Abigail Adriano: From Sydney to Saigon – A Young Star’s Journey

In the annals of musical theatre, few productions have captured the essence of love, war, and sacrifice as poignantly as Miss Saigon. A visceral tapestry of music, emotion, and storytelling, this show weaves a tale that transcends cultures and eras, resonating deeply with audiences worldwide. As the curtain rises on the 2023 Australian production, anticipation is palpable. With the lights dimming and the first notes piercing the air, we are once again transported to a tumultuous Saigon, where destinies intertwine and hearts yearn for solace.

Sydney’s own Abigail Adriano is set to become the next rising sensation, Adriano has recently made headlines with her forthcoming debut as Kim in the acclaimed musical, Miss Saigon. We had the privilege to catch up with her and get a glimpse into her world, her art, and her inspirations.

Discovering the Dream

Abigail’s journey into the performing arts began as a child, a period she fondly recalls. She credits her childhood self for much of her current passion and success. “Looking back at old videos of myself,” she says, “I see how three-year-old, chubby-faced, bob-cut haired Abi was unapologetically passionate about singing and moving, always unafraid to try.”

She believes that it’s this unfettered spirit that helps her truly connect with the character of Kim in Miss Saigon. “To me, Kim encompasses that fire,” she remarks. “Little Abi reminds me that anything I perform must come from the heart.”

Having started your performance training at such a young age, how do you feel this early exposure has shaped your career and prepared you for your role as Kim in Miss Saigon?

Being one of the first in my large Filipino family to pursue performing arts, I’m grateful to say that I even had the privilege to attend lessons as a child. It helped me grow not only technical skills but important life skills like how to receive criticism! At the same time, while training opened pathways for me to be where I am today, I think the inner child within me deserves the real credit for allowing me to become Kim in Miss Saigon.

A Tapestry of Experiences

Having graced various platforms, from Matilda the Musical to The Voice Kids Australia and The Unlisted on Netflix, Abigail has amassed a diverse and enriching reservoir of experiences. She elaborates, “As an ensemble dancer in Matilda, I was challenged to do more than perform as a representation of my own story, but as a representation of a bigger, shared story.” The range of roles has taught her to interpret stories differently, from the deeply personal to the universally relatable.

You’ve had diverse experiences, from Matilda the Musical to The Voice Kids Australia and Netflix’s The Unlisted. How do these different platforms compare and how have they each contributed to your growth as a performer?

Having experience in similar though separate realms of the entertainment industry has allowed me to appreciate the different ways of expressing a story. In comparison to the personal journey I shared on the voice kids, as an ensemble dancer in Matilda, I was challenged to do more than perform as a representation of my own story, but as a representation of a bigger, shared story. And for my acting role in The Unlisted, there was no singing at all! My mind was opened to a world of not simply script memorisation, but learning how to really connect with someone beyond the words and actions required on the page. As I embark on this new journey with Miss Saigon, I hold onto these tools and experiences and hope to reflect, through Kim, on my personal story, the collective story, and the connected story.

Connecting with Kim

The character of Kim, with her enduring hope and unyielding spirit, resonates deeply with Adriano. She feels that while they’re set in different circumstances, their core drive remains similar. Kim’s unwavering hope, Abigail believes, isn’t about naivety. “It actually comes from a place of self-discovered strength and courage gained from years of survival,” she explains. Her portrayal aims to capture this essence and inspire others through Kim’s journey.

What personal connections do you feel with the character of Kim in Miss Saigon, and how do you plan to bring your own unique interpretation to this role?

Personally, I feel connected to Kim because we both are navigating this new journey of love and self-discovered strength. Being 19 and taking this role has placed a lot of natural pressure and expectations on my mind, you know? Things like, giving time and love for friends and family, giving time to my craft, and giving time to myself. While I’m definitely not surviving the shambles of a war like Kim was, I resonate with her unbreakable hope and optimism, knowing I’ve always perceived life to be the kind that is “a half glass full”. Contrary to other opinions–I truly believe that Kim’s hope, even in the face of tragedy, does not derive from her “young naivety” at all, but actually from a place of self-discovered strength and courage gained from years of survival. I always try to choose the optimistic route in my own life. But it isn’t always easy. So in my view, Kim’s choice to keep fighting till the end of the show is just so incredibly powerful. That’s inspiring to me.

Fusion of Styles

One of the intriguing facets of Adriano’s talent is her ability to fluently traverse between classical and contemporary singing. She emphasizes the importance of striking the right balance to capture Kim’s multifaceted character. “A slight change in the tone of Kim’s voice can change the way her image is received,” Adriano notes. She constantly navigates this fine line to convey the depth and nuance of her role.

With a background in both classical and contemporary singing, how will this versatility influence your performance in Miss Saigon?

A constant blend of classical and contemporary choices in the show have helped me colour my performance of Kim, as their unique sounds reflect her changing attitudes and dynamic personality throughout different areas of the beautiful score. Kim is powerful but equally resolute, and so when I was learning the score, I noticed that a slight change in the tone of Kim’s voice can change the way her image is received. For example, singing too “poppy” during important explanation points in the story can really dilute her sense of determination because it shifts the focus away from Kim and instead takes us suddenly into a pop concert! So I think it’s finding the sweet spot between the two styles haha.

Academics and Artistry: The Crossroad

Every artist faces pivotal choices, and for Abigail, pausing her double degree to pursue Miss Saigon was one of them. Guided by an instinctual pull towards the role, she realized the magnitude of this decision. Yet, it was her mother’s wisdom that offered solace. Abigail shares her mom’s advice, emphasizing gratitude and adaptability. To those standing at the intersection of academics and artistry, she advises, “Trust yourself that you have everything you need already! Take each day at a time…or as Dory says, ‘just keep swimming!’”

Abigail Adriano’s trajectory is an inspiring tapestry of dreams realized, challenges met, and a future waiting to be painted in the brightest of hues. As she prepares to captivate audiences as Kim, we are reminded that in the midst of life’s cacophony, it’s the heart’s song that remains most memorable.

Taking a pause from your double degree to pursue your passion for performing is a significant decision. Can you share what helped you make this choice and any advice you might have for others facing similar crossroads between academics and pursuing their artistic dreams?

What allowed me to make that final decision to pause my double degree for Miss Saigon was my gut feeling. For my degree, I knew I was more than capable of doing well and completing it. But for Miss Saigon, it wasn’t because I was simply capable of doing the role. In my gut, it was impossible to say no to a dream role. During the auditions, I knew that there was a chance that I may not get the role. But it was my mum who reminded me to be grateful for my position in life (I had a degree I could always continue) that made it okay to accept rejection.

As the curtain prepares to rise on August 17th at the iconic Sydney Opera House, audiences are set for a theatrical experience like no other. This new production features stunning spectacle and a sensational cast of 42 performing Boublil and Schönberg’s incredible score, replete with timeless hits such as ‘The Heat is On in Saigon,’ ‘The Movie in My Mind,’ ‘Last Night of the World,’ and ‘The American Dream.’ With the commanding presence of Seann Miley Moore as the Engineer, the captivating Abigail Adriano as Kim, and a plethora of gifted performers like Nigel Huckle, Kerrie Anne Greenland, Nick Afoa, Laurence Mossman, and Kimberley Hodgson, the stage is set for a rendition of Miss Saigon that promises to be both memorable and mesmerizing.



Presented by Opera Australia and Cameron Mackintosh, and generously supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, this is a production that will linger in memories for years to come. To witness this unparalleled musical journey, tickets are available at www.miss-saigon.com.au.

Photo Credit: Daniel Boud

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *