'Miss Saigon' to debut rewrites in Manila concert


Posted at Jan 23 2014 05:52 PM | Updated as of Jan 24 2014 01:57 AM

Lea Salonga performs at the Shanghai stop of 'Do You Hear the People Sing?'. Photo from the production's official Facebook pag

Lea Salonga to perform updated lyrics for first time

MANILA -- New material from "Miss Saigon" will debut in Manila next week, three months ahead of its West End revival, with no less than original cast member Lea Salonga performing the updated lyrics of the musical.

The Kapamilya singer was elated to share the news during a press conference held Wednesday for "Do You Hear the People Sing?", the touring production that will feature the rewrites for the first time on its Manila stop.

The concert, which celebrates the works of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, will be held on January 29 and 30 at Resorts World Manila's Newport Performing Arts Theater.

"There will be rewrites, which is exciting. I've seen some of them, and they're so nice! They are so nice! Ang swerte ng cast na 'to! They get some really beautiful rewrites in some of the songs," Salonga said, referring to the cast members of the revival, which is opening in May.

"We are going to be able to perform some of it here, so I'm excited! So the audiences in Manila will be the first to hear these new lyrics for 'Miss Saigon,' and I'm still the first one to sing it, so I'm like, 'Yes!'" she added, laughing.

Star-studded line-up

Salonga, who played Kim in the original "Miss Saigon" production in 1989, said the local stop of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" is also special because it will gather several international cast members of the musical over the years on one stage.

"I'm happy that it's going to be done here in the way that it's going to be done," said Salonga, who is joining the touring production for the fourth time. "This show is actually going to Taipei in late March. However, not in the way that we're doing it here, with all the local soloists, with the additional material."

Also headlining the concert are David Harris, who played Chris in an Australian production of "Miss Saigon"; and Marie Zamora, who portrayed Cosette in a French staging of "Les Miserables."

They will be joined by several Filipino talents, including Rachelle Ann Go, who will play Gigi in the West End revival of "Miss Saigon"; Carla Guevara-Laforteza, who played both Kim and Gigi in the London production of the play; and Leo Valdez, who is credited with having performed as The Engineer more than any other actor in the history of the musical.

Jon Joven, who was a part of the "Miss Saigon" company in Germany, will also perform; along with Michael Williams and Cocoy Laurel, who both appeared in the original London cast of the play.

Completing the star-studded line-up are Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, who has starred as Fantine in "Les Miserables" and Ellen in "Miss Saigon" in Manila; and award-winning singer Jed Madela, who was personally tapped by Salonga to join the concert.

"[The Manila show] will be bigger, for sure, and it will be really, really special, because, one, we're helping our countrymen; two, we get to have a really nice reunion of 'Miss Saigon' alums; and three, we get to hear some amazing singers sing this amazing material," Salonga said.

Produced by Bouberg Productions and Resorts World Manila in association with Enda Markey, the local stop of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" will be held for the benefit of the rebuilding efforts of Habitat for Humanity Philippines in typhoon-devastated areas in Visayas.