Lea Salonga, who shot to fame in the original London and Broadway productions of Miss Saigon—winning Tony and Olivier Awards for her haunting, heartbreaking (and thrillingly sung) performance as the ill-fated Kim—was most recently on Broadway in the Tony-winning revival of Once On This Island at Circle in the Square Theatre, while her other Main Stem credits include Les Misérables, Flower Drum Song, and Allegiance.
As Broadway remains temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed like a great time to look back at the career of this stellar artist. Enjoy these show-stopping performances while much of the country is asked to #StayatHome.
"Maybe" from Annie
In 1980 a very young Lea Salonga starred in the Repertory Philippines production of the Tony-winning musical Annie. Years later, she would play Grace Farrell in the Hollywood Bowl's 2018 summer production of the family-friendly musical, and she has also included the musical's upbeat anthem, "Tomorrow," in her concert act.
"The Last Night of the World" from Miss Saigon
After winning an Olivier for her career-making performance as Kim in the original London production of Miss Saigon, Salonga opened the Broadway production in 1991, earning a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She co-starred opposite Tony nominee Willy Falk, who joins her in this TV performance of "The Last Night of the World."
"I'd Give My Life for You" from Miss Saigon
In addition to London and New York, Salonga also starred in a production of Saigon in her native Philippines. Here, she sings the show-stopping "I'd Give My Life for You" in the Manila staging.
"A Whole New World" from Aladdin
Salonga provided the singing voice of Princess Jasmine in the international Disney hit Aladdin. Here she sings Alan Menken and Tim Rice's "A Whole New World" with co-star Brad Kane at the 1993 Academy Awards. The animated film's theme song ended up winning the Oscar for Best Original Song that evening.
"On My Own" from Les Misérables
Salonga was the first Asian artist to play the role of Eponine in the original Broadway production of Les Misérables. Here, she performs a stirring version of Eponine's solo at the musical's 10th anniversary concert at London's Royal Albert Hall.
"Love Look Away" from Flower Drum Song
Salonga portrayed Mei-Li, a Chinese immigrant in San Francisco, in the 2002 Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song, which featured a revised book by David Henry Hwang. One of the highlights was her soaring rendition of "Love Look Away."
"I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables
Salonga continued her lengthy relationship with producer Cameron Mackintosh and composers Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg when she returned to Broadway as Fantine in 2007 in the Broadway revival of Les Misérables. She repeated her role in the 25th anniversary concert of the landmark musical in 2010 and performs one of the musical's heartbreaking ballads from that performance below.
"Reflection" from Mulan
Salonga provided the singing voice for another Disney film, the title role of Mulan in 1998. Here, she sings "Reflection," the Golden Globe-nominated song by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel, in concert.
"Higher" from Allegiance
Salonga returned to Broadway in 2015 in the new American musical Allegiance, co-starring George Takei and based on events in Takei's family during World War II, when Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps. Here, she sings "Higher" from Jay Kuo's score.
Medley: "A Song for You" and "I Can't Make You Love Me"
Salonga has long performed on concert stages throughout the world, and in 2010 she made her debut in the world of cabaret at New York's Café Carlyle, playing a three-week sold-out engagement. She was more recently seen at the intimate Feinstein's/54 Below, where she performed this touching medley of "A Song for You" and "I Can't Make You Love Me."
"The Human Heart" from Once On This Island
Salonga was cast as Erzulie, Goddess of Love, in the 2017 Tony-winning revival and delivered the most beautiful rendition of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens’ “The Human Heart” one is ever likely to hear.