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From the South to Saigon

TOGETHER: Lára Mulgrew on stage TOGETHER: Lára Mulgrew on stage
By Ciara Quinn

THE heat will be on in Saigon’ as one of the most powerful musicals ever staged showcases Belfast’s rising theatre stars this July.
Miss Saigon School Edition will be performed at the Grand Opera House from Thursday July 18 until Sunday July 21. Lavishly staged by a professional creative team, this stirring Grand Opera House Summer Youth Production is the most ambitious to date, bringing together 80 of Northern Ireland’s creatives. Supported by a 17-piece orchestra, the impressive score will feature all the big numbers including I Still Believe, The Movie in my Mind and the iconic The American Dream.
16-year-old Aquinas pupil Lára Mulgrew will perform the role of Ellen in the stage show. No stranger to the Grand Opera House stage, Lára performed aged nine the role of Molly in their production of Annie. Lára described the audition process “as very straight forward” and how it will be “wonderful” to portray the role of Ellen come July.
“I hadn’t seen the production before but was able to watch it on Youtube. It’s going to be a total of six performances and it’s a very mature role,” she said. “It’s definitely the most challenging role I’ve ever had to perform and it will be a great challenge to take on her maturity.”
Methody College’s Louis Fitzpatrick will take on the role of American GI John Thomas, part of the battalion deployed in Saigon during the Vietnam War.
“I heard about the auditions for Miss Saigon through a friend, I went for one audition and did well enough to get a call back. I was really ecstatic to learn I had got the part as I was performing Footloose at the time as part of the Belfast Youth and Drama Society, I joined in April 2018 and the first production I did was Les Misérables.
“I hadn’t watched the stage version before but was able to watch it on Amazon Prime.”
The 18-year-old has just completed his A’levels in Moving Image, Politics and Drama and told the South Belfast News how he hopes to go on to study film at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.
Grand Opera House Chief Executive Ian Wilson added: “This is the ninth year that the Grand Opera House has staged its Summer Youth Production, and Miss Saigon® School Edition will be the biggest so far. It’s very rare for a theatre the size of the Grand Opera House to be granted the rights to the youth version, so it really is a brilliant opportunity to see the best up-and-coming musical theatre stars in one of the most popular musicals of all time.”
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