Rachelle Ann Go and Lea Salonga at the Miss Saigon 25th anniversary gala in 2014
It may be the second longest-running musical in the world, and it may have been seen by over 70 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages, with 125 awards to boot, but this is the first time the Philippines is seeing Les Misérables since Repertory Philippines staged a local production in 1993. And what makes this run more special is that Rachelle Ann Go is essaying the role of Fantine, a factory worker who turns to prostitution after losing her job so she can support her daughter Cosette.
Even if we only saw Les Misérables once, it is a musical dear to our hearts, as our very own Lea Salonga portrayed the role in the 2006 Broadway revival and the 25th Anniversary Concert Cast in 2010 (as well as the role of Eponine in the 10th Anniversary Concert Cast in 1995).
Go received praise for her performance in the West End run of Les Misérables, and is attracting the same kind of attention in Manila. One of her fans? Salonga herself.
Les Miz can still make me cry, but only when a great cast is assembled, and the one in Manila right now is wonderful. Congrats, all!
— Lea Salonga (@MsLeaSalonga) March 20, 2016
Salonga tweeted praise for Go after watching the Manila run. According to her, “To say that I’m proud of you is an understatement.”
In turn, some of the cast members tweeted how proud they were that Salonga watched the production. Holly-Anne Hull (cover Cosette), Jessica Daley (cover Fantine), Blake Erickson (the Foreman), and Kerrie Anne Greenland (Eponine) all tweeted their admiration for Salonga.
In 2014, Go also starred as Gigi Van Tranh in the West End revival of Miss Saigon. In the original West End production in 1989, Salonga portrayed Kim, a 17 year old Vietnamese bargirl. The role of Gigi then was portrayed by Isay Alvarez, another Filipina. Her husband, Robert Seña portrayed Thuy in the Stuttgart production of the play in 1994.
Have you seen #LesMisManila? How was it? Share your experience below!