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Saigon

The Heat Is On in Saigon by Cast of Miss Saigon

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The heat is on in Saigon
And things are not going well
But still at midnight the party goes on
A goodbye party in hell
The Wedding scene in "Miss Saigon"
Many songs come from other songs or previous works. Shakespeare based many of his plays on events or other works. The musical Miss Saigon is based on the opera Madame Butterfly, with music by Giacomo Puccini. The plot involves a meeting and mixing of people from different cultures. In Puccini's opera, the doomed romance was between an American and a Japanese woman. In Miss Saigon, the action moves to Vietnam, where an American soldier meets a Vietnamese woman.

Since the end of the Vietnam War, the city of Saigon has changed its name and is now known as Ho Chi Minh City. Mind you, there are many older Vietnamese who still call Saigon by its original name.

Miss Saigon was and still is a fabulously successful show. It ran for many years or is still running in London and New York, as well as many other cities around the world. Apart from the powerful story and stirring music, the staging saw some stunning effects, including the use of a helicopter on stage.

The song "The Heat is on in Saigon" sets the scene for the audience. Saigon is a busy place, a thriving, sometimes exotic place, with all sorts of activities. The fact that there is a war on as well, and that the Americans and others have entered the war, means there is a mixing and sometimes a clash of the races and cultures.

They say that truth is often the first casualty in war, and deals and promises, threats and pledges often get made and unmade. This is the basis of this song and the main storyline; a wartime romance which ends in tragedy and despair.
Saigon Bridge
(thanks, Matt Mordfin)
Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, is based along the River Saigon and is inland about 40 miles from the coast and the South China Sea. The city and surrounding areas are densely populated with almost 10 million inhabitants. The architecture is a mixture with many examples of the French occupation still on view. At one time Saigon was referred to as "Paris in the Orient," with even its own Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Saigon for tourists is a vibrant, exciting city with motorbikes and bicycles busily filling the crowded streets. There are some historic hotels showing French architectural influence and the wide boulevards are a further reminder of European design. Museums, cinemas and theatres abound and provide for foreigners and locals to enjoy a wide range of local culture.

But every tourist to Vietnam and certainly Saigon is in for a gastronomic feast. The choice of foods and beverages and the variety of food outlets gives anyone a holiday to remember. And your choice of travel within Saigon can vary from walking, taxi, tour group, or hiring a bicycle and doing your own thing at your own pace.

It's not known what the Vietnamese think of the musical Miss Saigon. Many, of course, are too young to remember the Vietnam War. But the publicity generated by the musical has certainly told the world about the city and its many attractions.
~ Cenarth Fox

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