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Talented community creates theatre magic

 

THE exoticness of Vietnam and the emotions of love will be brought to the stage during Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s production of Miss Saigon from May 27.

Audiences can expect engaging music, stunning sets and impressive performances by seasoned and new performers.

Among them will be Lionel Wood of Wonthaggi North, who at 77 is the oldest member of the cast.

Miss Saigon is Mr Wood’s second theatrical performance in his life, having debuted with the Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s production of Evita last year.

“I’ve song in choirs and this is just a totally new experience. They were looking for a short, elderly face and I fitted the model,” he said.

“It is very demanding, but in this particular production I only have to go up stairs once.”

In Miss Saigon, Mr Wood will perform in various roles, appearing in the opening scene as a barman, then as a member of the crowd.

Watch for him as Uncle Sam and as a soldier returning to the United States of America, before returning to the stage as an American in the Thai capital of Bangkok.

“It’s a lot different to being in a choir where you always have music in front of you and you can read straight off the music, but with a stage production you have got to learn the whole thing. You have to learn your words and your music as well,” Mr Wood said.

“It’s a challenge for an older brain like mine.”

He paid tribute to the way musical director Kirk Skinner teaches the music, before the cast heads on stage to act to a CD recording of the music.

“I’m very privileged at my age to be selected in the cast and to be able to put my name to such a good production,” he said.

Mr Wood promised audiences will be “blown away, especially by the opening scenes”.

“They are full on because it opens in a brothel in Saigon,” he said.

“The storyline will hold people’s attention. It’s set around the fall of Saigon in 1975 when the Americans have to get out. One of the scenes is the last chopper flight out of the American embassy.”

The musical is unique in that the cast ages span from four to 76.

The show tells of the romance between Vietnamese woman Kim and the American GI Chris, a relationship that produces a son, Tam.

The production will feature members of the region’s Filipino and Chinese community, with 12 of the 33 cast members being new to theatre.

The lead role of Kim is played by Alliza Miel, a Leongatha woman of Filipino heritage. Corey Green, renowned as playing the lead in Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s Pippin, plays Chris the GI.

The role of Tam will be shared by two boys, both from Wonthaggi and of Filipino heritage: Jaedon Kindom, five, and Zach Coldora, four.

Mark Ebit, a Filipino and a physiotherapist at Wonthaggi’s Rose Lodge aged care hostel, will be Thuy.

Fellow Filipino Maricel Gardiner, of Wonthaggi, plays Gigi, and local Sha Wen, of Chinese heritage, will be part of the ensemble, joined by Inverloch’s Etsuko Yasunaga, of Japan.

The role of Engineer, played by Jay Nelson, is a multi-faceted role.

Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s production of Miss Saigon will be held at the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre, from May 27 to June 11, with a total of 12 shows.

Book tickets online at www.wtg.org.au

Striking scene: stunning costumes are features of Miss Saigon, to be performed by Wonthaggi Theatrical Group from May 27. The show’s most senior actor, Lionel Wood, is pictured far left in the front row. Photo courtesy of Foons Photographics, Wonthaggi.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=21408

Posted by on May 16 2017. Filed under Arts & Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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