Lea Salonga, singer and actor

Desert Island Discs

03-12-2023 • 36 mins

Lea Salonga was just 18 when she became an international theatre star, taking a leading role in the world premiere production of the musical Miss Saigon in 1989. Her performance - first in London, then on Broadway - won her Olivier and Tony awards. She has provided the singing voice for two Disney princesses, and has become a strong advocate for better Asian representation on stage and screen. She was born in Manila in the Philippines, where she made her professional stage debut in 1978 at the age of seven in a production of The King and I. Further roles in musicals followed, and she recorded a best-selling solo album when she was 10.

Lea planned to become a doctor before she was invited to audition for Miss Saigon, and her immediate success launched a performing career in which she has made history many times. She was the first Asian woman to win a Tony for an acting role, the first Asian actor to star in Les Misérables, the first Filipino artist to sign a record deal with an international label and the first person to voice two different Disney princesses - Mulan and Jasmine in Aladdin, in which she sang A Whole New World, which won the Oscar for Best Original Song. She has appeared in numerous international stage productions, as well as television shows, films and singing tours.

Earlier this year she starred in and made her debut as a producer on the musical Here Lies Love on Broadway: written by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, it focuses on the life of Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In September, Lea returned to the London Stage in 'Old Friends' , a musical tribute to Stephen Sondheim.

She has performed for six Filipino and four American presidents.

DISC ONE: Feed The Birds (Tuppence a Bag) - Julie Andrews, The Disney Studio Chorus DISC TWO: Days and Days -Judy Kuhn DISC THREE: Billie Jean - Michael Jackson DISC FOUR: Tsismis - Ryan Cayabyab DISC FIVE: Gymnopédie No. 1. Composed by Erik Satie and performed by Philippe Entremont DISC SIX: Intro: Singularity - BTS DISC SEVEN: Baby Mine - Betty Noyes DISC EIGHT: Snooze - Agust D ft. Ryuichi Sakamoto & WOOSUNG

BOOK CHOICE: The Complete Far Side by Gary Larson LUXURY ITEM: A typewriter CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Snooze - Agust D ft. Ryuichi Sakamoto & WOOSUNG

Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor

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