The acclaimed Miss Saigon, brainchild of Les Misérables' writers Boublil and Schönberg, is reborn in the West End after 15 long years. It tells the heartbreaking story of Vietnamese girl Kim and American GI soldier Chris, who spark a relationship during the hellish last days of the Vietnam War. Kim is tragically orphaned by an air strike and is rescued by a shady nightclub owner in Saigon, but he rallies her into his gang of prostitutes. Chris visits the club with his fellow Marines and Kim is bought for him for the night. He protests to her treatment and they fall deeply in love. But Saigon is crumbling and the war is coming to its bitter end; Chris frantically tries to save Kim but is forced to return to America. Even though three years slip by Kim believes he’ll come back, and it is soon revealed why their one night together really was so special. Miss Saigon is based on the classic opea Madam Butterfly and features songs including “The Heat is On in Saigon,” “Sun and Moon,” “I Still Believe” and “The American Dream.”
2 March 2015
19 December 2015
2 Hours 40 Minutes
Miss Saigon has a rating of 12 plus. There are some sexually explicit scenes, strong swearing and violent themes.
The musical ‘Rio Rita’ was the Prince Edward Theatre’s first production and it wasn’t a huge success. It closed after only 59 performances and the following productions had a similar fate. ‘Nippy’ ran for 137 shows and the disastrous ‘Fanfare’ was only on for 3 weeks.
The theatre opened
The Prince Edward Theatre opened on 3rd April 1930 and was the first of many theatres to open in the West End that year. It was followed by the Cambridge Theatre, the Phoenix Theatre, Whitehall, the Adelphi Theatre, and the Leicester Square Theatre. The early 1930s marked a period of huge success for the London theatre scene despite the recent Wall Street Crash; many people wanted to spend time enjoying themselves following World War I.
The theatre was built
The building was designed by Edward.A.Stone, a notable theatre designer in the 1920s and 1930s, who also created the Steatham Astoria. The exterior was in the style of an Italian palace and it had a fashionable Art Deco interior. The Prince Edward Theatre was named after the then Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII. He is best known for his relationship with Wallis Simpson and his resulting abdication from the throne in 1936.
The theatre is renamed as the London Casino
The Prince Edward Theatre was purchased by new owners in 1936, and renamed as the London Casino. They converted the theatre into a dance and cabaret hall; the stage was turned into a dance floor and the lower floors of the theatre were transformed into kitchens. The venue was a huge success and the failed shows of the Prince Edward theatre were soon forgotten.
It was transformed into the Queensbury All Services Club
The theatre lay unused for two years following the bombing and re-opened in 1942 as the Queensbury All Services Club – a ‘forces theatre’ for serviceman. The live shows were broadcast on the radio by the BBC.
The Casino Cinerama Theatre
In 1954 T. and B. Braddock converted the theatre into a cinema. It had a ginormous curved ‘Cinerama’ screen of 64ft, the first of its kind in London. It was subsequently renamed as the Casino Cinerama Theatre.
Bernard Delfont bought the theatre
Bernard Delfont, one half of the theatre group Delfont Mackintosh, bought the venue in 1974 and replaced the curved cinema screen with a conventional flat one. He could then put on theatre shows as well as film screenings.
The Prince Edward Theatre and 'Evita'
The theatre was again renovated and renamed the Prince Edward Theatre. It re-opened on the 21st June 1978 with the world première of the hugely successful musical ‘Evita’. It was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and starred Elaine Paige and David Essex. It won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical and was the first British musical to win a Tony Award for its Broadway transfer. The show ran for 8 years and was adapted into the famous film starring Madonna.
‘Chess’, the musical about two competing chess champions, ran for three years and is remembered as an iconic 1980s production.
The Prince Edward Theatre underwent a speedy but sizeable refurbishment under the new management of Delfont Mackintosh. A hidden lighting bridge was installed, specialist acoustic panelling was added to the auditorium, the stage was enlarged considerably, the auditorium was completely re-carpeted, the bars were updated, the Stalls seating was reconfigured and the rake in the Circle was improved. Six new boxes were added which have become a beautiful feature of the theatre, and decorative lighting in the Dress Circle and Upper Circle was put back in after being removed when the venue was a cinema.
Crazy for You
The revival of ‘Crazy for You’ opened on the 3rd March 1993 and ran for three years.
West Side Story
The popular musical 'West Side Story', by Stephen Sondheim, ran for just over a year between 1998 and 1999.
Mamma Mia!', the famous Abba jukebox musical, began its West End run at the Prince Edward Theatre. It transferred to the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2004 and then to the Novello in 2012, where it is still running.
Mary Poppins' ran for four years at the Prince Edward Theatre and proved especially popular with family groups.
The popular musical 'Jersey Boys' ran from 2008 to 2014 before transferring to the Piccadilly Theatre. It tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and uses the group’s music throughout.
Miss Saigon is reborn
The Prince Edward Theatre is currently home to the revival of the legendary musical 'Miss Saigon', which has returned to the West End after a 15 year absence. This production is produced by Cameron Mackinstosh and directed by Laurence Connor. It is already proving to be a huge success for Eva Noblezada who is playing Kim; the 18 year old newcomer was discovered at an audition and critics are already tipping her to be the next West End star. The production has been praised for its multi-ethnic casting.