“Word is finally out, and I couldn’t be happier! Congratulations, Nicole!!!” That was the announcement made by Broadway actress Lea Salonga as she ushers in the entry into the world of theater of her unica hija, Nicole Beverly Salonga Chien.
Lea Salonga with her daughter Nicole during the auditions for Matilda the Musical
[Photos screengrabbed from Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group’s YouTube video]
Eleven-year-old Nicole is part of the cast of award-winning “Matilda the Musical”, which will be staged in Manila by Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group. She will play Alice, one of the revolting children in the theater adaptation of Roald Dahl’s popular book. Telesa Marie “Esang” De Torre, Lea’s protégé as coach in The Voice Kids, was chosen for the main role of “Matilda”. They were chosen out of nearly two hundred children who auditioned.
While Matilda will be her professional theater debut, Nicole is no newcomer in performing. She has performed in her school, where she also plays the violin in the orchestra. She also sang “Yesterday’s Dream” during her mother’s 35th anniversary concert ‘Playlist’ in 2014 at PICC. And early this year, in February, she sang “Ring of Keys” again at her mother’s concert “Songs From The Stage”. Watch Nicole’s first concert performance here:
Nicole is surely following her mom’s footsteps in stage acting. But her Tony-award-winning mom marked her theater debut at an even earlier age. Lea starred in “The King and I” when she was only seven years old. But many will remember her as having played the role of the orphan “Annie”. And much later on as ‘Kim’ in “Miss Saigon” among many other theater productions here and abroad.
A star is born! Watch out for Nicole Chien as “Alice” in Matilda The Musical.
[Photo from Rob Chien’s Facebook account]
While Nicole is busy with “Matilda”, Lea will also be busy preparing for the Broadway revival of the musical “Once on This Island”, where she will play Erzulie, Goddess of Love. It opens Dec. 3 at the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York.
Following the announcement of Nicole’s participation in Matilda, Lea may have been deluged with questions on which play dates her daughter performance will be. This prompted the Broadway star to again take to social media to say:
“No, I do not have Nicole’s performance sked. I’ll probably have to chance it myself when I come home to watch! #MalokaAko #BahalaNaSiBatman”
“Matilda the Musical” will will run from November 10 to December 10 this year at the Meralco Theater, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.