Among the most sounding names in both local and international theater is the one and only Lea Salonga. With her success in landing her iconic role as Kim in both West End and Broadway productions of Miss Saigon, being the first actress of Asian descent to play the roles of Eponine and Fantine in Broadway’s Les Misérables, and being the singing voices of Disney’s Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Mulan; the versatile Filipina has indeed brought honor to us all.
Wearing the shoes of many different characters in theater from when she starred as Annie at the age of 9 in the year 1980, and still being in the industry to this day has equipped the Tony awardee with golden words of wisdom for aspiring theater folks who experience rejection.
Despite all of the accomplishments in her career, Lea is not shy to admit that there have also been plenty of jobs that she vied for and did not get successfully. “I [didn’t] get every job that I auditioned for, and it’s a healthy thing. If that doesn’t make you tough, I don’t know what will,” she points out.
Lea then proceeds to tell a story about one of her college friends’ sons who is now pursuing theater. When she asked the then 14-year-old boy why he wanted to do theater, the answer she got was, “Well, because I love it.” “Well, what if it doesn’t love you back?”, Lea asked.
“This is one of the toughest performing art forms. You have to want to do this more than you want to make love to your partner. I’m not even joking. You think you guys think I’m kidding, but it has to be a basic necessity like oxygen and water and food. It cannot be ‘Wala lang, kasi gusto ko lang.’ That’s not enough motivation to do theater, whether straight theater or musical theater. It has to be a desire that exceeds every reptilian desire you have. It [must] exceed that. You have to really desire it from the innermost parts of your soul. And I sound like I’m speaking in hyperbole, but theater doesn’t always love people back,” Lea says.
‘’It’s one of those things that’s so gosh darn hard. Even for people that have a gazillion Tony Awards in their living room. It’s hard and it’s heartbreaking and it can be vicious and fickle, and it’s not always kind. But you still want to have to have a relationship with it, and you [must] stick to it. It’s an interesting mistress to have,” she says about the harsh reality in theater.
Just like Lea Salonga influences Philippine theater, she also serves as an inspiration in Resorts World Manila’s aim in promoting the country’s world-class homegrown talent from its beginnings in 2009 until the present day.
In a back-to-back concert, Lea Salonga celebrates Resorts World Manila’s 10th anniversary with a two-night gala performance on August 30 and 31, 8PM, at the award-winning Newport Performing Arts Theater in a concert called Perfect Ten.
With a repertoire from Broadway and West End hits to theme songs of classic movies we’ve grown with and more, Perfect Ten also features Lea’s handpicked guests including Esang de Torres, Nicole Chien, and Tanya Manalang. Joining them onstage is another big name in the theater industry who starred alongside Lea in Miss Saigon and Allegiance, singer, stage actor, and writer – Michael K. Lee.
Perfect Ten is a topnotch concert to look out for. Featuring stage direction of Carlos Palanca Memorial Award Winner Floy Quintos, musical direction by Gerard Salonga, and together with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra. Mark your calendars and be part of the celebration.
Tickets are available at the Resorts World Manila (RWM) Box Office on the ground floor of Newport Mall and all TicketWorld outlets. Download the RWM Mobile App or visit www.rwmanila.com for more exciting events in celebration of RWM’s 10th anniversary.