NEW YORK CITY - Tony Award winner Lea Salonga is back in the Big Apple for a couple of exciting concerts.
The 2013 season of the American Songbook series opens with Salonga's very own 75-minute concert at the prestigious Lincoln Center's The Allen Room.
"Hopefully, it'll set a nice tone. It kind of gets everybody excited about the whole series and not just about the first night. Now, to have my own show there in this historic piece of New York City, it's a big deal for every performer that they were part of this history," Salonga said.
The American Songbook celebrates the best in American singing and songwriting with 21 nights of performances by 21 great artists such as Emmy and Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth.
Salonga said the New York audience can be discerning and sometimes not that easy to please so the only way to beat that is to give her all in every single performance.
"I try as much as possible to always incorporate something new, or a fresh take on something old in my concerts and I just try to make sure I'm in good vocal condition to not give anybody any room to criticize," she said.
Having played both Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables in Broadway, Salonga was all praises with award-winning actress Anne Hathaway's take on Fantine on the big screen, the same way that Hathaway praised Salonga's performances in Broadway.
"I thought it was really, really sweet for her to gush, I guess, unabashedly, and very generously over my performances so I'm really happy about that," she said.
During rehearsals, Salonga's rendition of one of her favorite songs from Les Miserables, Empty Chairs At Empty Tables, brought back emotions stirred by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connectivut last December.
"For me, that song signifies a lot more than the context that it was originally sung in Les Miz. We think about the teachers in Sandy Hook in Newtown, we think of the children that passed away in Sandy Hook, so the song takes on a whole different context," she said.
The American Songbook Concert series will continue with other great artists performing until April.
Kababayans can catch Salonga perform the Role of Mother in the Tony Award winning musical "Ragtime" together with other Tony Award winning actors at the Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall on February 18.