My Dearest Thusnelda,
I am proud to say I have a nearly unblemished record when it comes to the theatrical confections of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil. I would be elated if I could report it totally unblemished, but I cannot. The Lad, looking at me with eyes so limpid, so gray, so full of liquid love, asked if we might go see Miss Saigon. No! I wanted to scream! I dozen and a million times NO! But those eyes, those limpid gray eyes
So we sat eight row center and watched the horror of Vietnam once again unfold before our eyes. Of course, it was only the first unrolling for the Lad - he'd not been born when we retreated so ignominiously. But he was around for our ignominious theatricalization of it.
Have there been composers of less theatrical worth than M. Schönberg. Of course! Have there been less pleasant musical experiences. Sad, but true. (Eight minutes of Bernstein's A Quiet Place would be enough to drive me away from music of any kind forever!) But I do not believe, in the history of musical theatre - American or English - there has ever been such a successful production of such enormously unoriginal claptrap. No, ask me what I really think!
The thinking in this country for many years is the United States committed horrible acts in Southeast Asia, and it lost its military objective into the bargain. Sad, but true. But here, in the hands of these two theatrical charlatans, the French, who were so ignominiously routed at Diem Bien Phu, have taken the opportunity to even the bellicose score by having both the American's and the Vietnamese lose. The French come out the victors!
Miss Saigon is a re-telling of David Belasco's potboiler - and it has managed the dubious feat of out vulgarizing even the source material. And it has an ending so brutally false that any person of any character should, by all rights, storm the stage at the conclusion of this horror, and wrap the cast in protective arms, and lead them away from the necessity of ever having to perform such nonsense again.
The Lad liked it.
The things I do for my youth. (Is there a double meaning there?)
However, be assured that the Lad has repaid me in kind for my sacrifice. Such are the compromises of love.