The Philippine theater and music scene have witnessed the arrival of great voices who can both act and sing with command and charm. Yet, there’s no one like the great Lea Salonga. She’s a comet so to speak, coming just once in a generation’s lifetime.
That legendary tale where Claude-Michel Shonberg convinced Cameron Macintosh to mine this country of undiscovered good singers really ended up hitting gold when it found Lea. She practically put the Philippines on the world map with her Tony and Laurence Olivier awards and for earning the distinction of being the first actress of Asian descent to play Eponine and Fantine off Broadway’s Les Miserables.
That meant she opened wide the gate for Filipino singers and talents to gain acceptance on the world stage. Even the most recent Pinoy medal holders and record breakers from the World Championships of Performing Arts can thank her for that.
That is why no one among the media and bloggers moved an inch while listening to her sing up close during the recent presscon for her upcoming two-night concert at the Newport Performing Arts Theater. Everybody must have felt that utmost silence was the best way to show respect for someone of her caliber.
It was obvious, too, that everybody in Wolfgang’s Steakhouse on that last Tuesday of July was waiting for a photo opportunity with her, regardless of gender, age, and musical preference.
Apart from her track record, what really sets Lea apart is the combination of immense talent, class, and sense of being Filipino all rolled into one. A couple of years back she released Bahaghari, an album worth of her renditions of traditional Filipino songs.
Set this Aug. 30 and 31 at 8:00 p.m., the special show dubbed Perfect Ten: A Gala Performance is a first-rate nod to Resorts World Manila’s 10th anniversary, hence the show’s title. It also acknowledged that Lea was the featured act in the integrated resort’s first Grand Fiesta Manila in 2009.
Lea had some good words to say about RWM, in particular to its currently ongoing Ang Huling El Bimbo the musical. She said of the play, “I set my expectations pretty high knowing the kind of talent on board. But I didn’t expect to be exceeded.”
Perfect Ten will feature as guests Esang de Torres, Nicole Chien, and Tanya Manalang who each gets to duet with the theater royalty. Michael K. Lee, who starred with Lea in Miss Saigon and Allegiance, will also grace the occasion.
Presented by RWM with Ultimate Shows and Full House Theater Company, the spectacle will be helmed by director Floy Quintos with musical direction by Lea’s brother Gerald. TheABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra had been tapped to back Lea with her repertoire of Broadway and West End hits, plus movie themes and a string of OPM’s best.
(Tickets are available at the RWM Box Office in Newport Mall and all Ticketworld outlets).
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