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Filipino Singer Ivy Rose Padilla Stars in MISS SAIGON Wellington, Show Runs 4/8-24

De La Salle University-Manila graduate Ivy Rose Padilla plays the tragic lead in Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil and Richard Maltby, Jr.'s epic and critically-acclaimed musical "Miss Saigon", which is performed onstage for the first time at the ST. James Theatre, Wellington, New Zealand from April 8 to 24, 2010. 

A big fan of the pop opera and Lea Salonga (she originated the role of Kim in the West End and Broadway productions) since childhood, Padilla describes her first foray into the world of professional musical theatre as a dream come true:  "I was so excited when 'Miss Saigon' opened in the West End with a girl from the Philippines in the lead role.  I once dreamt of being a Lea Salonga; being in that show."

"I have been working at it since I was four years old. My family, especially my mother, knew that I was serious about it," she adds.

In her teenage years, Padilla had managed to sing professionally for the local alternative rock band Strawberry Fields in various clubs around Metro Manila.

Opportunities to star in the show of her dreams, however, eluded her until Padilla, with husband Poch and daughter Denise, moved to New Zealand two years ago.  

When Padilla walked into the first Wellington auditions for "Miss Saigon," she caused some bemusement among the members of the audition panel.  "I was talking to myself," she shares.  I was telling myself, "You can do this. You can do this. I was psyching myself for the moment." 

And it worked!  "Miss Saigon" Wellington director Grant Meese strongly feels that the production is very fortunate to have found Padilla during the open call.  Past productions of "Miss Saigon" in New Zealand had to resort to importing talents from overseas to fill the physically and vocally demanding role of Kim. 

Striking a balance between her family, and her work as an online learning specialist at WalTec is no easy task.  Still, the newest "Miss Saigon" is open to exploring a sustained career in musical theatre.

"I'm going to throw myself completely into this role," she says.  "And I'm not going to stop there. I'll be looking to step up and put myself to the test when other opportunities come up.  After all, I've been dreaming of this since I was four."

Padilla co-stars with Matthew Pike as American G.I. Chris, Gemma Boyle as Chris's American wife Ellen, and Chris Crowe as Chris's best friend John in the Wellington production of "Miss Saigon". 

"Miss Saigon" had its world premiere at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London on September 20, 1989, closing more than a decade later after 4,264 performances. 

The hit musical opened at the Broadway Theatre in New York City in April 1991, and again ran for more than 4,000 performances, making it the 10th longest-running Broadway musical in American theatre history.   

Salonga, who starred in both London and New York productions, won the Laurence Olivier, Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Theatre Circle, and Theatre World's acting awards for the role of Kim.

A Hollywood film version of "Miss Saigon" is reportedly in the works.

For tickets to "Miss Saigon" Wellington visit Ticketek.com or www.misssaigonnz.com.


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