COURTESY TOM MOFFATT
Songbird Lea Salonga revisits Hawaii for the first time in four years, with concerts Saturday and Sunday at Blaisdell Concert Hall. Salonga is keeping busy professionally, playing a new role in the revival of "Les Miserables" Her personal life isn't taking a back seat, though: Salonga is also a first-time mother.
Catching up with Lea
In the four years since Lea Salonga's last Honolulu concert, she's sold out Carnegie Hall, given birth to her first child, and returned to Broadway to star as Fantine in the revival of "Les Miserables." Coming up this summer is a 39-week tour of Asia in the title role of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella."
Salonga will do two shows in Honolulu -- tickets for a Sunday matinee went on sale this week. She offered these comments by e-mail to questions about her career, her goals and her home life.
In concert: 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday
Place: Blaisdell Concert Hall
Tickets: $49 and $39, available at Blaisdell Box Office and Ticketmaster locations
Call: (877) 750-4400 or visit ticketmaster.com
Tell me about the experience of doing "Les Miz" a second time.
Answer: I got to play a different role this time, so the experience of the show for me was completely different. Of course I knew the songs of just about every character by heart ... but this time I'm doing the musical from a different perspective. Because I did Fantine the second time around and not Eponine, it felt like a whole new show for me.
Q: Here in Hawaii we take open casting for granted. What's happening on Broadway?
A: "Les Miz" (in 2007) was cast very non-traditionally. People that you didn't normally expect to play certain roles were playing those roles. For once I wasn't the darkest in the show. It seems as though opportunities are starting to rise for performers of color on Broadway, however I can't tell if Hollywood is doing the same.
Q: Is there a character that you would like to play?
A: Oh goodness, I don't know!!! Eva Peron is one that's interested me, as well as Mary Magdalene. I'd love to play someone really, really funny for once!
Q: Is there something you haven't done as an entertainer that you would like to do?
A: Sing at the Olympics representing my country. I think that would be really cool. I sang at the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, a couple of years ago and it made me feel proud when the introduction included "from the Philippines." I knew my country was watching, and hopefully I did my countrymen proud.
Q: Do you have time to follow historical or political issues in the Philippines?
A: There's really no way to avoid it back home. We're reminded about the EDSA Revolution (the first one that ousted President Ferdinand Marcos), since it happened from Feb. 22 to 25, 1986. It's celebrated every year. So even though I don't make too much effort to follow things, things tend to follow us.
Q: Lastly, on a personal note. How do you balance the demands of your very successful career with your off-stage role as a wife and mother?
A: I keep my priorities in check, and make sure that my family comes first. All that I do is motivated by my love for my husband and daughter. As it should be.