dave malloy

{The 99-cent}
Miss Saigon

A Ten Red Hen Production
Willard Middle School Metalshop Theater
Berkeley CA, March 06


oh this was so fun...presenting this epitome of late 20th century musical excess as a piece of poor theater. a toy helicopter, a bundle of yarn and balloon for the child, mimed guns and phones...but best was the fine balance of melodrama and earnestness. in the press release we called it "post-ironic". i music directed, played piano, arranged the music for a stripped down orchestra of guitar, violin and clarinet (plus a selectively used bass drum and cymbal), and got to be chris, the conflicted romantic american anti-hero.



"If you've ever wondered how this melodramatic spectacle would hold up without the huge production and the helicopter taking off, the answer is really, really well. This totally stripped-down, no-budget staging is delightful throughout, and the music actually sounds better at times without the swelling orchestra, just a piano and an acoustic guitar with some violin and clarinet here and there. The workaround depictions of explosions, the baby, and the helicopter are pretty funny, but this isn't just some campy romp, and it's heartrending when it needs to be."
-Sam Hurwitt, East Bay Express

"An unabashedly shoestring treatment so plucky and spirited it goes some way toward redeeming the melodrama's otherwise embarrassingly self-satisfied Western perspective...What does a $0.99 Miss Saigon actually look like? Think sparklers, toy helicopters, fishing wire, and actors with instruments in a converted "metal shop" theater; but think full-throated, full-throttle performances too. Not a bad combo, admirably balanced here by director Maya Gurantz."
-Robert Avila, SF Bay Guardian

"A splendid on-the-cheap has the feel, the real value of a rich, glitz-free show. The biggest ovation by rights goes to lead Jane Chen; a very talented comedienne, Chen extends the deft touch she showed in comic vaudeville to an exceptional dramatic portrayal. Great, heady fun, a showcase of talent and exuberance."
-Ken Bullock, Berkeley Daily Planet


(The 99-cent) Miss Saigon

Directed by Maya Gurantz
Musical Direction by Dave Malloy
Starring/Co-created by Jane Chen

Brittany Bexton (Ellen, Ensemble, Clarinet)
Erick Casanova (Thuy, Ensemble)
George Chan (John, Ensemble, Banjo)
Jane Chen (Kim, Ukelele)
Jenny Cho (Yvonne, Ensemble)
Kazumi Kusano (Mimi, Nightmare Kim, Ensemble)
Dave Malloy (Chris, Piano)
Teresa Moore (Yvette, Embassy Worker, Ensemble)
Dale Murphy (Sgt. Schultz, Ensemble)
Andre Nigoghossian (Guitar)
Issabella Shields (Ensemble, Violin)
Raphi Soifer (Club Owner, Ensemble)
Alexis P. Wong (Gigi, Ensemble)
and European-American actor Mark Romyn as The Engineer

Design Consultant: Jon Wai-keung Lowe
Dance Captain: Brittany Bexton
Choreographic Assistance: Tracy Dorrance
Vocal Assistance: Alexis P. Wong
Stage Manager: Joseph Estlack

yay pictures!! yay!!