Show History



Miss Saigon is a sung-through musical based on Giacomo Puccini's opera, Madame Butterfly. Finding worldwide success with Les Misérables, the songwriting team of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil. Schönberg allegedly found a photograph from the Vietnam War in a magazine one day. The picture depicted a mother leaving her child at a departure gate at an air base to get on a plane to the United States for a better life with the child's ex-G.I. father.  Schönberg thought that the mother's actions showed an immense amount of sacrifice and led him back to the plot of Madame Butterfly. The team, joined by Richard Maltby, Jr., on lyrics, decided to retain the center story and plot of the opera, but relocated everything to 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War.


Miss Saigon premiered at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in the West End on September 20, 1989.  It was directed by renowned British director, Nicholas Hytner, and starred Lea Salonga and Jonathan Pryce.  The production closed ten years later, on October 30, 1999, after more than 4,200 performances. The Broadway production ran at the Broadway Theatre from April 11, 1991, to January 28, 2001, and featured much of the original creative team and cast, including Salonga and Pryce.

After the Broadway production closed, a tour launched across the UK with the original London staging, performing at the six largest venues in Britain and Ireland. When the tour closed in 2003, original producer, Cameron Mackintosh, developed the musical so it could be performed in smaller theatres.  Another UK tour then launched with Mackintosh's idea at its forefront, going from July 2004 to June 2006.  Tours across the United States have run from 1992 to 1995 and 2002 to 2005.  Both tours have played such significant venues as the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Since opening, Miss Saigon has been performed in 25 companies and almost 250 cities.  It has seen productions in everywhere from Norway and Canada to Hungary and New Zealand.

Cultural Influence

  • Miss Saigon is the twelfth longest-running Broadway musical in musical theatre history, running for 4,092 performances.
  • The musical has been translated into twelve different languages, including German, Japanese and Estonian.
  • The Broadway production broke several Broadway records almost immediately, including a record advance-ticket sales of $24 million, highest priced ticket at $100 and repaying investors in fewer than 39 weeks.
  • The 2014 West End production set a new world record for opening day ticket sales.
  • The original production of Miss Saigon was one of the most spectacular and technically complex productions ever staged. 266 people worked on the London production at each performance and, of those, only 47 appeared in front of the audience.  The evacuation of Saigon scene, which involved a helicopter taking off from a roof, is still considered to be one of the most technically magnificent things produced onstage.


  • The original London production of Miss Saigon was nominated for four Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical and Best New Director.  The Broadway production was nominated for eleven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score.
  • With the opening of Miss Saigon, producer, Cameron Mackintosh, had four productions playing on Broadway simultaneously (the other three being Cats, Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables).