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Lea Salonga

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Biography

Maria Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga was born on February 22, 1971, in Manila (The Philippines). She’s marred to Robert Charles Chien since January 10, 2004, and the couple is expecting their first child in 2006. Lea’s brother Gerard is a successful musician and symphony orchestra conductor. She also has an adopted sister named Sheila.

Lea attended Ateneo de Manila University for a brief period of time, with plans to become a dermatologist. But she instead decided to focus completely on her singing career.

Lea made her stage debut in the Repertory Philippines' production of The King And I at age 7, which was followed by a number of musicals, including playing the parts of Annie in Annie, Brigitta in The Sound of Music and Lucy in The Goodbye Girl. She made her first album (Small Voice) already at age ten, for which she received a gold record. She also had her own musical TV show (Love, Lea). She has since then recorded many successful albums. Lea won the Aliw Award for Best Child Entertainer in 1981, 1982 and 1983.

Lea’s first big international success came in 1989 with the part of Kim in the original London production of Miss Saigon, and in 1991 she played the part on Broadway - and won several awards including a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award and a Theatre World Award.

While playing Kim on Broadway, Lea also did the singing voice of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin. She also preformed the song A Whole New World at the 65th Annual Academy Awards in 1993. Lea also did the singing voice of Disney’s Mulan in both movies, and lent her voice to both Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbour Totoro) (1998) and The King and I (1993).

In 1993 Lea played Eponine in Les Misérables on Broadway. She was also in both the London and Singapore productions of the musical, as well as briefly with the Third National Tour (while in Honolulu). For the 10th Anniversary Concert she again got to play the part of Eponine.

She has continued having a successful career in The Philippines and Singapore, with parts like Eliza in My Fair Lady and Sandy in Grease, and has also appeared in a large number of concerts all over the world - of course including the United States and the Philippines. She has preformed for Queen Elizabeth II, Bill Clinton and George Bush.

Lea has also starred in the movies Tropang Bulilit (1981), Like Father, Like Son (1985), Ninja Kids (1986), Captain Barbell (1986), Pik Pak Boom (1989), Dear Diary (1989), Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal (1992), Redwood Curtain (1995) and Sana Maulit Muli (1995). In 2001 she appeared in an episode of ER, and in 2001 & 2003 she played the part of Lien Hughes in As the World Turns.