Hectic in Indiana, back in NYC and soon, TokyoBy Lea Salonga
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Manhattan, how I have missed you… “Allegiance” begins rehearsals for its developmental lab tomorrow, and I can’t wait for “school” to start again. I’ve missed everyone so much… we will have some missing personnel (Michael K. Lee is in Seoul playing Jesus in a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and a few cast members from our Old Globe Theater production will not join us). But this means brand new people in the cast, plus a few old ones from previous versions of the show. It’s all very exciting! This is our last shot before the show lands on Broadway. If the stars align perfectly, we should be on the Great White Way next season. Cross your fingers, everyone!
I didn’t head straight to NYC. My trip began with a few days in Los Angeles (my husband Rob turned 42 on April 20 and celebrated with a Benihana meal tradition shared with his cousin Paul whose birthday is two days before) visiting family, then off to Goshen, Indiana for a concert at Goshen College.
Goshen is a small town not far from the city of South Bend, Indiana (home of Notre Dame University). It is home to a great student orchestra and choir, according to Brian Mast, managing director of the performance venue at Goshen College.
One would not expect such a beautiful performance space in a small town in America, but lo and behold, there is one. The house is gorgeous, with plenty of wood to create a very “live” room, ample dressing room space, rehearsal rooms for instrumentalists, vocalists and choirs. There is a recital hall apart from the concert space, with a capacity of about 200.
A big deal
Following Goshen was the three and a half-hour drive to
Indianapolis, home of the Indiana Pacers for another set of concerts with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO), under the baton of Pops conductor Jack Everly. Jack and I had worked before on another concert with the ISO, “Do You Hear the People Sing”—a celebration of the works of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, performing alongside Stephanie J. Block, Peter Lockyer, Terrence Mann and Marie Zamora. This time, I performed alone with my own repertoire. Many of my charts were created by my brother Gerard, and they sounded absolutely beautiful, exciting and clean. They received many compliments from Jack, which made me go “Squeeee” on the inside.
It was quite a deal to sing with an orchestra like this one. First readings were close to perfect, and during rehearsals, I found myself not needing to repeat a song. I had brought my daughter Nicole and she sang a little bit into the microphone during a few numbers. She visited the ISO music library and was given a harmonica as a souvenir.
The first performance was “Coffee Concert,” which had an abbreviated (70 minutes) repertoire. It was a bit challenging; it started at 11 a.m., and to have one’s voice in tip-top condition bright and early is not impossible but not always easy, either. Thankfully, I had hair and make-up help, plus a wardrobe lady to make sure my clothes were nicely pressed.
The succeeding concerts went wonderfully, both at the ISO home at the Hilbert Circle Theater and The Palladium at the Center for Performing Arts in the nearby city of Carmel. I had such a wonderful time singing with this great orchestra, and I’m hoping for another opportunity to do so.
To Maestro Jack Everly and everyone at the ISO, thank you for an incredible weekend!
If you haven’t already, head to the RCBC Theater for Viva Atlantis’ production of “The Full Monty,” starring Mark Bautista, Arnell Ignacio, Niño Alejandro, Jamie Wilson, Marco Sison and OJ Mariano. The musical is directed by Chari Arespacochaga with choreography by Gemini Quintos. It opened April 19, and ends May 5. I can’t watch this fun and funny show, but wish cast and crew the very best.
Yet another shameless bit of self-promotion… I shall return to the historic Café Carlyle on May 21 for a three-week run of “Back to Before,” a celebration of and tribute to some of my favorite ladies. It will be my third run at the Carlyle, and it’s always a great, great time. “Back to Before” is directed by my friend Victor Lirio; musical direction by Larry Yurman.
After New York City, I head off to Tokyo for a concert series called “4Stars,” with Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess and Yu Shirota. This one is directed by Daniel Kutner, musical direction by Jason Robert Brown (the man behind the Tony Award-winning “Parade,” and one of my favorite shows, “The Last 5 Years”).
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