MANILA — (UPDATED) Filipino Broadway star Lea Salonga was introduced in September as the voice behind “We Win As One,” the official theme song of the Philippines-hosted 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).
Since then, followers of Salonga had been looking forward to her performance of the song at the November 30 opening ceremony to be held at the Philippine Arena, but she said Monday that she will not be in attendance.
“Leaving on a jet plane for Singapore tomorrow and will begin our 14-show Sweeney run on Thursday night,” Salonga tweeted. “This means I will not be performing at the SEA Games opening ceremonies on Saturday. I won’t be back home til after Sweeney is done.”
Salonga was referring to the November 28 to December 8 run of the musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” at Marina Bay Sands, where she will play Mrs. Lovett opposite Jett Pangan as the titular character.
The duo previously took on the roles in Atlantis Theatrical’s production at The Theater at Solaire in October.
“We Win As One,” written by Floy Quintos and composed by National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab, was launched with Salonga performing the song about camaraderie amid competition.
At that time, Salonga already mentioned she would not be able to take part in the opening ceremony because of her work commitments in Singapore.
Its music video, which shows Salonga singing, intercut with scenes of athletes in various sports, was released in October.
Salonga’s statement on Monday came amid mounting criticism over the SEA Games organizing agency’s lack of preparation, from problems in transportation and lodging of athletes, to unfinished structures at sporting venues, among others.
The agency, the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), has since apologized and vowed “to do better” in the coming weeks.