About Lea Salonga
Maria Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga, OL, is a Filipina singer and actress, best known for her roles in musical theatre, for supplying the singing voices of two Disney Princesses, and as a recording artist and television performer.
At age 18, she originated the lead role of Kim in the musical Miss Saigon, first in the West End and then on Broadway, winning the Olivier and Theatre World Awards, and becoming the first Asian woman to win a Tony Award. Salonga is the first Filipino artist to sign with an international record label .
Salonga was the first actress of Asian descent to play the roles of Éponine and Fantine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway. She also portrayed Éponine and Fantine, respectively, in the musical's 10th and 25th anniversary concerts in London. She provided the singing voices of two official Disney Princesses: Jasmine in Aladdin and Fa Mulan in Mulan . She was named a Disney Legend in 2011 for her work with The Walt Disney Company. Salonga starred as Mei-li in the 2002 Broadway version of Flower Drum Song. She has played numerous other stage, film and TV roles in the US, the Philippines and elsewhere. She has toured widely in the title role of Cinderella, among other roles, and as a concert artist. From 2015 to 2016, she returned to Broadway in Allegiance, and from 2017 to 2019 she appeared in the Broadway revival of Once on This Island.
María Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga was born in Ermita, Manila, to Feliciano Genuino Salonga, a naval Rear admiral and shipping company owner , and his wife, María Ligaya Alcantara, née Imutan. She spent the first six years of her childhood in Angeles City before moving to Manila. Her brother, Gerard Salonga, is a conductor.
She made her professional debut in 1978 at the age of seven in the musical The King and I with Repertory Philippines. She played the title role in Annie in 1980 and appeared in other productions such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, The Rose T, The Goodbye Girl , Paper Moon and The Fantasticks . In 1981, she recorded her first album, Small Voice, which was certified gold in the Philippines. In 1985, she and her brother took part in the eighth Metro Manila Popular Music Festival as the interpreters for the song entry titled "Musika, Lata, Sipol at La La La" which was composed by Tess Concepcion.
During the 1980s, Salonga also had several television projects through GMA Radio Television Arts where she worked as a child actor. After the success of her first album, from 1983 to 1985, she hosted her own musical television show, Love, Lea, and was a member of the cast of German Moreno's teen variety show That's Entertainment. She acted in films, which included the family-oriented Tropang Bulilit, Like Father, Like Son, Ninja Kids, Captain Barbell and Pik Pak Boom. As a young performer, Salonga received a Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences award nomination for Best Child Actress and three Aliw Awards for best child performer in 1980, 1981 and 1982. She released her second album, Lea, in 1988.
She also opened for, and performed with, international acts such as Menudo and Stevie Wonder in their concerts in Manila in 1985 and in 1988, respectively.
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