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Miss Saigon (Original 1989 London Cast) Cast Recording

4.7 out of 5 stars 187 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, February 13, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It's probably best known for raising the stakes for 1980s blockbuster shows by landing a helicopter on stage, but Miss Saigon is also a good show with good music. As a follow-up to their international smash Les Misérables, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (with an assist from Richard Maltby Jr.) adapted the tale of Madame Butterfly to the Vietnam War, realized here by the original 1989 London cast. While it may seem overheated at times, the despair and passion fit the tragic story, and Schönberg's pop-flavored style receives its most appropriate setting. Leading the cast are Jonathan Pryce as the Engineer (a Eurasian character whose casting generated some controversy when the producers wanted to have Pryce, a Caucasian, reprise the role on Broadway), Lea Salonga (in her first major role) as the young Vietnamese bride, Simon Bowman as her lover, and Claire Moore as his American wife (and a young Ruthie Henshall as one of the sweaty bargirls). The songs include the bawdy opener "The Heat Is on in Saigon," "The Movie in My Mind," "Why God Why," the romantic duet "The Last Night of the World," the female duet "I Still Believe," the male chorus number "Bui-Doi," and the Engineer's mocking "The American Dream." The booklet includes photographs and full lyrics.

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It's probably best known for raising the stakes for 1980s blockbuster shows by landing a helicopter on stage, but Miss Saigon is also a good show with good music. As a follow-up to their international smash Les Misérables, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (with an assist from Richard Maltby Jr.) adapted the tale of Madame Butterfly to the Vietnam War, realized here by the original 1989 London cast. While it may seem overheated at times, the despair and passion fit the tragic story, and Schönberg's pop-flavored style receives its most appropriate setting. Leading the cast are Jonathan Pryce as the Engineer (a Eurasian character whose casting generated some controversy when the producers wanted to have Pryce, a Caucasian, reprise the role on Broadway), Lea Salonga (in her first major role) as the young Vietnamese bride, Simon Bowman as her lover, and Claire Moore as his American wife (and a young Ruthie Henshall as one of the sweaty bargirls). The songs include the bawdy opener "The Heat Is on in Saigon," "The Movie in My Mind," "Why God Why," the romantic duet "The Last Night of the World," the female duet "I Still Believe," the male chorus number "Bui-Doi," and the Engineer's mocking "The American Dream." The booklet includes photographs and full lyrics. It's also available in a 58-minute highlights version. --David Horiuchi
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 13, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B000000ORS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,845 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
To follow up on their first musical, 'Les Miserables', Alain Boublil
and Claude-Michel Schonberg created another absolute masterpiece in
'Miss Saigon'. Like 'Les Mis', 'Miss Saigon' presents listeners with
an array of inspiring music and lyrics which appeal to their senses
and emotions. Every song in the score is worth listening to for its
meaning, symbolism and beauty. Set in the Vietnam War, 'Miss Saigon'
follows the love-story between a young girl, Kim (played by Lea
Salonga), and an American GI, Chris (played by Simon Bowman), yet ends
tragically due to the events which occur around the two
protagonists.
After viewing Lea Salonga's performance in 'Hey! Mr
Producer', I bought this version of 'Miss Saigon', later buying the
1995 Studio Cast. Salonga's performance on this album; with her
beautifully precise voice and way of creating emotional energy,
captures the spirit of the innocent, yet strong-willed, Kim perfectly,
especially in the duet "The Movie in My Mind". Her solo
performances in the songs; "I'd Give My Life For You" and
"The Sacred Bird" reveal the passion that Kim feels for her
son, Tam, and Chris. Yet, it is Salonga who brings this character to
life with her fantastic voice. Joanna Ampil's performance in the 1995
Studio Cast is equally brilliant, but Salonga just cannot be
beaten.
The character of Chris is admired at the beginning of the
musical, but toward the end a negative view is held of him, as he
chooses his new wife, Ellen (played by Claire Moore), over Kim. Simon
Bowman does an incredible job in portraying Chris, with his nicely
ranged and emotional voice. His performance of "Why God
Why?
