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A Lea Salonga Interview


US ASIANS: Recognizing your high priority of having a marriage partner that you can pray with and past requests (via open letters to friends and supporters on the Internet – Usenet group – and private mailing lists) for prayers to help you through various situations/performances, could you share how prayers and your faith have provided the needed strength/comfort to accomplish your goals?

Prayer is a centering force for me.
It gets me calm and relaxed, and focused on what's most important.
It also reminds me from where my gifts came from, and who bestowed them on me.

US ASIANS: As the result of your faith, have you had the opportunity to form a faith-based support network with other artists such as Gary V. and Kuh Ledesmo (among others)?

LEA SALONGA: No, I haven't yet.

US ASIANS: Noting that “We’re very comfortable praying together" – is there a place (Catholic or Christian) where Robert and yourself regularly (subject to your schedule) attend?

LEA SALONGA: We attend Sunday mass at a nearby church – nearby wherever we may be.

A Prayer from Lea

A deeply spiritual person, Lea requested friends to give her strength through prayer. "I'm writing to ask a small favor... to say a prayer for me that Monday night goes well," wrote Lea. "A prayer in any form most comfortable to you would be great... nothing that would be out of your way to do. It'll really mean a lot to me to help alleviate some of the stress of the upcoming start to the run."

"Wish me luck - rather, to paraphrase (director) Tito Freddie Santos, we can't wish you luck, but we can wish you Jesus. Even the littlest wish for a good night will go a long way."

My faith is very important to me. It keeps me grounded and centered, and gets me through some tough times.
For more info, click

US ASIANS: Acknowledging your faith-based lives (Catholic and Rob’s Christian faith), have you ever and/or would you consider participating in outreach events such as the Billy Graham Crusades, TBN – Christian television network, Rev. Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power television program and/or events with people such as Gary V.Michael Chang in Asia?

LEA SALONGA: I videotaped a Catholic special that came out on the Hallmark Channel not too long ago. It centered on Asian Catholics and their place in the greater Church.

US ASIANS: Noting your request (see below) for prayer support before a major performance through private mailing lists and the Internet (via Usenet), how important is your faith in providing the ability to perform at your very best.

    "This Monday, January 18 is the opening night of my return to Miss Saigon... and I'm going nuts," Lea wrote. "Although the cast, production team, and many of my friends and family are optimistic that the show will go well, it's still intimidating for me, and terrifying. The last time I performed in this show was in March 1992, almost seven years ago. That's a long time to not be doing something."

    "Although I've racked up some serious performing time on other projects - and gained a considerable amount of confidence in the process - this show is not just any show," she added. For starters, the part of Kim is one tough sing, hitting both the top and bottom of my vocal range. Add to that fast costume changes, running around in platform heels on an inclined stage, and firing a 45-caliber semi-automatic handgun (and singing with it holstered in a gun belt pressing against my abdomen for a good 20 minutes or so)... and this is just the first act! My greatest worry though is my voice: if I can hit those high notes when I need to (and correctly), and if I can sustain a high level of performance six shows a week for the next four months."

LEA SALONGA: My faith is very important to me. It keeps me grounded and centered, and gets me through some tough times.

Her strong sense of her Catholic faith was one of the reasons Lea was chosen to host Hallmark Channel's "Harmony In Faith" that premiered on Sunday, February 13,2005 on "The World of Faith and Values," on the Hallmark Channel.

No matter what part she plays, in whatever venue or medium, she brings one thing to each her strong commitment to her faith. "My faith has pulled me through a lot of rough spots in my life and my career. My relationship with God is pretty good. I try to keep it as personal as possible." "For me, going to confession is very cathartic. It's like going to therapy—you just don't see the other guy, they forget you and they never bill you . . . It was important to represent my country as an Asian Catholic and it was a chance to show my faith. My faith is extremely important to me. "


The program profiles music, communities and deep faith of many within the Asian and Pacific Catholics such as the Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean, Kmhmu (Laotian), Samoan, Tongan and Asian Indian populations.


Program is a video response to a pastoral document that continues to call the Asian/Pacific Islander community in the U.S. "rich in their diversity, yet one in their yearning for peace and fullness of life."

