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The Engineer 
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I've heard complaints about Lea Salonga as Eponine before (on Amazon, among other places), so I wouldn't exactly say that "no one complained". She may have been one of the most popular Eponines, but no one is universally liked.


Mon Sep 05, 2005 5:46 am
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However, what Eponine Poe is saying that you don't hear people saying that she shouldn't play Eponine because she is Filipino, regardless of if they liked her interpretation of the character.

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Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:02 am
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Actually, I have encountered people who have said just that. There are, of course, people who criticize her based on her actual performance-she's too polished for the role, she comes across as stalkerish, etc-but there are also some who complain about her based on the fact that she's Asian.


Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:04 am
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I'm one of the people who criticizes her based on her performance. :roll: But I haven't found too many people who agree with me, and those who do *usually* don't base it off looks. *shrugs* That's the only point i was trying to make.

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Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:00 pm
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I think, getting back to the original question, the Engineer doesn't have to be Asian.

He does make a point in the show to explain that his Mother is French. Which gives him his backstory on why he longs to be Western.


Wed Nov 09, 2005 5:56 am
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Tempo wrote:
I think, getting back to the original question, the Engineer doesn't have to be Asian.

He does make a point in the show to explain that his Mother is French. Which gives him his backstory on why he longs to be Western.


No, I believe it was his father that was French:

My mother sold her body, high on betel nuts...


Thu Nov 10, 2005 5:24 pm
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Jim Corti was reportedly an excellent Engineer in the Mariott Lincolnshire production. (And he's definitely not Asian.)

There was a black actor who played the Engineer in the West End several years ago, but I don't remember his name.

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Thu Nov 10, 2005 5:49 pm
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Emperor of the Fiends wrote:
Tempo wrote:
I think, getting back to the original question, the Engineer doesn't have to be Asian.

He does make a point in the show to explain that his Mother is French. Which gives him his backstory on why he longs to be Western.


No, I believe it was his father that was French:

My mother sold her body, high on betel nuts...


I think you're right. I read an article that kind of clarified what I'd assumed from "The American Dream" - that the Engineer's mother was a Vietnamese prostitute while his father was a Frenchman (from when Saigon was French occupied). So it doesn't really matter whether you have an Asian or a Caucasian man; a black guy would be a bit different but in this case I don't really think it's integral to the plot. People who don't know the show well probably wouldn't realise. However with Lea Salonga's Eponine she does look quite strange, but I liked her performance so I didn't care.


Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:11 am
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Post Re: The Engineer
9 years after the last post on this thread so who know when someone will read this but...

The Japanese production is fun, because everyone is Japanese. Marines, North Vietnamese Solidiers, Vietnamese, Bangkok tourists, everyone. I would assume the Korean production is the same in this respect.

I remember in one documentary for the Toronto production that the original director, Nicholas Hytner was saying that he was an immense supporter of non-traditional casting, except for Miss Saigon because that would take away from the dramatic aspects of the show. The original engineer in Toronto was the late Kevin Grey who was half-Chinese and half-Caucasian. Cameron Mackintosh says something along the lines of Kevin Grey IS the engineer. I can understand in countries such as Japan and Korea, it's really difficult to find American looking actors (ie. caucasian or black or latino) who can also sing in Japanese or Korea, so the whole cast is understandably local and for non-English productions in Europe (Finland, Norway) it is likely difficult to find asian actors that sing in the local language. The German production had many veterans of the Japanese, Toronto and US productions presumably because they had trouble casting German actors of asian descent.

Not on the topic of casting, but I just wanted to share one of my favorite quotes from Kevin Grey regarding the musical staging in the show, particularly in the American Dream sequence.

Quote:
I would never offend the dancers of the world by presuming to call myself a dancer. Bob Avian has come up with a way for non-dancers like myself to move smoothly without actually having to dance.


I think he was just being modest, because as you can see in this clip from the Second National Tour, he moves very smoothly.


Wed May 07, 2014 9:58 am
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