© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Pinoy pride shines for upcoming Miss Saigon show

Carmina Blewett
Miss Saigon promo
Showbiz Christchurch will be staging Miss Saigon from September until October at the Isaac Theatre Royal Showbiz Christchurch / Daniel Colvin

Several Filipinos from around Australasia will be stepping into the limelight in the city's production of Miss Saigon.

The performance to be staged by Showbiz Christchurch, follows the ill-fated romance between local bar girl, Kim, and Chris, an American marine, during the Vietnam War era, as inspired by Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly. 

Miss Saigon premiered in the West End thirty years ago with Filipina performer, Lea Salonga playing the lead role of Kim, which Tina Bergantinos-Panlilio has taken on previously. 

Bergatinos-Panlilio, 31, first stepped into character ten years ago in Hamilton, and said she was looking forward to doing so again.

"It's a very nerve-racking experience just being able to do the same role as your idol [Lea Salonga]... I feel blessed and honoured, and just to represent the Filipino community itself - it feels surreal and amazing." 

Showbiz General Manager, Michael Bayly, said the panel were looking for a diverse 42-strong cast, eight of which who identify with the Philippine culture, including countertenor Marcus Rivera performing as the Engineer for his fourth time. 

"It's so nice to be working with my kababayan [ countrymen ] ," Bergantinos-Panlilio said, noting that it comes as little surprise there are a number of Filipinos sharing the stage with an established national love of karaoke and singing. 

The Miss Saigon season will run from September 27 until October 12, with several evening shows and two matinees. 

Tina Bergantinos Panlilio
Philippine-born Tina Bergantinos-Panlilio will perform the lead role of Kim in Showbiz Christchurch's production of Miss Saigon Tina Bergantinos-Panlilio