November 17, 2013 • 09:17:03 p.m.

Stellar cast gives emotional depth to ‘Miss Saigon’ musical

By ERIC SCHELKOPF - eschelkopf@shawmedia.com

Shawna Haeji Shin (right) plays Kim and Brandon Moorhead plays Chris in Paramount Theatre’s production of “Miss Saigon.” Performances run through Sunday, Nov. 24. (Provided photo by Liz Lauren)

AURORA – The Paramount Theatre has hit all the right chords in its current production of the beloved musical “Miss Saigon.”

As if the story of “Miss Saigon” isn’t heartbreaking enough – the musical tells the story of an American soldier that has fallen in love with a Vietnamese bar girl, as the fall of Saigon is looming – the Paramount adds emotional depth to the production that keeps the audience riveted to every scene.

That the Paramount is able to inject such freshness into “Miss Saigon” – which first opened on Broadway in 1991 – is a credit to the talented cast, starting with Shawna Haeji Shin in the lead role of Vietnamese bar girl Kim.

With her powerful vocals and empathetic portrayal, Shin sets the bar high for anybody else taking on the role. Shin, who is originally from South Korea, is making her Paramount debut with the role, but hopefully it won’t be her last.

Brandon Moorhead, no stranger to the Paramount stage (he also appeared in “My Fair Lady,” “Hair” and “Fiddler on the Roof”) plays American soldier Chris, who falls in love with Kim. Shin and Moorhead create many sparks on stage, and the chemistry between them seems genuine.

Paramount’s production also is graced by the immense talent of Joseph Anthony Foronda, who won a Jeff Award performing in the first and second national tours of “Miss Saigon.” His experience playing the lead character of The Engineer shows, and he clearly knows the character inside and out.

Also making his Paramount debut was 8-year-old Zachary Uzarraga of Sugar Grove in the role of Tam, Kim’s son. Although Zachary did not have any lines, he deftly handled the sometimes difficult facial expressions required for the role, along with displaying real joy with his onstage mom.

“Miss Saigon” is rated PG-13 for adult themes and language. The musical will be performed through Sunday, Nov. 24, at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. Single tickets start at $36.90, available at www.ParamountAurora.com or by calling 630-896-6666.


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