life for myself and my family I learned to speak English I'm still learning and it brought me to so many places so many countries I met my wife during the show in Germany in German I both my kids were born in England because of the show and they were born for free because it was London

it and actually a lot of us former Saigon actors we call this show the show that keeps on giving because not to be you know it's all it's one of the few shows that employs Asian actors and it's it's so important to us that we get a platform to be seen and to be you know to see us and say and people go oh yeah they can do that because of this I totally I I totally believe that because of the show Asian actors are seen in a different light now since it opened suddenly you know more more Asian actors are being employed more more Asian people want to go into arts because they've seen themselves on stage and they can do it and it's it means so much much much so much so I want to make sure that I get a little bit representation from everybody so I know many of you in this ensemble also understudy roles in the show I think for a lot of people here we're not in theatre I know Billy I think your swing is that right you're sorry Billy your swing as well I mean the ensemble of the show so I have a role in the show every night okay but then every now and then I go on for this lovely gentleman okay Wow so what would all of us who are understudies can you speak a little bit to what it's like to be an understudy on Broadway what it's like to be on the ensemble how often do you get to go on do you like are you rehearsing your roles that you're under studying for is that something you do frequently to sort of stay up to speed I think we have quite a few understudies here do we all want to say who we cover real quick I understood II the incomparable Nick Chris as John Paul I recently started under studying the role of tui I also understood e to e I understood he Alastair so Chris I understood Kim I would pay to see that one when Billy has going for the engineer then I have to understood it Billy so I discover ensemble people it's a circle of life for you I don't know if you guys feel the same way I feel like under studying in this show is very special I feel like the creative team from the get-go was not interested in like plugging us into very constrained parts where like I feel like as understudies were allowed to play and you know bring ourselves to the role as much as possible so for me I think it's a it's a really special experience and we get to it we get to rehearse quite often hi myself I enjoy the understudy rehearsal process because it gives you time to play in the room and I mean not not necessarily play in that matter but you know to kind of figure out the character and you get to work with different people during different rehearsals like we just added two new people to the ensemble so you know getting to work with the the new people that come in is very exciting and how often would you have the opportunity to get to step in um I think I've been on maybe seven or eight really very it is very like ultimately our jobs those understudies or swings or where we're insurance policies you know so we're in place you know so the audience still gets to know the narrative of the show so it's still the story is still told to them but it's special every time you go on because we we have a very very supportive casts in every ways it's it's kind of rare like how well we get along actually it's it's really cool because every time you go on you see the excitement you know and everyone's face is like oh you're on yeah and it just makes it that much more worth it you know when you have people behind you and supporting you and nurturing you in the role I mean it varies how many times you go on like you know some of us have been on 10 15 20 times other of us others have only been like once or twice or whatever but it's always a special experience anytime we have an understudy go on because it's like you're on alert you know as an ensemble of them remember whoever and show you you're always you know you're like in tune with then the the difference the subtleties the nuances that change the show because you have someone new into a role it's also kind of cool as an understudy this is my first time being an understudy but you get to see the show from a different light there's obviously the stories and the main characters who have a story that you can follow but ensemble members all have their own stories too so to go from that to also getting to do this this story and see his light through the show is quite a cool experience and it's also rare for the show not to suffer like if you ever come to see the show and you see that there's an understudy on the show is just as strong and sometimes it's a little it's a little bit stronger because if you're right it puts us all on alert and we're all on our toes and we're all really listening and we're all really reacting so the show is is just as good if not better sometimes when there are understudies on and to add to that sometimes they find out they're on that night late morning or early afternoon or you know one time I had a stomach bug and Antoine had to go on in the middle of the show Wow but the cast is so supportive in everybody so great they really were ladies for the performance the role of a John will be played by it was very exciting I will say that the first time you ever go on as an understudy like sometimes it's just it's a blur like you don't even remember what you've done because you're concentrating on being at the right place and saying the right words at the right time so and I often think that those are the best shows because you're so concentrated on doing it but you just don't remember it until the next day so I want to make sure that we have time to open up to some audience questions I've got some more questions for you but if anybody has a question I believe we have a mic yep over at that table that has a little red box ooh you approach the box like came up on it as it but while we're waiting for audience questions if there are any so I overheard a little bit while you were in the green room talking about Tam so Tim is the Sun and you if I understand there's four little boys who played actually three boys one girl one girl okay who played the role of Tim so I would imagine having a young child on the stage always makes things interesting can you tell us some interesting stories about what it's like you know so in London in London we had this the cutest cutest little boy and in the finale obviously without giving anything away come to the show it's very still it's very it's like moving through honey it seems like so if anything happens is out of place it's easily spotted and obviously with a small child you know that needs to be kept under so he needed to go to the restroom as soon as the the curtains opened and I can see it in his you know he was kind of going back and forth and he looked really really angry that he needed to go at the wrong time and I I hold him and I'm you know something else happening on the side of stage and I just say go ahead go ahead because if it would have been easier for him to do it then then yes he was on my lap he was cradling my lap sorry um and yeah so I did the curtain call with the beautiful stain of just piss but you know what he said