Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Saigon meets Wellington

March 2010

Saigon meets Wellington

The epic musical production, Miss Saigon is set to hit Wellington on April 8. Based on the classical opera, Madame Butterfly, Miss Saigon has become one of the most successful musicals in history. Since its London premiere in 1989, it has been performed in 18 countries in nine different languages and been seen by over 30 million people worldwide.

The dramatic production centres on the experiences of a strong-willed Vietnamese woman and an American soldier during the end of the Vietnam War. Played by newcomer Ivy Padilla, the lead role Kim is an unlikely star, an orphaned Saigon woman who finds herself in the midst of love and war.

While casting for musicals is no easy feat, Ms Padilla suggests this one is more challenging that most. “It’s difficult to cast for this musical because of the ethnicity needed and the vocal range required.”

Casting directors went out to the Chinese, Phillipino and wider Asian community in preparation for the production, but were delighted when Ivy came to them at the casting auditions. “Miss Saigon is my favourite musical. When I found out it was coming to Wellington I made sure I was at the open casting.” The directors were impressed, the next day she was asked to return for what she describes as a ‘sing off’ to secure the lead role.

Born in the Philippines, Ms Padilla moved to New Zealand with her family two years ago. While she has been involved in a number of productions back home, landing the role of Kim will be her New Zealand debut performance.

“Kim’s an interesting character, she’s hopeful, innocent and very maternal. Her determination is overwhelmingly strong. Regardless of all the things that she has gone through she stills sees the good in people. There are a whirlwind of emotions to portray.”

Surprisingly, getting into character wasn’t that difficult for the performer. “I’m quite outgoing and find it interesting to play someone so unlike myself.” A self proclaimed adrenalin junkie, Ivy’s other interests include boxing and competitive paint ball. By day she works as a Learnzone Coordinator at Wellington Institute of Technology.

Balancing work and family commitments with rehearsals might be challenging but Ivy takes it all in her stride. “Life is too short to just focus on one thing. Luckily, I’ve been able to balance work and family commitments with the show. My family are very supportive. Almost the whole clan are flying in from overseas for the debut performance and a group from WelTec will be there in full support, they are my family here. My co-star Matthew Pike is the husband of WelTec tutor, Dany Pike so there’s a great connection between family, work and the show.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Dennis Villeneuve’s Dune - A Brief History

So many elements of Herbert’s novel have since become tropes of popular SciFi that Villeneuve’s film sometimes seems deceptively derivative. What makes all this nonsense essential viewing is his astonishing visual sensibility. More>>

Howard Davis: The French Dispatch - Wes Anderson's New Yorker Tribute

Very few contemporary American film directors can claim to have earned the title of auteur, but for sheer visual invention and cinematic joie de vivre, there is no more consistent director working in Hollywood today than Wes Anderson. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland