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Lea Salonga Blogs on BroadwayWorld: March 8, 2010

Lea Salonga Blogs on BroadwayWorld: March 8, 2010

Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon) comes to the Café Carlyle to make her New York cabaret debut in an exclusive three-week engagement. "The Journey So Far" will begin performances on Tuesday, March 9 and plays through Saturday, March 27.

Leading up to and through her run, Lea Salonga will be blogging for BroadwayWorld.com!

For reservations please call 212-744-1600. For additional information please visit www.thecarlyle.com.

The wonders of SHOPPING!!!

I will be the first to admit, I'm not much of a shopper. I've kept clothes for years in my closet (perhaps I'm one of the millions of people hoping to fit into one's old jeans... which isn't going to happen anytime soon) and don't really keep up with the latest styles. I live in t-shirts, jeans and sneakers, and since my foot injury (metatarsalgia, thanks to the high heels that I wear in concert...call it "vanity") haven't really sought the more fashionable pieces of footwear. However, now that my Carlyle Cabaret is coming up, my management team sent me on a mission: SHOPPING.

Since, as I said, I'm not much of a mall hound, I decided to arm myself with the most absolute essential for a successful shopping trip: a gay man with great taste in clothes. For this mission, Josh Pultz, one of my agents at DGRW was chosen.

He sent me messages that I should head to Bergdorf & Goodman's personal shopping department on the 4th floor...he would start fielding the fashions (with the help of Liz Miller and her able associate Kate) before my arrival. Once I got there, I saw what he had initially picked out. A couple of pieces stood out for their style (Josh knows that I lean towards the more conservative sets) and simplicity. The Café Carlyle is a small room, so we needed to tone down the flash.

The first piece I tried was a gray Badgely Mishka jersey gown with large stones on the neckline. It was comfy, which is always a consideration when I know that I'll be standing on stage for a little over an hour. We got it fitted by Ina, one of the Bergdorf fitters (we're lowering the neckline a little, and getting it hemmed... the thing about those gowns is that they're made for very, very tall people... I'm not tall at all), and called that gown a winner.

Next, I put on a turquoise Andrew Gn gown. It looked OK on the hanger, so I wasn't sure just how it would look on the body. Once I put in on though, I felt like... like... a total princess! Josh and I both gasped! We couldn't believe it! Kate did say that it would look good worn as opposed to hung, and she was right. Needless to say, we got that fitted too.

At my final fitting, I tried on one final piece: an classic black Armani tuxedo. I had seen this worn on many actors at many red carpet events, so I thought this would be an investment piece, something timeless that I would and could wear to just about any formal occasion. I finished the day with a pair of Jimmy Choo heels. And yes, they are quite comfortable!

So yes... I think that I'm ready for my Café Carlyle engagements, thanks to Bergdorf's and my fashionable gay shopping companion. Next: making sure my actual show's all set and ready to go.

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Lea Salonga Lea Salonga is a Filipina singer and actress who is best known for her musical role in Miss Saigon. In the field of musical theatre, she is recognized for having won the Olivier, Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and Theatre World Awards. She was also the first Asian to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway. Salonga is the singing voice of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Fa Mulan for Mulan and Mulan 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. She began her recording career at the age of ten with her first album, "Small Voice," which received a gold certification. Her second album, "Lea", was released in 1988.

In addition to performing in musical theater and recordings, Salonga hosted her own musical television show, "Love, Lea," and also opened for international acts such as Menudo and Stevie Wonder. Salonga's big breakthrough came when she was selected to play Kim in the megahit musical Miss Saigon in 1989. For her performance as Kim, Salonga won the Olivier for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical for the 1989/1990 season. From its original London home, Miss Saigon moved to Broadway in April 1991. Salonga subsequently garnered the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and the Theatre World Awards for the same role.

In 1999, she was invited back to London to close the musical, and in 2001, at the age of 29 and after doing the Manila run of the musical, Salonga returned to Broadway to close the Broadway production. Upon completion of her initial stint as Kim on Broadway, Salonga played the role of street waif Eponine in the Broadway production of Les Misérables.

After Miss Saigon's closing on Broadway in 2001, Salonga recreated the role of Lien Hughes originally played by Ming-Na Wen in the soap opera "As The World Turns." (After completing her contract that year, she was asked to return to the role in 2003.) She also guested on Russell Watson's "The Voice" concert, narrated for the television special "My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States," and appeared on the Christmas episode of the TV medical drama "E.R.," playing the role of a patient with lymphoma.

In 2002, Salonga returned to Broadway to play the role of a Chinese immigrant in a reinterpretation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song opposite Jose Llana. This was after the reinvented musical had a very successful run at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2001 with Salonga playing the lead role and with the show garnering multiple wins and nominations, including Lead Actress in a Musical for Salonga, from the Theatre Los Angeles Ovation Awards. The Salonga-led Broadway revival cast album was also a top contender at the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Musical Show Album.

In 2005, Salonga played her first US concert tour in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlantic City, and Chicago. Concert dates in Washington, D.C. and Norfolk, Virginia followed. Later that year, Salonga performed with a 26-piece ensemble to a sold-out crowd at the Isaac Stern Hall in Carnegie Hall for the benefit of Diverse City Theater Company.

In her 30-year career, Salonga has performed for five Philippine presidents (from Ferdinand Marcos to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo), 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. Please visit www.leasalonga.com.