Lea Salonga Reveals Three Roles Off Her Broadway Bucket List
April 11th, 2016
by Josh Ferri
After conquering Broadway, the West End, and Manila, Lea Salonga is back in NYC to do something she's never done before: her Feinstein's/54 Below debut. The former Allegiance headliner takes the stage April 12, 13, & 15-17 with a brand-new show of songs she adores, from pop to Broadway.
Now, Lea Salonga's resume reads like most actresses' bucket list goals: Kim in Miss Saigon, Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables, Mei-Li in Flower Drum Song, Cinderella, Grizabella, Eliza Doolittle, and The Witch in Into the Woods. So what roles out there does the Tony and Olivier Award winner still want to tackle? BroadwayBox caught up with Salonga to find out.
Helen Bechdel (Fun Home)
This is going to happen [in Manila]. I am absolutely the right age for it, which makes me so happy; I am playing somebody in her 40s. I don't get to play ingenues anymore, which is perfectly fine. I get to play someone older who has lived a little bit more of life. I'm playing someone not so bright-eyed and optimistic but rather someone who cautions the future and says, 'You are not going to live the life I lived. You are going to live a much better, more open, more fulfilling life.' She's such a beautiful character.
When I saw Judy Kuhn do this, I was like, 'Oh my god, I want to do that. I want to do this role someday, somewhere in the world.' The Fun Home director in Manila told me to go see it, and I just thought it was transformative theatre—you leave not the same person you were when you went in. Doing this in Mainila is a little bit controversial because it's quite a conservative country, so to put this show on at all is brave and scary at the same time. It's something that you don't see a lot of in a society like that, so it's about finding the things people can relate to even though their life circumstance isn't the same as Helen's and this family's. It's a story about one human figuring out who she is and another who endures and suffers the lies and affairs her husband has, which is something a lot of women could relate to.
I'd love to play Joanne and sing "Ladies Who Lunch" someday, but when I get older. When I get to Stritchy range, I'll get to that. My voice isn't quite there yet.
I'd love to play Fosca someday. It's something dark. I've seen two different Foscas played very differently, and both were exactly right. I saw Donna Murphy when she did it here on Broadway originally, and I saw Elena Roger at the Donmar Warehouse. Here's the thing I liked about Elena's portrayal of her: Yeah, she's sick; yes, you see physically she's dying; but she's the one character in the entire show who has the most fire. She is the show! She's not playing sick; she's fighting. She's fighting the little death that happens every day to her. I couldn't take my eyes off [Elena]. I think it was the best production I'd ever seen. It was intimate and powerful.
Don't miss Lea Salonga's Feinstein's/54 Below debut April 12, 13, & 15-17.