Name: Lea Salonga
Universe: Broadway and Disney
Bio: Lea Salonga became a Broadway star at age 18 when she starred in Miss Saigon in London and on Broadway. She won several awards for her performance, including the Tony award (and the first Asian American to do so). She also performed in both the 10th and 25th anniversary concerts of Les Miserables as Eponine and Fantine respectively. Most people outside of the theatre community probably know her best as the singing voice for both Princess Jasmine and Mulan, for which she was named a Disney Legend in 2011. She is currently starring on Broadway with George Takei and Telly Leung in Allegiance, which will run until February 14th.
Why I have a crush on her:
My two biggest nerd areas are Disney and theatre, and Lea Salonga satisfies both of these.
I’ve been in love with Lea Salonga’s voice for what seems like forever. As with most people, I first heard her when she sang A Whole New World in Aladdin. And then she also got to sing as Mulan. Classic Disney films and animations used to use the same actors for several movies, but the more modern Disney animated films very rarely use the same actor in two different movies, at least not for the lead characters, so I can only imagine how cool it must be to claim credit for TWO Disney Princesses! Growing up I wanted to be a voice over artist badly, and I really wanted to voice a Disney Princess.
And then there’s her theatre resume. She’s played both Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables; two roles most people would kill to do and she’s done both (and I don’t think she murdered anyone to do them, but I can’t say for sure). She’s also played Grizabella in Cats and Cinderella in the Rogers and Hammerstein show in the Philippines. And of course she starred in Miss Saigon and Flower Drum Song on Broadway.
But here’s the thing I didn’t realize until I recently started following her on Facebook; Lea Salonga is a big ole’ nerd like the rest of us. She certainly has no issues speaking her mind, supporting women’s rights, minority’s rights, and artist’s rights. She also makes Star Wars references and pines over Tom Hiddleston! The more I read about her, the more I love her.
And Lea, if you’re reading this, I have a Mulan poster that Ming Na-Wen signed, and I’d love to add your autograph to it!