Lea Salonga, who shot to fame in the original London and Broadway productions of Miss Saigon—winning Tony and Olivier Awards for her haunting, heartbreaking (and thrillingly sung) performance as the ill-fated Kim—is back on Broadway this season in the critically acclaimed revival of Once On This Island at Circle in the Square Theatre. Salonga is cast as Erzulie, Goddess of Love, and delivers the most beautiful rendition of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens’ “The Human Heart” one is ever likely to hear. The stage and screen star has also just released a Filipino language album entitled Bahaghari: Lea Salonga Sings Traditional Songs of the Philippines, which preserves the many languages spoken in the Philippines. Visit leasalonga.rockpaperscissors.biz for more information.
We recently asked the Broadway favorite, whose Main Stem credits also include Les Misérables, Flower Drum Song, and Allegiance, to pen a list of her most memorable moments in her career:
Les Misérables 10th Anniversary Concert at Royal Albert Hall
The Academy Awards (1993)
Miss Saigon (London, 1989)
Miss Saigon (London and Broadway)
Same exact tech boo-boo on both sides of the Atlantic. Right before the “Sun and Moon” reprise, the set piece with Kim’s Bangkok bedroom was supposed to roll on. At two performances, this set piece decided to stay put backstage, which meant my having to just walk on a bare stage and sing—far enough downstage so in case the set rolled on, I wouldn’t get clipped. Richard Maltby, Jr. pointed this out. “My goodness, it happened here, too!”
My Carnegie Hall Debut
This turned out to be my daughter Nicole’s stage debut (well, kind of). I was three months pregnant with her, and it was at this performance in November 2005 that I decided to announce her presence. Around 12 years to the date, she debuted for real in the Manila production of Matilda. Her run has just ended, and given her very emotional breakdown following her final performance, I think the theatre bug has bitten her. She’s got it bad.