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Interview with Miss Saigon star Alistair Brammer

Alistair Brammer

Miss Saigon
Alistair Brammer

West End star Alistair Brammer is currently making his Broadway debut in the leading male role of Chris in SchŲnberg and Boublil's Miss Saigon at the Broadway Theatre.

Besides Miss Saigon, his UK theatre credits include Les Misťrables, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Taboo and War Horse, as well as the 25th Anniversary Concert and 2012 film adaptation of Les Misťrables. He has also appeared in the popular British TV sitcom Vicious, alongside Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi.

We caught up with Alistair to talk about Broadway audiences, Cameron Mackintosh behind-the-scenes, the rumoured film adaptation of Miss Saigon and "Making America Great Again"...

Photo by Matthew Murphy
Alistair Brammer in Miss Saigon
Alistair Brammer in Miss Saigon
More Production Photos

Thomas Hayden Millward: You are no stranger to the West End, Alistair. I was wondering if youíve noticed any striking difference between working in London and now on Broadway?

Alistair Brammer: The audiences are much more vocal on Broadway. In England, I just think everyone is very polite and they clap quietly and you can hear them cough. Here, they tend to go crazy and whoop and holla and come to the stage door. Itís really nice. As an actor, it really makes you feel like youíre doing a good job.

THM: Your career has been intertwined with Cameron Mackintosh over the years. Whatís it like working with him as a producer, who is reportedly so hands-on with the creative side of things too?

AB: Well, he knows what he wants. Heís become one of the most successful producers in the world for a reason. Heís not just a producer. He has a lot of ideas and he does make them known, yes. What he has become very good at is surrounding himself with people Ė directors and musical directors Ė who arenít afraid of challenging him on certain things, if they think they can be done better. And heís very good at saying: ďYou know what. OK.Ē Itís never actually been a problem that Iíve seen. They all just get on with it well and I think the end result is all the better for it.

Photo by Matthew Murphy
Katie Rosie Clarke & Alistair Brammer in Miss Saigon
Katie Rosie Clarke & Alistair Brammer in Miss Saigon
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THM: The production hasnít been modified much for the Broadway audience, since its West End revival. However, of course I noticed Jon Jon Brionesí line about ďMaking America Great Again.Ē Is there a story behind its inclusion?

AB: That was Cameronís idea (Laughs). It was just one of those ideas that was just so relevant at the moment, what with all these walls being built and things. It was a way of sneaking [the musical] into the 21st century a little bit. Itís actually the audienceís favourite part. They go crazy for it every night. It just works.

THM: I think there is a notion of ďPreaching to the ConvertedĒ there, in terms of the Broadway audienceÖ

AB: Well, yes, exactly. And, of course, itís meant ironically.

THM: It must have been a privilege to have your London performance preserved on film and broadcast to cinemas worldwide. Have you heard anything more about the proposed movie adaptation of Miss Saigon?

AB: Iíve heard nothing more than the rumours. There is talk of Danny Boyle directing it and Lee Daniels producing it. Thatís pretty much all Iíve heard. Other than that, itís just in-the-works and theyíre having conversations about it now.

THM: You played the role of Jean Prouvaire in the film adaptation of Les Misťrables. Have you got your fingers crossed for a role in this one?

AB: Ooh no, I havenít. There is a lot of film stars in the mix and Iím not one of them yet. I think theyíll pick one of them. There are some very talented film stars who can also sing, so I have no expectations that Iíll be doing it. If Iím lucky, Iíll get an audition. Who knows? Perhaps theyíll give me a little, bit part in the film.

Photo by Matthew Murphy
Alistair Brammer & Eva Noblezada in Miss Saigon
Alistair Brammer & Eva Noblezada in Miss Saigon
More Production Photos

THM: Well, Iíll keep my fingers crossed that you get an audition, Alistair. In the meantime, the stage musical is almost 30 years old, and still such a spectacle to behold. What do you think makes this musical such a timeless spectacle?

AB: You know what, the bottom line is that itís about love. Itís about love, loss and tragedy. Thatís something that we can all relate to. No matter when or where we were born, itís something that is universal. I think thatís why itís so successful. I think the spectacle is born out of the epicness of the story and out of the soaring score as well.

Miss Saigon is booking through to January 14, 2018 at the Broadway Theatre. Click HERE for tickets!

- by Thomas Hayden Millward

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