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European musical features expat Vietnamese in lead role for 1st time

Tuesday, January 06, 2015, 10:04 GMT+7
European musical features expat Vietnamese in lead role for 1st time
Expat Vietnamese singer Nguyen Thanh Hien (right) and her co-star, who are expected to shine in a European musical titled "Miss Saigon" in Hungary on January 18, 2015.

An expat Vietnamese will take the lead role in a much-loved European musical to be staged in Hungary later this month.  

Vietnamese-Hungarian singer Nguyen Thanh Hien, 21, has been selected for the leading role in “Miss Saigon,” a classic musical.

Vietnamplus, an affiliate of the Vietnam News Agency, reported on Sunday that this will be the first time in the musical’s 25-year lifespan a Vietnamese has ever been put in that role.

The musical, which revolves around a romance between an American GI and a Vietnamese bargirl, is poised to hit the stage at the Budapesti Operett Szinház Theater in Budapest on January 18.

It premiered in London in 1989 and opened on Broadway in New York at the Broadway Theater in 1991, and was subsequently played in many other cities and embarked on tours.

As of September 2013, “Miss Saigon” remained Broadway's twelfth longest-running show.

Hien has been chosen for the role for her brilliant voice, gorgeous looks, and exceptional acting and dancing skills.

Born in Vietnam in 1994, Hien became a naturalized citizen of Hungary in 2010, according to Vietnamplus.

She learned to play the piano and violin as a young girl, and was the principal violinist in a junior orchestra in Sopron, Hungary.

At 14, Hien ended up in the top six of the Megasztár 2008, which is organized annually by Hungary's TV2 channel.

Her achievement caused quite a stir among the Vietnamese-Hungarian community at the time.

The young singer has won several Hungarian music prizes and was voted among the most loved female singers in Hungary in 2014.

She has released two albums, “Játék az egész” (All Is Just A Game) (2009) and “Sweet Talk” (2013), with the second featuring English lyrics which she composed.

Hien recently landed a scholarship from Boston’s Berklee College of Music, one of the world’s leading music schools and incubators of world-famous singers and Grammy winners.

She will leave Hungary for the U.S. after she completes her three-month contract with the Budapesti Operett Szinház Theater as the lead actress in the “Miss Saigon” musical.

The actress received a similar offer in 2010, but she turned it down as she was busy prepping for her high school graduation exam and entry to university then.

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