AS early as June 17, it was announced that West End sensation and Broadway star Lea Salonga was to return to Singapore’s Marina Sands for the staging of “Sweeney Todd” from November 28 until December 8 at the Sands Theater.
This prior commitment explains why Salonga, considered Philippines’ most treasured international artist, cannot perform at the 30th Southeast Asian Games opening on November 30, which the country is hosting.
In a grand launch of the Games theme song, “We Win As One,” where she lends her voice, Salonga did not mention about the stint in Singapore, although the international media tackled the story many times over to fan excitement to the return of the first artist of Asian descent to also play key tragic roles in the world-renowned musical “Les Miserables” as Eponine in 1995 and Fantine in 2007.
Explaining her own excitement in doing “Sweeney Todd” during the press conference of the Stephen Sondheim musical in Singapore in June, the Filipina singer-actress said, “I seem to do well in musicals where I die.”
She was referring to her international breakout role in “Miss Saigon” where she won multiple awards, including a Tony and a Laurence Olivier as Best Actress.
Salonga on Monday posted on Twitter, “Leaving on a jet plane tomorrow and will begin our 14-show Sweeney run on Thursday night. This means I will not be performing at the SEA Games opening ceremonies on Saturday. I won’t be back home til after Sweeney is done.”
Filipinos still hope that she can make it to the 2019 SEA Games closing ceremonies on December 11 and sing the theme song live.