Lea Salonga spent the first half of 1999 returning to the role that made her famous: Kim in Miss Saigon. She originated the part more than ten years ago in London and then on Broadway, but she's not done with it yet; she'll spend the latter part of 2000 as Kim once more. Salonga will co-star with Leo Valdez, Jon-jon Briones Jr. and Will Chase in a production of the musical at her birthplace, Manilla. Set to open in October at the Cutural Center of the Philippines, Miss Saigon will be directed by Peter Lawrence and executive produced by Dong [sic] Alegre.
Once again, Salonga will play a Vietnam teen who falls for an American GI in 1975. Salonga's original stints in the show won her an Olivier Award and Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. (Cezarah Campos will alternate the role at certain performances.) The Alain Boublil-Claude Michel Schonberg mega-musical was inspired by Madame Butterfly.
After leaving Miss Saigon in 1992, Salonga sang the role of Jasmine in Disney's animated Aladdin (singing "A Whole New World"). She also played Eponine on Les Miserables on Broadway in 1993.
As for her co-stars, Valdez will play the greedy, capitalistic Engineer -- a role he essayed in London in 1994-95 and again in the final months of the UK run. Briones will be the alternate Engineer. Chase, Salonga's partner in her recent Broadway return, again plays Chris.
For Ellen, Chris' wife back home, Lisa Capps (a Les Miz Fantine) has been tapped. John will be played by Ronn K. Smith, Gigi by Isay Alvarez and Thuy by Robert Sena. Six British actors and one Canadian will play the American G.I.'s, while more than two dozen veterans of various Saigons will play "the Filipinos of Miss Saigon." Designing the show are Michael Halbert (lighting), Kentaur [sic] (sets), Peter Grubb (sound) and Suzanne Strout (costumes). Maggie Goodwin choreographs, with Martin Koch serving as musical supervisor.
For tickets and information on Miss Saigon in Manila call 635-6976. The Broadway production continues at the Broadway Theatre until the end of this year.