{The 99-Cent} Miss Saigon

T-Labs’ inaugural production, {The 99-Cent} Miss Saigon deconstructed the Broadway musical by enforcing poverty on the biggest production of all time. Staged with a 14-person cast, a piano, guitar, and various performers coming in and out of theorchestra, the production explored our love-hate relationship with the genre, and exposed Saigon’s racial and historical controversies and inconsistencies.

“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 Saigonactually 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 production…it 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


Related Blog Posts: Miss Saigon, Part The First: A Digression on the 1980s, Sub-Section/Pre-Note: WALL STREETMiss Saigon, Part The First: A Digression on the 1980s, Section (a): CATSMiss Saigon, Part The First: A Digression on the 1980s, Section (b): RAMBOMiss Saigon, Part Deux: Watching PLATOON and FULL METAL JACKET Back-to-Backwash your face and handsdreamsThe Heat is On…


Directed by Maya Gurantz

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


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