“I am excited and honored to be part of this beautiful production, working alongside so many talented people.”
Lea has toured the world performing in sold out concerts in such locations as the Disney Concert Hall, Singapore’s Esplanade, Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, Hong Kong Cultural Center, Bangkok Convention Center, Carnegie Hall, and numerous venues in her hometown of Manila, and in cities such as Vancouver, Sacramento, San Diego, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and San Francisco. She was also the first artist to sell out two shows at BYU’s de Jong Concert Hall since The King’s Singers in 2009.
Many fans of all ages recognize Lea as the singing voice of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Fa Mulan for Mulan and Mulan II. For her portrayal of the beloved princesses, the Walt Disney Company bestowed her with the honor of “Disney Legend” in August of 2011 along such luminaries as Regis Philbin, Jim Henson (posthumously), and Anika Noni Rose. She also served as one of the judges of the 2011 Miss Universe Pageant telecast, held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The telecast was viewed by over one billion people in more than 100 countries worldwide.
In 2010, she participated in the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Misérables to sold out crowds at the UK’s O2 arena. She also dazzled as the hauntingly tragic Grizabella in a limited run of Cats in her hometown of Manila.
Lea also teamed up with legendary Grammy winner, Patti Austin, to perform the concert series, ‘Heart and Soul,’ in San Francisco and Las Vegas. Lea also has continued to celebrate the music of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönerg, the creators of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, by participating in the recurring concert, “Do You Hear the People Sing,” with other renowned artists worldwide.
The show, which debuted in 2011 in Indianapolis, has been performed in such cities as Dallas, Ottawa, Shanghai, and most recently as a charity concert event in Manila, raising over 24 million pesos (around $500,000) to build 200 new homes via Habitat for Humanity Philippines for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.
Honored with an appointment as a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Goodwill Ambassador in October of 2010, Lea vowed to act as an advocate for the Youth and United Nations Global Alliance initiative led by the FAO. The same year, she also joined forces with Avon as a celebrity judge for Avon Voices, alongside such artists as Fergie, Natasha Beddingfield and Diane Warren, in the first ever global, online singing talent search for women and songwriting competition for men and women.
In her 36-year career, Lea has performed for six Philippine presidents (from Ferdinand Marcos to Benigno S. Aquino III), three American Presidents (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush), for Diana, Princess of Wales, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She began her career as a child star in the Philippines, making her professional debut in 1978 at the age of seven in the musical The King and I. She went on to star in productions of Annie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Fiddler on the Roof, The Rose Tattoo, The Sound of Music, The Goodbye Girl, Paper Moon, and The Fantasticks.
Lea began her recording career at the age of ten with her first album, “Small Voice,” which received a gold certification. In addition to performing in musical theater and recordings, she hosted her own musical television show, “Love, Lea,” and also appeared with international acts such as Menudo and Stevie Wonder. Lea’s big break came when she was selected to play Kim in the megahit musical Miss Saigon in 1989. Given her popularity in the role, she was asked to return in 1999 to close the musical in London and again in 2001 to close the Broadway production.
In 2002, she took on the role of a Chinese immigrant in a reinterpretation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song, on Broadway. This was after the reinvented musical had a very successful run at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2001, with Lea playing the lead role and the show garnering multiple wins and nominations, including a nomination for Lead Actress in a Musical for her, from the LA Stage Alliance’s Ovation Awards. The Salonga-led Broadway revival cast album was also a top contender at the 2003 Grammy Awards for Best Musical Show Album.
An avid techie and gamer, Lea divides her time between Manila, Philippines and the United States.