Lea Salonga – the Original Miss Saigon on Broadway p.2

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LEA SALONGA

 

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In 1993, Salonga played the role of Éponine in the Broadway production of Les Misérables. She performed the song “A Whole New World” from Aladdin with Brad Kane at the 65th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, where the song won an Oscar, having already won a Golden Globe Award. That same year, she released her self-titled international debut album with Atlantic Records, which had modest sales in the US but went platinum in the Philippines and sold 3 million copies worldwide. In 1994, Salonga played in various musical theater productions in the Philippines and Singapore, such as Sandy in Grease, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady and the Witch in Into the Woods.

Back in the US in 1995, Salonga played the role of Geri Riordan, an 18-year-old adopted Vietnamese American child in the Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie Redwood Curtain, which starred John Lithgow and Jeff Daniels. She played the role of Éponine in the 10th anniversary production of Les Mis called Les Misérables: The Dream Cast in Concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

 

As Eponine in Les Miserables

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In 1996, Salonga was in Les Misérables once again as Éponine in the London production of the musical, then continued on to perform the role in the musical’s US national tour.

From 1997 to 2000, Salonga did recordings and concerts in the Philippines and another engagement in London, in addition to a few returns to Miss Saigon in London and on Broadway. In 1998, she again lent her voice to a major Disney animated film, singing the title character in Mulan, also providing the character’s singing voice in the 2004 sequel, Mulan II. She participated in the 1998 tribute concert to Sir Cameron Mackintosh in London called “Hey Mr. Producer: The Musical World of Cameron MacKintosh”, where she did numbers from several of his musicals.

After a last stint in Miss Saigon for its closing on Broadway in 2001, Salonga recreated the role of Lien Hughes originally played by Ming-Na Wen in the soap opera As the World Turns. After completing her contract that year, she was asked to return to the role in 2003. She guested on Russell Watson’s The Voice concert, narrated for the television special My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States, and appeared on the Christmas episode of the TV medical drama ER, playing a patient with lymphoma.

 

As the voices of Jasmine (Aladdin) and Fa Mulan (Mulan)

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In 2002, Salonga returned to Broadway to play the leading role of Mei-li, a Chinese immigrant in a reinterpretation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song opposite Jose Llana. This was after the reinvented musical had a run at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2001 with Salonga playing the role and in 2002 winning Lead Actress in a Musical from the Los Angeles theatre Ovation Awards. The Salonga-led Broadway revival cast album was nominated for a 2004 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. Salonga’s performance was received positively by theater critics in New York, and she received a nomination for Distinguished Performance from the Drama League, among other honors. She also sang at the 56th Tony Awards with Harry Connick, Jr., Peter Gallagher and Michele Lee in a number paying tribute to Richard Rodgers.

In 2003, she performed in several concerts at the Mohegan Sun hotel in Connecticut. This was followed by a Christmas concert in the Philippines, called Home for Christmas, and performances at the Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center in Marlton, New Jersey, in 2004.

 

 

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