Acclaimed Filipina singer-actress Lea Salonga introduced the very musical, which won her the Tonys Best Actress award 26 years ago in Broadway’s biggest night on Sunday (Monday morning in Manila). Sharing the task with her was Filipino colleague Jon Jon Briones who also portrayed The Engineer in the Cameron Mackintosh production.
Led by Filipino-American Eva Noblezada as Kim, the cast of “Miss Saigon” then performed “This Is The Hour” and “I’d Give My Life For You.”
Salonga, who has been a resident judge of the Philippine franchise of the singing competition “The Voice,” shared her excitement at the thought of taking selfies with stars and VIPs at the Tonys before she left for New York. She posted several of these on Twitter, including her ID as one of the night’s presenters.
The singer-actress wore a gunmetal grey pantsuit by Filipino designer Rajo Laurel and had her share of the limelight as she traversed the red carpet at Radio City Music Hall.
The musical, which gave Salonga fame both in London’s West End and America’s Broadway, was nominated for Best Revival and Best Actress for Noblezada. Unfortunately, Miss Saigon failed to bring home a trophy.
Theater buffs are sure to recall the Filipina’s big win in 2010. Back then Broadway.com reported she was a shoo-in for a Tonys Best Actress after winning every other theater award leading up to the Oscars equivalent for the stage.
According to Salonga, her Tony award changed her life. “In the sense that the realm of what was possible was just so much more open to me and every entertainer with the dream of making it—be it on Broadway, the West End, LA or Vegas,” she had said in an interview. More significantly, she said that her Tony Award symbolizes what has become within reach for the Filipino talent.