How can you follow George Takei (which I do) and not know about Allegiance – A New Musical? What makes it even more exciting is that it also stars Telly Leung, who is one of my fave Warblers on the TV musical Glee, and Lea Salonga of whom I have been a fan for as long as I can remember.
Lea Salonga is a Filipino singer and actor who started her career in showbusiness when she was a little girl, recording hit songs, appearing in television shows, commercials, movies, and stage musicals in the Philippines, all the while doing really well in school and getting into the pre-med program in the best university in the country. She had it all, and did it all. She was my idol. I wanted to be her, especially when she got to perform and hobnob with Ricky Martin back when he was still a gangly member of the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo (swoon!). And this was before she achieved phenomenal success in West End and Broadway, getting all those roles and awards, and providing voice for Disney princesses.
Lea’s voice is a finely honed instrument that makes such a beautiful, sweet, and clear sound. And she uses it how she wills; she can load it with whatever emotion or character the role demands.
So anyway, there I was, watching her perform a song from Allegiance on YouTube, when I saw all those other related videos. Before I knew it, I got sucked into a full-blown Lea Salonga retrospective. It reminded me why I was such a big fan, and still am. It was such an awesome trip, that I’m doing it again, and taking you, dear readers, with me.
Lea as Kei Kimura in Allegiance
First up, the video that got the ball rolling. Here are Lea and Telly performing “Gaman”, a song from Allegiance — A New Musical.
Lea as a Little Girl
This was one’s a classic, and one of her earliest recordings.
Lea as Kim in Miss Saigon
Here’s a video that follows her journey from her audition to snippets from the rehearsals. She was only seventeen when she auditioned. She went on to play the lead role, and won the Laurence Olivier award, and eventually a Tony when Miss Saigon came to Broadway.
Lea as Fantine in Les Miserables
Notice that she was holding a Les Mis playbill during her Miss Saigon audition? It is amazing how it foreshadowed that she would get to play Fantine in the musical, and Eponine too.
Lea as a Disney Princess
Lea provided the singing voice of my favorite Disney Princess, Mulan. She also sang Princess Jasmine’s songs in Aladdin.
Lea as Bride
I just had to throw this in here. I normally find it really corny when people sing some sappy love song during their own weddings. But this is Lea Salonga after all.