Where else does the Asian Gal with the White Guy trope appear besides the operatic and thespian worlds, which we’ve already talked about? Broadway. In fact Miss Saigon, a Broadway musical written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil in 1975 set in the Vietnam War, was based upon the story of Madama Butterfly.

Each principal principal role of Madama Butterfly has an expy in Miss Saigon. Saigon‘s Kim, a seventeen year old Vietnamese Ingénueish hooker is the equivalent to Butterfly‘s Japanese Ingénue, Cio-Cio San. Pinkerton is Chris, a US marine. Goro, the matchmaker who sets up Pinkerton’s marriage to Cio-Cio San who hasn’t really been mentioned during M. Butterfly‘s Madame Butterfly moments, is John, Chris’s marine buddy who also sets up a marriage between his friend and Asian lover. Ellen, Chris’s wife after he leaves Kim to escape the Vietcong approaching Saigon, similar to to Pinkeron taking on a new wife during his own long absence, is Kate, Pinkerton’s new wife. Thuy takes on a dual role, being Bonze’s and Prince Yamadori’s expy. Like Bonze, Cio-Cio San’s uncle, Thuy heavily discourages the marriage, and similar to Prince Yamadori, a wealthy man who pursues Cio-Cio San, Thuy purues Kim, though he’s engaged to her years earlier. (childhood!) And finally, probably most crucial character in both plots, Tam, Kim and Chris’s son, is Dolore (“Sorrow”), Cio-Cio San and Pinkerton’s child.

~Isabella

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