Theater producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh has just confirmed with The Philippine Star entertainment editor and columnist, Ricky Lo, that plans for the highly anticipated revival of mega-musical "Miss Saigon" are underway for 2014. Lo was able to interview Mackintosh at the Tokyo premiere of "Les Miserables" movie, where the writer mentioned the recent auditions held in Manila to the British producer.
"Speaking of 'Miss Saigon,' there were auditions in Manila just three weeks ago and six [seven] actresses were chosen as 'finalists.' Are you really restaging the musical?" Lo asked Mackintosh.
"Yes, I'm going to restage 'Miss Saigon' in London as soon as I find the theater. In fact, yes, you're right…we have started preliminary auditions. When we did the show in London 25 years ago, we spent over a year looking for the cast. I hope that in the next 18 months it would be back in London. The new version has just opened here in Japan and it's a phenomenal success. It's going to be a different production but still the same great 'Miss Saigon,'" Mackintosh told Lo.
Read the transcript of the interview with Mackintosh HERE.
On a separate occasion, Hollywood Foreign Press Association chairman, Ruben Nepales, has also confirmed with BroadwayWorld.com, through regional editor Oliver Oliveros, that Mackintosh was indeed pleased with the outcome of the auditions in Manila. Nepales bumped into Mackintosh at one of the press junkets for "Les Miserables" movie in Manhattan last Monday.
The first international auditions for the London revival production of "Miss Saigon," which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2014, were held at the Philippine Opera Company's headquarters in Manila on November 19 to 22. More than 1,000 aspirants showed up; and at least seven female auditionees were shortlisted: local celebrities Rachelle Ann Go (Disney's "The Little Mermaid"), Frencheska Farr ("Emir"), and Aicelle Santos ("Party Pilipinas"), and thespians Tanya Manalang ("The King and I") and Apple Chiu ("The King and I"), among a few others, made it to the final round of auditions.
Male auditionees Bran Vargas, Khaya Maseko, Albert Job Bautista ("Rent"), Topper Fabregas ("Sweet Charity"), Noel Rayos ("Walang Sugat"), Eden Ang ("Spring Awakening"), Red Concepcion ("Equus"), Richardson Yadao, Lorenz Martinez ("The King and I"), Carlon Matobato ("William"), and Victor Sy, among others, also made the shortlist.
"We're potentially looking for a lot of people because Cameron Mackintosh has a lot of different projects. For instance, 'Miss Saigon' would need to have three Kims in it (because of vacation schedules): We're looking for the main actor, also the first understudy, and the second understudy. The same applies to all the lead characters. We'll see," music supervisor Stephen Brooker, one of the audition panelists, told BroadwayWorld.com Philippines.
"We've seen nearly over a thousand people in four days; and at various levels, everybody can sing. I've never known a country that has so many good singers. Obviously, there's a wonderful culture of singing here in the Philippines. It's wonderful to see that amount of commitment, and how much love there is for music," Brooker added.
No final casting choices were announced after the auditions.