sorry and he looked really really upset but in happens you know it's wonderful for the kids said sorry but it happens sorry I one of the children here might as funny as that but chase one of the kids JC plays Tim he walked over to me his job is to hand me a photograph and that's his that's his that's what he's taught to you in that moment and he decided to say he's been you're a slithering snake just on stage yeah on stage yeah he told her to he just looked at them and goes I hate you okay but he's a wonderful little boy if you made a mistake - cuz I remember going on for my first time I guess I forgot the whole grab the photo thing what he's talking about and he was waiting to do it and I was just trying to focus on plugging his ears and anyway we got off stage and he comes up to me and he's like you didn't take the photo [Laughter] it looks like we have a question from the audience hi i'm melina amazing I'm curious about your experience as actors of color on Broadway outside of Miss Saigon have you found that there have been more opportunities in the past do you find that actors of color are being cast more in lead roles instead of like you know the Asian friends sort of supporting role sort of deal or ID so I'm just curious about your experience as performers in New York and internationally um well for me I've noticed a huge difference since Hamilton really since Hamilton being such a big hit that now now it's it seems like the fad is to have actors of color being lead roles that's the new kind of phase that's happening right now which is great because it opens up doors for you know for alternative casting and having casting directors and creative teams think outside the box or their box and so I've noticed the rooms that I get in and the attention that I get once I get into those audition rooms and how seriously they take me which is nice there's still a lot of work to be done I think it definitely opened a massive door but at the same time it's also it's not just having them in the production it's the way that the light is shone on them it's not just having them as a token anything they're just as heavily influenced I mean this cast you can see it's a sucker punch to the gut with people of color and what who we represent as as a people and to see people at stage are going you look like me thank you and that is literally the best isn't it yeah and I have to say it's definitely not the lack of talent in the people of color I think it's the fear of people putting people of color in roles because of the fear of their monies or people coming to see the show but I think that times are now proving that you can definitely put people of color in roles of leading roles and people will still come and see the show people will come and see what you give them if you're not afraid to give them that they're gonna come no matter what color you are so and also one of my least favorite excuses is it's like well then why aren't people create why aren't people of color creating roles for other people of color and I was a part of a great show about prison and it was like six black guys on a stage playing you know a myriad of different parts in different cultures and everything like that and there there are so many more hurdles that are put in place that I had no idea realizing because it's about getting the money it's about getting the right producers but then once you have the right producers you also have to find a theatre and these theater owners have to be willing to gamble there if they're gonna have people come and gamble their money and their space on you know either they're gonna do this prison show with six black actors or they're gonna do you know Annie and that's like there's so many more hurdles tonight than I even knew before I got into this business I think we good oh yeah this isn't my question yeah no but I think I remember a friend I'm not a friend a person I don't like very much back back home once had he had a problem with the fact that that Javert in Lima zurab was was black and I said what's the I said what's problem and he said well a police officer back then wouldn't have been black and I just thought that's the fact that you think that modern Carson should be defined by what the past has said is absurd you know just because someone back then wouldn't have been you know that's irrelevant now it's it that really made that but for the most close mind thing I've ever heard to say that so I think this will be the last question but I'd ever want to get to you and then we'll wrap it up well thanks for coming so as someone new to New York never been to Broadway or seen a show any tips to make my first experience at get drunk Miss Saigon is a great first bring your friends go out for dinner how to proof mascara it's a good first date musical I recommend it don't stare too long at what's on stage you might get in trouble if people always talk about the price of tickets but there's their discounted tickets everywhere if you just walk up to the box office you can ask them if they have any discounts or you can go to on 47th Street right in Times Square there's TKTS but it has discounted tickets or there's even tickets today which is an app which that day you can go on that app and and you can find discounted tickets right and I was gonna say you can google just about any musical after after you Google please please put your phone away cuz sometimes you know we may phone so the light is shining like it's dark in the theatre but we see the light those damn Apple watch like focus just focus on what's happening in front of you be present you know but no I was gonna say you can Google any musical and read any review or any synopsis of a show that will pique your interest that will make you want to sit there and watch an entire two and a half or three hours to 40 and 4 on the of discounts for those of you in the audience we actually have a dedicated discount for Googlers at go slash Miss Saigon - discount I want to say a major thank you to the cast of Miss Saigon thank you guys so much for being here you were all wonderful give him a round of applause just so everybody knows the final performance of Miss Saigon will be on January 14th 2018 you can visit this igon show online at saigon Broadway comm you can follow them on twitter at instagram at miss saigon us or you can get tickets at the box office which is the broadway theatre 1681 Broadway at 53rd Street thank you guys so much for being here and thank you all for coming today [Music] [Applause]


More from this creator:
Experience the acclaimed new production of the legendary musical Miss Saigon, from the creators of Les Misérables. This is the epic story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim. In a bar run by a notorious character called The Engineer, Kim meets an American G.I. That encounter will change their lives forever. Featuring stunning spectacle, a sensational cast of 45, and a soaring score including Broadway hits like “Last Night of the World,” “I Still Believe,” and “I’d Give My Life for You,” this is a theatrical event you will never forget. We were joined by cast members Eva Noblezada, Alistair Brammer, Jon Jon Briones, Nick Christopher, Julian Deguzman, Graham Fleming, Billy Bustamante, Robert Pendilla, Antoine Smith, and Paul Miller. Moderated by Joel Newman.
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