Five Burning Questions with Miss Saigon Star Alistair Brammer
April 19th, 2017
by Josh Ferri
West End leading man Alistair Brammer makes a fantstic Broadway debut reprising his acclaimed performance as Chris in the first-ever revival of the epic musical saga Miss Saigon. He's acting his face off and his "Why God Why" is stunning. He previously starred in Hair, Taboo, War Horse, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Les Miserables (as Marius on the West End, as Enjolras at the Dubai Opera, & as Jean Prouvaire in the 25th Anniversary Concert and Oscar-nominated film adaptation). BroadwayBox caught up with Alistair to chat about coming to Broadway, confusing Aaron Tveit, and avoiding Instagram.
1. You've said before that Chris has been a dream role since you were a teenager. Tell me about when you got the call that you would be opening the show on Broadway. What did you do?
I was on my honeymoon, and I had a small job lined up for when I got back but after that I didn’t have anything long term. So, I was a little bit worried and I sent my agent an email while I was on my honeymoon—which was naughty ‘cause I shouldn’t have—and he said, ‘Don’t worry. Just come into the office when you get back; there could be something on the table which would be rather exciting. I’m not going to tell you now so go back to lying in the sun in Bali.’ I got back and it was this. It was very out of the blue actually. It hadn’t even been talked about that I would go. I thought, ‘I did the London run and now someone else will do America.’ I couldn’t believe it. A couple weeks later I got the phone call that said, ‘Yes, they want you to come to New York.’ My wife came back from work and I had a bottle of champagne ready and said, ‘We are going to New York!’ Then we danced around the flat for about an hour. It was amazing.
2. In your imagination, what happens the moment after that striking final tableau in Miss Saigon?
I’ve never been asked that before. I don’t actually know what goes on stage left ‘cause I’m in my own little world. I would imagine that The Engineer’s got no reason to do anything. He’s not a strong man who could overpower us for the child, so I think he’d give up. I’d have to leave him to deal with the body, and then myself and Ellen would go through the process of taking the child back to America. I think John would be happy because that’s what he wanted from the start. Flash to five years later and [Tam] is in an American school. I think The Engineer would be stuck there. There’s no happy ending for him.
3. What's been the biggest surprise for you about leading a show on Broadway?
The thing that’s been most positively surprising are the audiences. They loved it in the UK but they really love it here. Every day you get a 100 people at the stage door asking for your autograph, which is lovely and surprising until you turn the corner and become anonymous again. It’s not like that in the UK. In the UK, they say thank you very much and go home. Here, everyone seems to want to meet you after and they are so positive and grateful.
4. What's your favorite memory from the Les Miz set?
There are so many—from going back to Russell Crowe’s hotel on a Saturday night after work to sitting, talking about Words with Friends with Anne Hathaway. One of my favorites is we were playing word association—me and the boys. You get a bit of a beat going with a sort of clap and you say, 'T-shirt...shirt...jumper' and so on as you go through. It was all British boys aside from Aaron [Tveit], and (this is a bit gross) one of us said minge (which is British slang for vagina). Aaron didn’t know what it was and said biscuit. He didn’t have a clue what it meant. That made us laugh!
5. You're so active on Twitter, why aren't you on Instagram?
I’ve got an Instagram account. This is a bit of a name drop, but Boy George got me my Instagram account. When I was doing Taboo, we were sitting around in the rehearsal room and he was on his Instagram. I said, ‘What’s that?’ He said, ‘It’s Instagram. Isn’t it brilliant? It’s just like Twitter but with pictures. You have to get Instagram. I’ll set you up.’ So, I signed up for it but I’ve never put a single photograph up. I think it’s because I’ve got more to say than to show. I’m not very good at photography—it would be a waste of people’s time.
Don't miss Alistair Brammer as Chris in 'Miss Saigon' at the Broadway Theatre.