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Lea Salonga Opens CATS In Manila With A Sprained Ankle, Show Extends Till 8/22

Tony award-winning actress Lea Salonga has tripped and sprained her ankle as she was heading to her first stage entrance during the technical and dress rehearsal for the Philippine premiere of the musical "Cats: Now and Forever" Thursday at the Nicanor Abelardo Theatre of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) .  Ms. Salonga, who dons Grizabella's scruffy costume, and the Australian touring cast and crew of the T.S. Eliot/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical officially open "Cats" Manila run Saturday, July 24, 2010.

The show's producers - Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, David Atkins Enterprises, Concertus, All Youth Channels, and The Really Useful Company Asia Pacific - recently announced an extension till Sunday, August 22, 2010 due to tickets in high demand.

Ms. Salonga in a press and media huddle Friday morning shared her account of the accident, "I sprained my ankle as I was heading to my first stage entrance, in my Grizabella costume with the heels! I stepped on the covered cables then twisted my ankle, and I fell. So our "vet" (physiotherapist Bronwyn Claassen) looked at it with an ultrasound and taped it secure."

"It was taped before the evening technical run. There would have been no way to tape it earlier. That unitard is very difficult to take off once it's on and you're sweating," she added.

But Ms. Salonga assures her Filipino fans that "as long as I can sing, I'll be in the show." 

The international stage and television actress is poised to appear in all the performances of "Cats" in Manila, including matinee and additional shows. 

Ms. Salonga, deemed to be the only Filipino artist in a production dominated by Australian "triple threat" performers, plays her shortest role in a stage musical. Grizabella dances and sings her big song "Memory" in scattered 12-minute duration.  Her most recent Broadway credit as the penniless prostitute Fantine in Alain Boublil/Claude-Michel Schönberg's popular musical adaptation of "Les Miserables" went beyond mere 12 minutes. 

Although her feline role in "Cats" is indeed short, Ms. Salonga considers playing the old glamour cat a very difficult character to tackle because of the occasional dancing required by the material.  "Even though I'm all the way in the back, I still have to perform big.  I still have to do the choreography at the same level as everyone is," she said.

Ms. Salonga gained international stardom for her award-winning portrayal of  the young, single mother Kim in Alain Boublil/Claude-Michel Schönberg's epic musical "Miss Saigon" in the West End and on Broadway.  In New York, she not only won the prestigious 1991 Tony Award for "Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical", but also won an Outer Critics Circle Award, and a Drama Desk Award for the same role. Past Broadway credits also include "Les Miserables", and "The Flower Drum Song".  Right after her stint as Grizabella in "Cats" Manila, she is flying to London to reprise her role as Fantine at the 25th anniversary concert of "Les Miserables" at the O2 Arena in Greenwich Sunday October 3, 2010.  She performs alongside Jonas Brothers' Nick Jonas (Marius) and "Lover Never Dies" Phantom Ramin Karimloo (Enjolras) in the highly anticipated musical theatre event.

"Cats" Manila tickets are available at Ticketworld:  call (632) 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph


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