I walked into the theater knowing that the show was about the love story of a Vietnamese girl and an American soldier during the Vietnam War. I knew nothing else, and was unprepared for the incredible beauty and emotion I encountered.
I was brought to tears by the scenes of forbidden and then unrequited love, I laughed at the much-needed comic relief character, and many of the songs sent chills down my spine due to the haunting melodies and lilting voices.
Mary Celeste Arras, a junior Energy Management major at the University of Tulsa, plays the role of Yvonne, a young Vietnamese woman who lives in Saigon working as a dancer to entertain American soldiers.
Arras was “so excited to be performing … with a cast of highly trained actors,” along with a professional actress who has been in many productions across the country and in the Philippines.
Nicole Barredo was brought to Tulsa specifically to star as the character of Kim in Miss Saigon, and it was clear to me during the performance that she knows a great deal about theater and music. Barredo’s singing was wonderfully emotional, and her acting was flawless. Each time she cried out in agony, her pain resonated with anyone who has lost someone they loved.
In addition, according to Arras, “she is an all-around genuine person…giving those who ask great advice on character development and acting choices.”
These actors and actresses have been working tirelessly for their own characters as well as the rest of the cast and crew and the audience who cheers for them every night.
“Each production is better than the last … (because they) push (themselves) farther every performance,” and their persistence pays off. A standing ovation was readily given by audience members, and it was well-deserved.
In the words of Arras, “becoming a character for one night is easy; having to continuously build and grow with a character every day has been quite the challenge.”
The individual effort is evident in each character, but perhaps more astounding is the teamwork that is shown by the chemistry between the members of the cast. Each actor played out his or her role to the absolute best of their ability, no matter how large or small the role.
I recommend that everyone see Miss Saigon this weekend. There are shows at 8pm on the 16th through the 19th, and Saturday and Sunday have 2pm showings. It is for mature audiences, but the music, talent, dancing, costumes and history are all extremely valid reasons to visit the Tulsa PAC this week.