Lea Salonga discusses Filipino connection to 'Miss Saigon' legacy

Lea Salonga discusses Filipino connection to ‘Miss Saigon’ legacy

/ 09:02 PM February 26, 2024

Lea Salonga discusses Filipino connection in Miss Saigon’s legacy

Lea Salonga. Image: Instagram/@msleasalonga

An excited “yes!” was heard from Lea Salonga when she learned that Boublil & Schönberg’s classic musical “Miss Saigon” coming back to the Philippines was opened up, where she said its timely story is one of the reasons why it continues to resonate with many generations.

“To have played it first in the show and for it to still have legs, it’s interesting that 35 years on, there are still folks who are able to connect to the story, history, and music,” Salonga told INQUIRER.net on the sidelines of The Tabernacle Choir World Tour’s press conference.


The acclaimed theater actress played the eponymous “Miss Saigon” during in its first and original West End run, as well as in the Original Broadway theater in 1989 and 1991.


Thirty-five years later, Salonga said its storyline of “innocents still caught in the crossfire” is perhaps one of the reasons why the audiences still relate to the musical to this day. “I think that any generation that has experienced, or at least witnessed on television or mass media, that armed conflict is still ongoing.”

“For as long as it’s still happening and it’s not a distant experience, there will always be folks who will look at the show and think,”

‘Multi-layered connection’

Salonga also noted the connection of “Miss Saigon” to the Filipino audiences extends beyond its music and story. For her, it has something to do with her fellow Filipinos who are chosen to perform the musical in different countries — which is somewhat related to Kim’s own story.

“I think the connection is multi-layered. It’s not just music, it’s not just about the story, it’s not about, ‘Oh the guy from ‘Les Mis’ created this other musical,’” she said. “I think that because in the original company, there are so many of us that came from here (in the Philippines) and went over there. There are still folks who came from here and are still recruited to go and perform various roles in different productions.”

For Salonga, it can also be related to the “legacy” of “Miss Saigon” which goes far greater than herself.


“It’s one of those legacy things. It’s something that I think we as Filipino artists get to feel like we have ownership of,” she said. But it remains unknown if she will be in the country in the musical’s theatrical run.

Salonga is back in the Philippines to perform with The Tabernacle Choir for the second time after singing with them in December 2022 in Utah.

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Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of “Miss Saigon,” which will run from March 23 to May 12, stars Filipina-Australian theater actress Abigail Adriano as the Vietnamese girl Kim, while Nigel Huckle will take the part of American GI Chris.

Also included in the cast are P-pop idol Kiara Dario as Gigi, Seann Miley Moore as the Engineer, Laurence Mossman as Thuy, Lewis Francis as John, and Sarah Morrison as Ellen.

TAGS: Lea Salonga, Miss Saigon, Musical Theater

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