Check with seller MUSIC | Tony Award | Lea Salonga returns to the Tonys : Manila

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Published date: June 10, 2017
Modified date: June 10, 2017
  • Location: Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

MANILA | Photo: Lea Salonga at the Tonys in 1991

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| Tony Award | .. Lea returns to the Tonys

By: Bayani San Diego Jr. - Philippine Daily Inquirer / \
02:30 AM June 09, 2017

Like the true-blue Pinoy that she is, the first item on Lea Salonga’s Tonys to-do list is to snap as many selfies as she can with fellow celebrities who will be gracing “Broadway’s biggest night” on Sunday in New York (Monday morning in Manila).

A Tony winner herself, Salonga was invited to the 71st Tony Awards, to be held at the Radio City Music Hall, to present the performance of “Miss Saigon,” which is nominated for best revival.

It’s a sweet homecoming for the Filipino singer-actress, who won best actress in a musical for “Miss Saigon” in 1991.

It will not be her first time to appear on the Tony stage since her victory 26 years ago, though.

“In 2002, I was part of the opening number—a tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein, along with Marvin Hamlisch, Harry Connick Jr., John Raitt, Mos Def, Michele Lee and Peter Gallagher,” she recalled.

This year, she will be a presenter alongside such luminaries as Glenn Close, Sally Field, Whoopi Goldberg, John Legend, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Hamill, John Lithgow and Sara Bareilles.

Salonga is most excited about bumping into Hamill, aka Luke Skywalker of “Star Wars” fame. Imagine: A photo of Luke and Lea “reunited”!

She also made Miranda promise a picture of them together on Twitterverse. (Her recent Twitter exchange with the “Hamilton” creator had gone viral—primarily because of his tweets in Filipino, pare!)

Another precious reunion would be with Lithgow, who was Salonga’s costar in the 1995 TV-movie, “Redwood Curtain.”

Also scheduled to appear at the Tonys are Bette Midler, Josh Groban, Tina Fey, Anna Kendrick, Josh Gad, Taraji P. Henson, Scarlett Johansson, Orlando Bloom and Stephen Colbert. The show will be hosted by Oscar and Tony winner Kevin Spacey. Trivia: Spacey won the same year as Salonga.

More than a time for snapshot-hunting, the evening’s significance isn’t lost on Salonga, who sees in the Tonys a night for the theater community to show unity in a time of divisiveness and strife.

“Remember last year’s Tonys. It came on the heels of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. So many LGBT young people perished that night. But the Tonys still pushed through,” she told the Inquirer.

In these troubling times, making music and art is all the more vital. “If anything, these trying, confusing and interesting times bring out the fierceness and solidarity in a community of artists,” she asserted. “We do what we do best: We create art—and we’ll be damned if we’ll be stopped from doing what we know we were created by the Almighty to do.”

It’s one thing that’s constant in a world of variables. “We have been designated by the Universe to create, make people think, help empathize, and present a different perspective. We’re not trying to change your opinion, only to show you a different side of things.”

Indeed. But do bring home lots of selfies, mare.

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