WHEN: Fridays, Sept. 9, 16, and 23 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sept. 10, 17 and 24 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Sept. 11, 18 and 25 at 2 p.m. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on Sept. 9.
WHERE: Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.
TICKETS: $20 for all and may be purchased by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333 or ordered online starting Aug. 20 at www.kelseytheatre.net.
Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking next to the theater. For a complete listing of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure. [Top: Chris (Michael Scibilia) and Kim (Lianah Sta. Ana) pledge their love. Photo by Robert A. Terrano]
The international musical sensation that ran on Broadway for a decade, opens the new season at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre.
Nominated for 11 Tony Awards in 1991, and the winner of three, the show is based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly. Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, this tragic love story pairs Chris, a U.S. Marine sergeant, with the beautiful, innocent Kim, who is working as “the new girl” in a boisterous bar. Pressured into a night together, the two quickly fall in love, only to be parted during the chaotic fall of Saigon. Their struggles to find each other over the ensuing years test the honor and integrity of all involved, leading to a climax that stretches the bonds of love – both romantic and parental – to their breaking point. [Above right: Kim struggles with Thuy (Logan Jo), right, a North Vietnamese officer to whom she was betrothed at thirteen. Photo by Robert A. Terrano]
Hailed for its universal emotional power and unforgettable musical score, the show’s creators are Alain Boubill and Claude-Michael Schonberg (Les Miserables), with music by Claude-Michel Schonberg and lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and Alain Boublil. Filled with show-stopping numbers like “I Still Believe,” “Why God Why” and “The American Dream,” “Miss Saigon” remains one of the most stunning theatrical spectacles of all time.
LouJ Stalsworth, PinnWorth’s artistic director, is thrilled to be directing this show. “It’s a beautiful story filled with soaring music and deep emotions on many levels. And, it’s visually awesome,” he said. “And, of course, there’s the helicopter. Yes, we will be landing a helicopter on the Kelsey stage. You’ve got to love the challenge.”
He notes that the show shifts the politics of that difficult war to a personal level by telling the story of Chris, the American who is trying to do good, and Kim, who is determined to secure a better life.
“Miss Saigon” stars Lianah Sta. Ana of Freehold as Kim; Michael Scibilia of Willow Grove, Pa., as Chris; Michael Zweig of Philadelphia, Pa., as John; Michael Schuimo of Horsham, Pa., as the Engineer; Tressa McCallister-Scibilia of Willow Grove, Pa., as Ellen; Logan Jo of Palisades Park as Thuy; and Mason Romeo of Maple Shade as Tam.
Featured as “Dreamland” girls are Seika Itoh of East Elmhurst, NY, as Mimi; Mariah King of Lawrenceville as Yvette; Lina Lee of New York, NY, as Miss Chinatown; Mai Nishioka of Sunnyside, NY, as Gigi; and Mai Odaira of Belleville as Yvonne. The ensemble also features Jeremy Barson of Richboro, Pa., Kim Cupo of Fairless Hills, Pa., Charlie Gormley of Morrisville, Pa., Simon Hamilton of Princeton, Harley Herrell of East Windsor, Jennifer Hsiao of Lawrenceville, Tom Kelly of Lakewood, Wyatt Kim of Yardley, Pa., Beverly Kuo-Hamilton of Princeton, Jina Nam of New York, NY, Arielle Rabano of Hillsborough, Sasha Saco of Trenton, Liam Smith of Yardley, Pa., Matthew Snyder of Levittown, Pa., Yuko Suzuki of Jackson Heights, NY, Dennis Tolentino of Manalapan, and David Zarish of Cream Ridge.
The production team includes Producer/Director LouJ Stalsworth; Co-director/Choreographer Koren Zander; Music Director Francios Suhr; Producer/ Costume and Set Designer Kate Pinner; Master Carpenter Jim Petro; Sound and Lighting Designer/Photographer Robert Terrano; Videographer Kevin Finn; Props Master Evan Griner; Stage Managers Nicole Schulnick and Jon Cintron; Associate Lighting Designer Star McCloud; Assistant Lighting Designer/ Master Electrician William Schager, and Associate Sound Designer Nick Mastalesz.
Stalsworth is especially pleased with the stellar cast of actors who have signed on for this show. “We have some of the finest talent from the tri-state area – from our leads to our ensemble women to our music director and choreographer, as well as the sound and light designers,” he said. Stalsworth's wife, Kate Pinner, who is designing both sets and costumes, is the long-time costume designer for Kelsey Theatre.
The production crew includes more than 15 current and former MCCC students, many of whom are graduates of the Entertainment Technology program and have gone on to earn bachelor’s degrees in the field.