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Format: Audio CD
This musical, penned by two amazing musical geniuses, is unparalleled in feeling, emotion, and striking the right tone about a very turbulent period in my generation's history. The story is a love story, a tragedy, and a telling indictment of the 70's American dream all in one. But, above all, it contains some of the most beautiful melodies and lyrics, as well as a remarkably haunting song in "Bui Doi". The several duets sang by Simon Bowman and Lea Salonga are so beautiful and even magical. The original cast did a remarkable job bringing the words and music to life. I saw this show shortly after it opened in 1989 in London and have listened to the music regularly since then. Of the 75+ musicals I have seen in my life, this is one of the 3 best. I recommend this soundtrack to everyone who enjoys show music and "Bui Doi" as one of the most haunting and emotional songs I have ever heard.
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Format: Audio CD
No one beats Lea Salonga in doing Kim. She was fantastic when she recorded this when she was only 18, but she was just downright amazing when she closed the show on Broadway more than a decade later. What a treat!
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Format: Audio CD
This was the follow-up by the same folks that brought us "Les Miserables". They are both superb pieces of work. I've seen both productions live several times and have listened to both soundtracks beyond counting. While nobody is asking for a competition of the two, I like "Miss Saigon" better.
This is one of those works where I would have no problem putting it on continuous play, and then letting the machine keep starting over once it ends. This is a story that grabs you from the beginning and holds you there until the final number. Every character is three dimensional and not some musical stereotype.
The songs are superb. Like "Les Miserables", they seem at home with the folks who's profession is to tantalize the "legitimate" population with promises of uncomplicated sexual encounters. Most of the characters are either working in a b-girl dive or are the soldiers they service. The songs are crafted to show that there is a lot of pain on both sides, and even though none of them are perfect, you at least get to sympathize with one doing with the cards they have been dealt in life.
But where it excels is that is takes what would probably be a five-star musical to begin with, and add a lot of well-done social conscience to the story. Yes, we've heard a lot about the tragedy of Vietnam in many forms. But this one concentrates on one seldom heard issue, which is the thousands of babies with American soldier fathers left behind once we withdrew from the country. To pull off such a serious subject that your average theatre-goer would want to see and succeed so spectacularly puts this one in six-star territory.
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By charter on February 4, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is a very powerful and touching musical. I'm not surprised that this has become the 6th longest-running production in Broadway history.
Although I would have preferred listening to a "current version" recording with the original London cast in it, this will do. No one will ever beat Lea Salonga - who's done all versions (London and the original & revised Broadway versions) -- in her portrayal of Kim!
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By A Customer on April 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is a CD to treasure it's passionate, personal,sad, beautiful, and it will even give you chills. From peppy upbeat songs (The Heat is on In saigon, The American Dream), to stunning ensemble numbers (This is The Hour, The Fall of Saigon) to beautiful forein language songs (The Ceremony)and stirring Ballads (Why God?, I'd give my Life for you, Now that I've seen her)Each song brings something new and amazing! Jonathon Pryce is pitch-perfect in the portrayal of the Engineer the Sleazy pimp, the fixer. He is at times hilarious, and at sometimes Pitiful (but the American Dream is his showstopping number!)LEA SALONGA IS Kim!!! There's not another actress who could be better! Her words are so true, honest, and beautiful (her voice soars in i'd give my life for you, and you can feel her pain in Sacred Bird)even though she's only an actress, she makes you feel so much for Kim, that you wanna rush out and save her! she is brilliant! Simon Bowman (Chris) is very good (but can't match Lea) sometimes he sounds sounds like he's overacting, but his perfect amazing redition of Why God is one of the best numbers of the show, but you can feel his pain in the finale. Claire Moore(Ellen) gives a performance to be admired, she holds all the
emotion of meeting Kim, to herself, but has to give in and express her pain (in her absolutely stunning rendition of Now that I've seen her). Sometimes the role of Ellen can come off as mean, but She brings humanity, suffering and a great deal of kindness to her role. Peter Polycarpou is great as activist John. He is real! Bui doi, is a very good number for him to sing out his considerable stuff! I especailly like his quite, but painfully torn duet with Kim in Please. Keith Burns (Thuy) doesn't do much, but has a good voice, and is a believable creep, who had it comin'!
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