So, how have you been?

So, how have you been?

By: - Columnist
/ 12:16 AM May 16, 2024

Salonga in Stephen Sondheim’s “Old Friends”

Salonga in Stephen Sondheim’s “Old Friends” —PHOTO BY DANNY KAAN

NEW YORK—Not too long ago, Elmo (yes, “Sesame Street’s” very red, sweet and furry resident) asked a question on social media. It was simple: “How are you doing?” The answers that came flying in filled quite the range, giving the impression that no, we’re not all all right.

The safe space that Elmo—and later on, his other muppet friends—afforded on the usually toxic cesspool that social media platforms can be was in that moment cathartic and honest, allowing folks to release the more negative answers to this innocent question. A couple of days later, Elmo expressed his gladness at having asked.


If I were to reply to Elmo’s query … well, some days are quiet, humdrum and routine; others more of a roller-coaster (especially when I watch plays and musicals); and still, others are busy when the work calls come.


True, I haven’t written in this space in a good long while. There hasn’t been much to write about, at least in my mind. Yes, there was the one Broadway show (David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s multinominated “Here Lies Love,” where I also served as one of the producers), the one West End show (Stephen Sondheim’s “Old Friends” standing alongside the legendary Bernadette Peters … oh, the show will be coming to the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles and then the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Broadway in early to mid-2025), a few concerts in the United States here and there, and of course fulfilling the Momma duties for Nic.

Perhaps I needed to give myself time to just be in the moment and not worry about chronicling the details of what’s been going on in my everyday life. But then again, writing about things has been a lot of fun, a great way to reflect upon what’s happened and what’s to come.

Lea Salonga


Varied and wonderful

Maybe it’s time to make this a regular thing again. During the pandemic, it felt futile to write since most of my days were all about nothing in particular, save for baking loaves of sourdough and fangirling over BTS. My own mental health possibly took a hit, and needed the time and space to navigate its way back to normal, whatever that means.

Over the past week, the shows I’ve gotten to see were varied and wonderful. Since Nic was on a class trip, I made reservations to see a few different things: “The Lonely Few” at MCC Theatre starring Lauren Patten (Tony-winning star of “Jagged Little Pill”); “Hadestown” at the Walter Kerr Theatre (which for a limited time stars the Drama Desk- and Olivier-nominated star of the revival of “Miss Saigon” Jon Jon Briones as Hermes, and his daughter, “Star Trek: Picard” star Isa Briones as Eurydice, and Tony-nominated Phillip Boykin from the Broadway revivals of “Once on This Island” and “Porgy and Bess,” among other superstars; and Alicia Keys’ new Broadway show “Hell’s Kitchen,” starring newly minted Tony nominees Maleah Joi Moon, Shoshanna Bean, Kecia Lewis and Brandon Victor Dixon.

At each of these shows, I found myself in body-wracking sobs for a number of reasons, but mostly because I found myself completely engrossed in the stories and totally bowled over by their performances.

The author (right) with Bernadette Peters and Cameron Mackintosh

The author (right) with Bernadette Peters and Cameron Mackintosh —PHOTO BY CRAIG SUGDEN



I was also able to take in a night at the Village Vanguard jazz club courtesy of Darryl and Christine Pellegrini (it was a Monday, so the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra was the main event, and they were incredible), as well as Michelle Collins’ comedy show at Town Hall, thanks to my manager (and gay-in-charge) Josh Pultz, and getting to attend the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Awards as a guest of fashion designer Josie Natori. Best friend Victor Lirio was also in attendance, and the two of us ended the evening with an impromptu martini night at The Carlyle.

No, my days aren’t usually this packed!

For the most part, it starts off with a cup of coffee brewed in a Moka pot (thanks to my Italian friends for getting me started, you’ve ruined me for life); turning on some music whether it’s smooth jazz, ‘80s pop, show tunes or—you guessed it—BTS; catching up with the laundry; doing the dishes; playing a video game; maybe a long walk outside and checking in with friends.

This week, there’s figuring out what Nic wants to do for the big 18th birthday on Thursday, as well as studying music for shows coming up. It’s also visa appointments, getting stuff at home repaired, appreciating my plants and rearranging furniture (I liken it to playing Tetris, but in real life).

Right now, I’m seated at my dining table, writing, taking stock of what’s been going on and what’s to come.

And right now, I’m doing all right.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Now allow me to ask you: How are you doing?

TAGS: Backstory, Lea Salonga

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.