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Lea Salonga Bio, Life, and Career:
Maria Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga OL (born February 22, 1971), better known by her stage name Lea Salonga, is a Filipina singer, actress, producer, and columnist. Her full name is Maria Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga[a] OL. Affectionately known as the “Pride of the Philippines,”She is most well-known for her performances in musical theater, for providing the singing voices of two Disney Princesses (Mulan and Jasmine), for her work as a recording artist, and for her work as a television performer. She has established herself as a prominent personality in the world of music and entertainment thanks to the many awards and recognitions that she has received over the course of her career.
Salonga soared to international fame at the age of eighteen when she originated the main role of Kim in the musical Miss Saigon in the West End. For her performance, she was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She then performed the role on Broadway, where she was awarded the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the Theatre World Award. This was before she made history by becoming the first Asian actress to win a Tony Award, as well as the second-youngest actress to win the award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.
In the musical Les Misérables, which was performed on Broadway, Salonga made history by becoming the first actress of Asian origin to play the parts of Éponine and Fantine. In addition, she played the roles of Éponine and Fantine in the musical’s 10th and 25th-anniversary concerts, both of which took place in London. She sang the roles of Princess Jasmine in Aladdin (1992) and Fa Mulan in Mulan (1998) and Mulan II (2004), both of which were certified Disney Princesses. As a result of her contributions to The Walt Disney Company, she was honored as a Disney Legend in 2011.
In the Flower Drum Song Broadway revival that took place in 2002, Salonga played the role of Wu Mei-Li. She made her comeback to Broadway in 2015 and 2016 to play the role of Kei Kimura in the play Allegiance, and from 2017 to 2019 she was seen performing the role of Erzulie in the Broadway revival of Once on This Island. In 2023, she became a member of the Here Lies Love producing team as well as the cast of the original Broadway show, in which she played the role of Aurora Aquino.
Imutan, Maria Lea Carmen, and Imutan The 22nd of February, 1971 found Salonga being born in the Ermita neighborhood of Manila, Philippines to Feliciano Genuino Salonga, a naval rear admiral and head of a shipping enterprise, and Maria Ligaya Alcántara Imutan of Pulupandan, in the country of Negros Occidental. She moved to Manila when she was six years old after having spent the first six years of her upbringing in Angeles City. Salonga made her start in the music industry after being pushed by her cousin to try out for a role in an upcoming production of “The King and I.” At that point in her life, Salonga had been singing at family gatherings since she was a toddler.
Salonga received her early education in the O.B. Montessori Center campus while she was growing up in Angeles City, Pampanga. She eventually finished her secondary school in the campus located in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila, where she graduated as the valedictorian of her class in the year 1988.
She later participated in an extension program offered by the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Music. This program offered instruction in music and stage movement to youngsters who were musically skilled.[source: missing citation] She was a college student at the time of her audition for Miss Saigon, and she was studying biology at the Ateneo de Manila University with the intention of having a future in medicine.
In the early years of the new millennium, when she was working many jobs in New York City, she enrolled at the Lincoln Center campus of Fordham University to study Philosophy and European History. Salonga’s first memories are of her singing at gatherings with her family. She made her first appearance on stage as a professional performer in 1978, when she was just seven years old, in a production of “The King and I.” Her cousin, who was involved with Repertory Philippines, urged her to try out for the role in the play.
She received her training from the business’s founders, Baby Barredo and Zenaida “Bibot” Amador, while she was a member of the performing company. She participated in shows such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1978, Fiddler on the Roof in 1978, The Sound of Music in 1980, The Rose Tattoo in 1980, The Goodbye Girl in 1982, Paper Moon in 1983, and The Fantasticks in 1988. She portrayed the title role in Annie in 1980, and she later reprised the role in 1984.
In 1981, Lea Salonga made her film debut in the comedy film Tropang Bulilit, the same year that she published her first album, titled Small Voice, which was later awarded the gold record in the Philippines. As a young actress, Salonga was recognized with a nomination for the Best Child Actress award from the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS), as well as three Aliw Awards for the Best Child Actress award in the years 1980, 1981, and 1982. She was a member of the cast of German Moreno’s teen variety show, That’s Entertainment, between the years 1983 to 1985. During that same time period, she also presented her own musical television show, Love, Lea.
In 1985, Lea Salonga and her brother, Gerard, participated in the 8th Metro Manila Popular Music Festival as the interpreters for the song submission titled “Musika, Lata, Sipol at La La La,” which was composed by Tess Concepcion and received second prize in the Amateur Division. The song was a composition of Tess Concepcion. In the same year, she served as an opening act for the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo during their performances in the Philippines. She reunited with the band to perform with them in 1986 and 1987, and she also had an appearance on their bilingual album, titled In Action.
Salonga continued to act in movies throughout his adolescent years, including roles in the films Like Father, Like Son (1985), Ninja Kids (1986), Captain Barbell (1986), and Pik Pak Boom (1988). In 1988, she recorded her second studio album under her own name titled Lea, and also served as an opening act for Stevie Wonder in the Philippines. In the first-ever performance of the musical Miss Saigon, which took place in London in 1989, Lea Salonga created the role of Kim, the primary character.
At the time, she was only 17 years old when she performed “On My Own” from Les Misérables at her first audition in Manila in the year 1988. The song was written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg. There have been instances when Salonga has cited the song as the impetus for the launch of her career on the worldwide stage.
After her performance was finished, she was questioned about whether or not she had another song ready to play. She decided to sing “The Greatest Love of All” at the audition, despite the fact that she had not practiced any other songs in before. The audition panel was so impressed with Salonga’s performance that they requested her to sing “The Movie in My Mind” and “Sun and Moon” at her first callback audition.
In December of 1988, Salonga performed “I’d Give My Life For You” and “Too Much For One Heart” in front of a panel of judges at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London. Following three days of intense working sessions in London, Salonga was given the opportunity to play the major part. During an episode of “Stars in the House” that was streamed on March 28, 2020, Salonga revealed to Seth Rudetsky and his husband, producer James Wesley, that the Sunday supplement of the Daily Mail was where she learned that she had been formally cast in the role. Salonga was speaking to Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley.
Lea Salonga Profile-
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