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Lea Salonga on playing her first kontrabida role: ‘I’m finding it extremely liberating”

‘Sweeney Todd’ the musical star Lea Salonga talks about taking the stage with Jett Pangan in the vocally challenging Stephen Sondheim musical.

BY RHEA MANILA SANTOS

Twitter: @allaboutmanila

FRESH SCOOPS

10/4/2019 11:15 AM
Lea Salonga on playing her first kontrabida role: ‘I’m finding it extremely liberating”


Playing the role of Mrs. Lovett in the musical thriller Sweeney Todd, Lea Salonga said she had no hesitations playing the role of a anti-hero on stage for a change. “This is not the first time that I’m playing someone who’s flawed and terrible but this is the first time I get to play a villain. But I don’t want to think that my fans are stupid. And I don’t think that they are. I think that they’re going to be able to separate me as a person from the character that I’m going to play. So I don’t think fans will automatically turn on me and say, ‘Ay, ayoko na sa kanya kasi she’s playing a bad guy.’ Some of the nicest people play bad guys. And some of the not nice people play the good guys so that’s something to think about. But I don’t want to insult my fans’ intelligence by saying they will stop patronizing me and my work, wholesome or not, because I get to play a villain in one show,” she shared during the Sweeney Todd presscon held last October 2 in Pasay city. 

Fans of the talented artist can expect to see a totally different side of Lea Salonga in the Tony Award-winning musical. “There’s a lot of roles that are written for theater that are not nice people and here we’re not nice folks. And I’m finding it extremely liberating and interesting and fun playing a villain. and I’m finding myself having far more input and ideas. So some of the stuff that I think of (for her) are demented, dirty, and nasty. I guess I really have that aspect of that personality is actually in me as is in any human being. And the thing about being an actor is that you should be open to playing both the good and the bad. And the same as in films, you can’t always play the nice guy. I’m very nice when I do concerts, I’m very nice when I’m a coach on The Voice. But I’d like to think that audiences are intelligent enough to be able to separate who I am in real life from who I am on stage as a character in a show,” Lea explained.

Lea also said she has long graduated from playing cookie cutter roles of leading ladies. “I do a lot of musical theater and I’m not always going to be the pretty girl with the pretty songs and the one with the happy ending that gets her prince. I’m 48. I’ll leave that to the 24 years olds to do. But now it’s nice to be able to do play interesting human beings, to step into the shoes of someone who would do these type of things,” she said.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will run from October 11 to 27 at the Theater at Solaire. Tickets are available online at Ticketworld.