by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News
The heat is on in Saigon.
An hour before Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil’s beloved “Miss Saigon” officially opened on Broadway Thursday night, the cast and crew came together for a special blessing, Broadway’s traditional gypsy robe ceremony.
On the show’s official opening night, Fil-Am actress Catherine Ricafort was chosen to receive the special gypsy robe.
Cast members traditionally touch the robe for luck, as the chosen “gyspy” circles the stage three times.
She then visits all the dressing rooms, and the show is blessed.
This Broadway tradition is given to the member of the chorus who has the most Broadway musical chorus credits.
Ricafort has seven shows under her belt — including Mama Mia, Allegiance, Cinderella, Honeymoons in Vegas, and Miss Saigon.
“Being the gypsy means that you go from show to show, and you set the example for taking care of each other,” said Ricafort. “It’s a hard job that we do, spreading the love, taking care of teammates, your cast and your family.”
Miss Saigon, a 3-hour epic love story of a Vietnam girl and an American GI set in war-torn Vietnam in the 70’s — showcases the Filipino talent.
On their Broadway debuts, Fil-Am actress Eva Noblezada leads the cast as Kim – a role originated by Tony-winner Lea Salonga.
Rachelle Ann Go plays the “movie in her mind,” as Gigi.
Devin Ilaw plays Thuy, while Jon Jon Briones is the villainous Engineer.
“I can’t feel anything,” said Briones. “I’m over the moon.”
“Hindi po ako makapaniwala; what an amazing night,” said Go. “Talagang lahat ng energy po binigay namin. Up to now I’m still floating, and I’m grateful na finally nakapag-open po tayo dito sa Broadway.”
In time for opening night, the critics’ official reviews are out.
AM New York says that “[Miss Saigon] is more relevant and heartbreaking today, than when it premiered on Broadway in 1991 at the same theater.”
“Mr. Briones gives a far more realistic performance than mr. Jonathan price did,” said the New York Times. “His solos are the musical’s most memorable numbers.”
Entertainment Weekly says “Eva Noblezada is probably the show’s biggest wow – her voice doesn’t falter.”
“I’m blown away,” said Tony award nominee Norm Lewis. “This is amazing, the cast is amazing. Come see the show.”
April 26 is Filipino Night at the show.
Fans will get a chance to chat with select cast members during a talk back after the show.
‘Miss Saigon’ is playing at NYC’s Broadway Theater until January 2018, before it goes on a national tour.