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Famed singer and stage actress to perform Sunday in Reno
by Krystal Bick
May 22, 2009 | 729 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy Photo/Ronnie O. Salvacion - Lea Salonga, famed Broadway singer and actress will be performing Sunday at the Silver Legacy Casino.
Courtesy Photo/Ronnie O. Salvacion - Lea Salonga, famed Broadway singer and actress will be performing Sunday at the Silver Legacy Casino.
Fresh off a plane after an 18-hour trek from the Philippines, singer and actress Lea Salonga’s voice shows no sign of fatigue. Bright, bubbly and quick to laugh, the singing talent for two of Disney's popular cartoon characters, Jasmine from "Aladdin" and Fa Mulan from "Mulan," has an amiable presence about her, like the woman who just wants to share with you how her 3-year-old daughter loves "My Little Pony."

What Salonga doesn't immediately radiate, though, is just how much she's accomplished in her musical and acting career, having started acting at the very young age of 7, which would eventually lead to Tony, Olivier and Theater World awards, groundbreaking roles and sold-out concert halls to follow.

"To me, it was just a hobby," Salonga told the Sparks Tribune about her start with singing and acting. "I was still in school, getting ready for college. It was just always there. It wasn't until much later that it dawned on me, this is what I'm supposed to be doing for the rest of my life."

Her start was a role in a local production of "The King and I" in the Philippines where she grew up. After a whirlwind of talent searches and big breaks, Salonga has since gone on to perform in numerous international Broadway musicals, including playing Kim in "Miss Saigon," Sandy in "Grease" and later Eponine in "Les Miserables," making her the first Asian performer to take on the role.

And she's still blown away by it all.

"A lot of people go through life not really knowing what they're supposed to be doing with their lives, going through the motion of things," Salonga said. "I got pretty lucky. This profession kind of found me."

Today, Salonga has gone on to produce three studio albums and is traveling the United States for her 2009 "Inspired" tour after wrapping up a headlining performance with a Southeast Asian road show of "Cinderella." And don't forget, she's also a mother, making her pretty strapped for down time.

"It's worth it though when I hear an audience laugh at something that I say," Salonga said. "It's fun when an audience responds in that way. It's nice, it's really nice."

Performance-wise, Salonga is a true actress, oftentimes researching for hours to piece together the background and mindset of a given character.

"After getting all the information that I can, I forget it," Salonga said. "I then sing from the heart and go from there. I try to be unafraid to go to darker places if a character requires it."

Such dark places, Salonga recalls, will often keep her up at night as she actually dwells on something her character is experiencing in the play.

"I try to make it as personal as possible," Salonga said. "That's a good performance for me. When an actor is really connected with what they're doing ... and when you feel that there's an actual personal stake that the performer makes in what he's doing ... it's magic. I try to make it as personal and as intimate for myself and the audience watching."

Salonga will be performing at the Silver Legacy Casino Sunday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $38, $48 and $58 and can be purchased at

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