NEW YORK CITY — It’s Filipino night at this epic Broadway musical, Miss Saigon.
Many have seen Lea Salonga’s original version of the musical in the 90’s, but these kababayans came out to see the 2017 version and show their support for this mostly Filipino cast members.
“We brought Jersey City residents here, PAFCOM brought them,” said Helen Castillo. “Our program is s subsidized by PAFCOM, so we only have like half the ticket price! And we have the bus courtesy of Hudson County.
“This is the first time we will see them and this is a new cast,” said Rosalinda Rupel. “We are very supportive of them, and we hope we all Filipinos in the east coast will see it!”
Filipino singer Kirby Asunto has been singing songs from Miss Saigon most of her life, but she has never seen the musical until Wednesday night.
“It gives me inspiration and hope, because there’s a lot of, you know, white washing in Hollywood right now,” said Asunto. “I’m very happy that Miss Saigon got a chance to show itself here in Broadway in New York, so I’m very happy.”
Fans got to meet the Filipino cast members of the show during a talk-back after the 3 hour show.
Miss Saigon is an epic love story of a Vietnamese bar girl who fell in love with an American GI, as Saigon was falling during the Vietnam War.
For Filipinos who were witness to the horrors of WWII and the Vietnam War, Miss Saigon the musical remains relevant even to this day.
“Actually it’s very relevant,” recalled Lumen Castaneda. “As a matter of fact, I was there in Saigon during the Tet war, I was there, and my husband was working, and I had to fly there… there was a lot of bombing.”
With America possibly on the brink of war with North Korea, Castaneda says Miss Saigon opens people’s eyes about the effects of war.
“There were houses that were burned, houses that were directly hit by the bomb… and I saw people who had no arms, who had a lot of blood in them. It was an experience that I never want to undergo again.”
For Filipinos here, Miss Saigon is a source of pride and a revelation of truth — where talented Filipino cast members tell the story of a horrific past, that should never be allowed to happen again in the future.