In the first half of 2007, Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Miss Saigon proved a delight to over 150,000 Melbournians. Before the show finished its season at HMT, we took the time to catch up with one of the production’s stars, Leo Tavarro Valdez, and learn a little of what life was like in the Saigon spotlight.
HMT: How does it feel to be a leading member of the new Australian production of Miss Saigon?
Leo Tavarro Valdez: It’s an honour and a privilege to be with this company of very talented and hard working actors who are also great offstage, which is a big plus factor in any theatre company.
HMT: You’ve performed as The Engineer so many times now. What keeps you excited about playing him?
LTV: All the different shades of character, which incorporated together, become this complex Machiavellian person, yet the audience find him a likeable fellow. That is what I love most about doing the role and how the audience react night after night.
HMT: Why do you think this production of Miss Saigon has been received so well?
LTV: Aside from the musical score and the story, I believe credits go to the amazing creative team that put this all together. The lighting, the sets, the orchestra, the sound – blended together with an amazing group of actors who are wonderfully directed and choreographed by some of the most brilliant artistic minds!
HMT: For those who still have yet to buy tickets, why is this production a must see event?
LTV: If our excellent reviews haven’t convinced people to come along then the fact that this is one of the most loved musicals of all time should. Our wonderful cast, the beautiful music – Miss Saigon should not be missed.
HMT: Lastly, with the Melbourne season drawing to a close, how have you enjoyed your time here and what will you remember best?
LTV: I will miss the theatre and the friendliest group of people – dressers, crew, Stage Door chaps, the Maj Bar and its friendly staff. The cold, dry air of Melbourne I’d rather forget but the warmth and friendliness of the people and the wonderful response Miss Saigon got from the audience more than made up for it.June 2007