The Bishops call on the American Church to welcome this new wave of immigrants and to celebrate their presence in the United States. "Everyone in the world has different needs,"

Salonga said, "and the Catholic Church has welcomed those who wish to join regardless of where they are or who they are or where they come from. It's the one religion that unifies all these people all over the world, even as different as they might be."


Salonga says she was pleased to be asked to host Harmony in Faith. "I think it was pretty important to do. I felt it was a calling because my business isn't just all about singing and making people happy that way."   America's fastest-growing immigrant group, more than 350- thousand Asian and Pacific Islanders arrive in the United States every year, a 48 percent increase in the past decade.   Lea states that "There were nights when I was doing Miss Saigon in London and in New York when I was waking up in cold sweats because of the pressure of the show…I was just praying, just praying that I get through it."

US ASIANS: What is your selection process in what charities (see below) to support?

LEA SALONGA: We support charities that we feel do the best they can to help people, where we know the funds will go to the people that need them the most.

Lea's Charities

Lea has supported 1995/Typhoon Angela/Music & Miracles Concert, Home for Christmas Concert (with Ogie Alcasid, The Company, Christian Bautista and Erik Santos)/Bantay Bata (childen’s welfare foundation of ABS-CBN 2) and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
US ASIANS: In light of the recent tsunami disaster in Asia, what type of charities are you (Robert and yourself) supporting that addresses the great needs that exists in the past, present or in the near future in the affected countries? Note: There are great organizations (i.e. Red Cross, Music for Relief, etc.) that are providing financial resources and other charities (i.e. PATA Tsunami Relief Fund – - the AAA Celebrations – - will be donating their net proceeds to this fund) that are encouraging people to support the affected countries’ main economies (i.e. tourism) that will provide the most lasting benefit and ability to rebuild their respective homelands.

LEA SALONGA: Rob and I donated to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Lea's Words to Aspiring Artists

Determining if one has the talent;

  Train with a good teacher and practice;
  Try your luck at auditions and seeing one’s results;
  If you get into a show, work your butt of and strive for nothing less than perfection and:
  Always be on time for everything

US ASIANS: Supporting your statement “that everyone should be able make money from doing work that they would like to do. Too many people are languishing in jobs that, although may give some financial sustenance, doesn't sustain the soul. "I'm fortunate to be living that kind of life, doing what I love to do for a living" – what advice would you give to aspiring Asian/Asian Pacific American artists?

LEA SALONGA: Do some soul-searching and ask yourself what kind of life you want to lead. Aspiring artists also need to know that

When asked how she wanted to be remembered, Ms. Salonga replied,
"As someone who tried and did her best at everything she did…
as someone for whom `good enough' wasn't good enough."

US ASIANS: You’ve often described yourself as “Perfectionist. Professional and Patient” – could you share why these words are important?

LEA SALONGA: Simply put, I do my best at what I do... I take my work very seriously... and know that nothing that's worth having comes quickly or easily.

US ASIANS: Our personal thanks and appreciation are extended to Lea for taking the time from her busy schedule to answer these questions that confirm and described the passions that defines your artistry to your countless fans. Our best wishes and support are extended to Lea in all her family, business and artistic endeavors in the future.
Return to the beginning of her interview by clicking HERE
Review the many elements that make Lea a star professionally and personally

Family History
Gerard Salonga
Mariya Barreto
Personal Life
Words of Advice

Catholic Documentary

Faith and Prayer
Lea's Prayer
Lea on Prayer

Current Status of Diversity
David Henry Hwang Views
Filipino Pride
Influx of APA Talent
Marian Liu Interview

Mulan's Diversity

Problems Obtaining Roles
Role Models
Perceptions - Past/Present/Future
Supporting APA Organizations
Yellow Ceiling

Boyfriend / Fiance / Husband
Diane Monique LHuillier
Introduction to Robert
Lasting Memories
Lea on Romance
Life Being Married
New Baby
Wedding Day

Charity Work
Lea's Charities

Career Goals
Flower Drum Song
Memorable Performances
Selection of Roles

2005 Tour Dates
Favorite Roles
Musical Theater
Old School Singing
Richard Jay Alexander

Film Career
TV Experiences

Film & TV (Actress)
Film & TV (Herself)

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