Tony Award winner Lea Salonga was only 18 years old when she won the Olivier Award for originating the role of Kim in Miss Saigon in London, and just two years older when she won the Tony for bringing the show to Broadway. Now the international stage vet is ready to pass the torch to another young ingénue. Salonga recently chatted with 24 Oras about American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez playing the lead in the hit musical should the long-rumored Lee Daniels helmed film adaptation ever hit the big screen.
“If she’s the one that they’ve chosen, or she’s somebody in serious consideration, then that’s a good thing,” offered Salonga. “We all know she’s talented, we all know she’s actually quite beautiful.”
A film adaptation of Miss Saigon has reportedly been in the works since 2009 and Sanchez is just the last in a long line of young stars, including Clarice and Godspell alum Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, rumored to be in contention for the role.
An updating of Madame Butterfly set during the Vietnam War, Miss Saigon tells the tragic story of an American GI who falls for a Vietnamese bar girl. With a score by Les Miserables collaborators Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil (and additional lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr.), the musical premiered in London's West End in 1989 and opened on Broadway in 1991, running 4,092 performances before closing in 2001. Miss Saigon won three Tony Awards for original stars Lea Salonga, Jonathan Pryce and Hinton Battle.
In addition to Miss Saigon, Salonga has appeared on Broadway in Les Miserables and Flower Drum Song. In addition to a busy concert schedule, she can next be seen in God of Carnage at the Singapore Repertory Theatre in November.