As one of the most vocal artists in the country, Lea Salonga said she is both supportive and hopeful for state of the local theater industry, especially after watching musicals like Ang Huling El Bimbo and Rak of Aegis. “They’re both jukebox musicals and I think because the music is also so familiar and so Pinoy in its sensibility, as well as in its expression, that I guess the catalogues of Aegis and the Eraserheads made them the most appropriate and ripe for something like this. I saw the second run of El Bimbo and I did not expect to be bowled over like that. It took me completely by surprise. I set my expectations pretty high knowing the kind of talent that was going to be on stage and a bunch of them are my friends. My bar was here and I didn’t expect it to be exceeded,” she shared during the presscon for her upcoming concert Perfect Ten at Resorts World Manila.
After being featured in the children’s book about Broadway stars called A is for Audra: Broadway's Leading Ladies from A to Z, Lea said she feels honored to be included in the prestigious roster. “I’m so excited. I’ve known about it for a while. But it wasn’t something I could talk about yet and then the news came out that the book was out. Now I can talk about it. I’m not the only Asian person in it but I’m the only Filipina. I think it’s less feather in cap and more of let’s introduce these Broadway leading ladies to another generation that might not know who they are especially the older ones like Carol Channing and Elaine Stritch. So these are ladies that have already passed away and their theater legacies are intact but there might be a generation of younger people that love musical theater but have no idea who they are. So the book is a good introduction to them. It’s very sweet and it’s aimed towards children but I have a feeling that a lot of musical theater fans that are adults that may get the book to add to their collection,” she explained.
In line with her Perfect Ten concert theme, the Broadway star also shared what she considers her favorite moments in her career starting as a child actress. “I think definitely getting to perform Annie in the CCP when I was nine years old, getting cast as Kim in Miss Saigon and being able to do that both in London and in New York. I think being on Broadway is one of those dreams that a lot of performers from here have and to be able to do that, it’s definitely something very special. Also being the first Asian performer in Les Miserables and that was something I felt I really, really wanted to achieve in my career. I think more than anything else that have come before up until now. Only because nobody else had done it before so I wanted to do it. and of course getting cast for the Disney movies and just being able to say that I’m a working actor,” she said.
Lea also considers her current role as a mentor and judge as a blessing. “And then being picked to be a coach on The Voice and then turning that into an opportunity to pay it forward, to pay back my coaches and my teachers that have taught me so much and to be able to then throw the energy back out into the universe and then see how your team is doing. It’s just been quite the ride and it hasn’t stopped yet. So I think there will be many more of these perfect ten moments to happen in my life as I continue,” she added.
Watch Lea Salonga perform on August 30 and 31 along with special guests Esang de Torres, Nicole Chien, Tanya Manalang, and singer, stage actor, and writer Michael K. Lee. Perfect Ten is presented by Resorts World Manila in cooperation with Ultimate Shows, Inc. and Full House Theater Company, Inc., featuring the masterful stage direction of Floy Quintos, musical direction by Gerard Salonga, and together with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra.