Known across the world for her powerful voice and perfect pitch, Lea Salonga is a singer and actress who is best known for her Tony award-winning role in Miss Saigon. In addition to the Tony, she has won the Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards in the field of musical theatre. She was also the first Asian to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway and returned to the beloved show as Fantine in the 2006 revival.
Lea most recently starred in the Broadway revival of Once on This Island as the Goddess of Love, Erzulie.
In late 2017, Lea released Bahaghari, an album of traditional Filipino songs. The album serves as a reflection of all the intricate and different languages found in the Philippines and aims to help preserve the island nation’s dynamic culture.
Lea also released her electrifying live album Blurred Lines in spring 2017. The album was recorded during her sold-out run at Feinstein’s / 54Below the year before. The six-date showcase was received with overwhelming accolades from fans and critics alike. It was so well received that Lea returned to the famed venue for a record-setting 15-show encore performance that wrapped up her latest North American tour in the late spring (2017).
Lea also serves as a judge on the Philippines hit version of The Voice. Mitoy Yonting, a member of Team Lea, was named the first season winner. She recently wrapped the third season of The Voice Kids.
She began 2015 with a sold-out concert at New York’s Town Hall titled “Kaleidoscope” as well as performed on tour in the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.
In the fall 2015 Lea began her celebrated run as Kei Kimura in the Broadway production of Allegiance. The musical, inspired and developed by legendary actor George Takei, tells the story of a Japanese American family forced into an internment camp during World War II. Lea garnered a Craig Noel nomination for Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical for her performance in the Old Globe production of Allegiance, and can be heard on the show’s original cast album.
Following this, Lea made a guest appearance on the acclaimed CW television show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Later that year, she performed a critically celebrated cabaret run at Feinstein’s/54 Below and performed in concert with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra as well as at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops in a new version of Boublil and Schönberg’s “Do You Hear the People Sing.”
Lea made her debut in the world of Cabaret in 2010, performing a sold out, three week engagement at the Café Carlyle in New York City. She returned in June 2011 to delight audiences in another multi-week engagement and released a live version of her 2010 concert Lea Salonga: The Journey So Far, her 26th career CD, in August 2011. The CD rose to the #3 spot on iTunes Jazz Charts. In 2013, she did a third engagement titled “Back to Before,” which was lauded by The New York Times.
Lea has toured all over the world, performing sold out concerts in such locations as the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Singapore’s Esplanade (twice), Kuala Lumpur Convention Center (twice), Hong Kong Cultural Center (multiple times), Queen Sirikit Convention Center in Bangkok, Carnegie Hall in New York and in various venues in Vancouver, Sacramento, San Diego, Phoenix, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, San Bernardino, Cerritos and San Francisco.
Many fans of all ages recognize Lea as the singing voice of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Fa Mulan for Mulan and Mulan II. For her portrayal of the beloved princesses, the Walt Disney Company bestowed her with the honor of “Disney Legend” in August of 2011 along with such luminaries as Regis Philbin, Jim Henson (posthumously) and Anika Noni Rose.
In 2010 she participated in the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Misérables to sold-out crowds at the UK’s O2 arena. She also dazzled as the hauntingly tragic Grizabella in a limited run of CATS in her hometown of Manila. Lea also teamed up with legendary Grammy® winner Patti Austin to perform the concert series “Heart and Soul” at venues throughout the United States.
Honored with an appointment as a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Goodwill Ambassador in October of 2010, Lea vowed to act as an advocate for the Youth and United Nations Global Alliance initiative led by the FAO. The same year, she also joined forces with Avon as a celebrity judge for “Avon Voices,” alongside such artists as Fergie, Natasha Beddingfield and Diane Warren, in the first ever global, online singing talent search for women and songwriting competition for men and women.
In her 37-year career, Lea has performed for six Philippine presidents (from Ferdinand Marcos to Benigno S. Aquino III), three American Presidents (George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush), and for Diana, Princess of Wales and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She began her career as a child star in the Philippines, making her professional debut in 1978 at the age of seven in the musical The King and I. She went on to star in productions of Annie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Fiddler on the Roof, The Rose Tattoo, The Sound of Music, The Goodbye Girl, Paper Moon and The Fantasticks.
Lea's big break came when she was selected to play Kim in the megahit musical Miss Saigon in 1989. Given her popularity in the role, she was asked to return in 1999 to close the musical in London and again in 2001 to close the Broadway production.
An avid techie and gamer, Lea Salonga divides her time between Manila, Philippines with her family and the United States.