Tony winner and all-around delightful human Lea Salonga launches the 15th season of the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center on January 30, and the former Miss Saigon and Les Miserables star has plenty of reasons to be excited.
“Whoever thought that this little Filipino girl would be kicking off an American Songbook series at one of the most iconic places to perform, Lincoln Center?” Salonga gushed to Broadway.com about her gig, which will set the stage for future series performers like Kristin Chenoweth (on February 15) and Idina Menzel (on March 1). “It’s a veritable mecca for dance and opera and theater and music. You can almost hear the angels sing when you go anywhere near there!”
Salonga teased the program, which centers, appropriately enough, on American songwriters. “The songs come from Broadway shows or are pop songs, and we span the 1920s to the more contemporary era,” she said. “The series focuses on the standards—the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, that kind of material—however, we’ve kind of expanded it.”
Among the contemporary composers added to the concert are Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin), David Foster (Hot Feet, The Boy From Oz) and Jay Kuo, who penned the music and lyrics for Allegiance, the Broadway-bound musical which Salonga premiered in San Diego last year alongside George Takei and Telly Leung.
“It’s an amazing series and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Salonga, who is performing at the glass-walled Allen Room in the Time-Warner Center for the very first time. “I’m just glad the weather is cooperating. I have to find a jacket that’s not too hot and not too oppressive!”