BACKSTAGE: Lea Salonga Looks Back At 'Miss Saigon'
It’s been many years since Lea Salonga was chosen at the age of 17 to play the title role in Miss Saigon, which played London and then Broadway from 1991 to 2001. Since then, the Tony Award-winning actress has starred in numerous musicals in New York, on tour and around the world, including her native Philippines. On April 2 she will perform in concert at Ridgefield Playhouse.
What are her thoughts on the just-opened revival of Miss Saigonon Broadway?
“I was talking to [producer] Cameron Mackintosh recently and he said, ‘Darling, when you started out you were fully formed,’” says Salonga, laughing during a phone chat from the Philippines, where she lives. (She also has a home in the U.S.)
“It’s great that the show is coming back — and at the same theater — so a new generation of actors have a chance to sink their teeth into it,” says Salonga, 46.
As for her recent projects, she is especially proud of Allegiance, which was filmed during its Broadway run last year and recently shown in cinema houses. That musical, by Los Angeles-born George Takei, best known as Sulu on the original Star Trek TV series, was based on his Japanese-American family’s experiences when they were placed in an internment camp in Arkansas during World War II.
“The internment was a result of unreasonable, unfounded fear, and looking back on it after so many years, it’s easy for us to say it could never happen again. Then we’re looking at the president and saying, “Oh, no, it’s happening to another group of people, also based on the same irrational fear.”