Mackintosh wants his Filipino star for 'Miss Saigon'

December 06, 1990|By New York Times

NEW YORK -- Cameron Mackintosh, the producer of "Miss Saigon," has asked Actors' Equity for permission to bring Filipino actress Lea Salonga to Broadway to re-create her lead role of a Vietnamese bar girl in the hit London musical.

It was unclear what the producer would do if the union turned down his request. Last summer, when the union refused to permit British actor Jonathan Pryce to come to Broadway with the $10-million musical, Mackintosh canceled the Broadway production and did not reinstate it until more than a month later, after Equity changed its mind and after extensive and sometimes bitter negotiations on other casting in the show.

Alan Eisenberg, Equity's executive secretary, confirmed that he had received the request and said that it would be "dealt with in the usual and normal fashion."

Mackintosh was reported to be in Australia and unavailable for comment.

The producer reportedly said in his application that extensive nationwide auditions had not produced an Asian-American actress or anyone else experienced enough to take on the role on Broadway, where the lavish musical about an American Marine's love for a Vietnamese bar girl during and after the fall of Saigon in 1975 is to begin performances in March at the Broadway Theater.

Mackintosh reportedly said in the request to Equity that he had seen 1,200 Asian actresses and that none had professional potential approaching Salonga's.

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