On June 9 and 10, Broadway favorite Lea Salonga will take part in the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, performing with the 54 piece Adelaide Art Orchestra at the Festival Theatre. The concert will feature a musical tour of her multifaceted career, from Disney Princess to Broadway and West End dynamo.
BroadwayWorld caught up with the Broadway starlet for a quick Q&A before her big Australian concerts:
When did you know that you wanted to perform for the rest of your life?
I didn’t really know until Miss Saigon... I was in London. My Mum and I were at Sunday mass and there was a guest priest, not a regular. Mum and I were sitting in the pews, which was normal for a Sunday, and the priest got up to read the gospel, but something felt different and I knew something was going to happen. He said, “Everyone on this earth was given a gift from God. Use these gifts God gave you.”
I took that to mean that this was what I was supposed to do. From that point on, I knew there was no going back.
If you could revisit one part that you’ve played in your career for just one night, which would it be and why?
I really don’t know – every part that I’ve played has such a great association with it on some level, that I really couldn’t choose just one. They were all special for one reason or another.
Who are some performers that have influenced/inspired you?
There have been a lot! My parents played a lot of Abba, Olivia Newton-John, the Osmonds, the Carpenters. I don’t know how many times I listened to the cast recording of The Sound of Music – I listened to it so many times as a kid! Barbara Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie Andrews... these were the voices that I listened to growing up.
Making her professional debut in the Philippines at the age of seven in the The King and I, Lea literally grew up on the musical theatre stage and was thrust into international stardom at 17, when Sir Cameron Macintosh discovered her in his worldwide search for the leading role of Kim in the original production of Miss Saigon. She is recognized for having won, in addition to the Tony, the Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards, in the field of musical theatre. She was also the first Asian to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway and returned to the beloved show as Fantine in the 2006 revival.
Lea will appear in the new musical, Allegiance, when it is workshopped in New York City this summer.Developed by legendary actor George Takei, Allegiance tells the story of a Japanese-American family forced into an internment camp during World War II.
Full program and tickets for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival are on sale through BASS 131 246 or online www.bass.net.au. Program details are available in the Adelaide Cabaret Festival brochure. Get one free by calling the Adelaide Cabaret Hotline on (08) 8216 8901 or go to www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au.