Leo Valdez revisits ‘Miss Saigon’ experience | Inquirer Entertainment

Leo Valdez revisits ‘Miss Saigon’ experience

/ 12:03 AM April 25, 2017

Leo Valdez

Leo Valdez

It’s “Miss Saigon” season once again. And a new batch of Filipino talents is all set to bloom in the acclaimed stage musical. The cast is led by Red Concepcion, who will play The Engineer—a much-coveted role once played for more than a decade by my beloved friend, Leo Valdez. It has become second skin to him.

On a personal note, please allow me to say that Leo is the complete opposite of the stage production’s sleazy character. He has no mean bone in his body, and kindness is in everything he does.


Here’s my chat with Leo:


What’s your unsolicited advice to Red? Red is a fantastic actor who can sing, act and dance. My advice: Set a standard for yourself and do your best in every performance. And save, save, save. It’s not how much you make, but how much you save.

What is your fondest “Saigon” memory? In all humility, when Cameron Mackintosh was quoted that I was his favorite Engineer.

Parts of that memory are my friends from “Saigon’s” countless productions who have become “family.”

What was the most challenging part about playing The Engineer? Keeping my performance fresh every show. It was tough, but I did it not to impress anyone. I owed it to myself to do well in it.

What did that experience teach you? That you can be the best you can be. But talent isn’t enough—it also requires hard work, discipline and focus. I couldn’t have done it without the support of God, my family and friends, Sir Cameron Mackintosh and the most creative actors and theater artists I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with.

What did your character teach you? That every person has a dark side.


Any embarrassing moment onstage? I lost one of my five-inch heels while doing “The American Dream” during a critics’ night in Nottingham and, thank God, I managed [to finish the number] without anybody noticing (laughs).

What makes “Miss Saigon” still relevant after all these years? Its love story, though tragic, is universal. Plus, there are no winners in war.

Six winners

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Disney and Globe Studio’s first digital reality series, “Disney Princess: Dare to Dream,” ended with a bang via a star-studded concert led by Lea Salonga. In a surprising turn of events, all the six finalists—Sirach Catipay, Stephanie Jordan, Hyacinth Leonardo, Jaden Narvios, Liana San Diego and Alexi Tan—were declared the grand winners. One of their prizes was a trip to Japan, where they met Disney composer Alan Menken and “Beauty and the Beast” director Bill Condon.

TAGS: Leo Valdez, Miss Saigon

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