Musical theatre fans were wowed with an exclusive performance tonight as Lea Salonga was joined on stage by her former Miss Saigon co-star Simon Bowman.
Singer, actress, Broadway royalty, and two-time Disney Princess Lea was performing at Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre in the opening show of her debut solo UK tour.
And Simon Bowman surprised the sell-out audience by walking up on stage and duetting with Lea to perform A Whole New World from Aladdin.
The pair first performed together when Simon played Chris, opposite Lea’s Kim, in the original West End production of Miss Saigon in 1989.
Lea was just 18 at the time and is credited with creating the role of Kim in the epic musical both in the West End and on Broadway.
Speaking after the performance Lea said: “It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Simon on stage to perform with me this evening.
“It was a very special moment for me at the start of my debut UK solo tour and I think the audience enjoyed it too!”
The exclusive duet came as the Olivier and Tony Award-winning stage star embarks on her UK tour LEA SALOGA IN CONCERT: THE ORIGINAL MISS SAIGON RETURNS which will see her perform the remaining dates:
Weds July 10 – NOTTINGHAM, Royal Concert Hall
Thurs July 11 – BIRMINGHAM, Symphony Hall
Sat July 13 – MANCHESTER, Opera House
Thurs July 18 – YORK, Barbican
Sun July 21 – LONDON, Palladium (matinee and evening)
Philippines-born Lea Salonga was just 17 when she was discovered by the producers of Miss Saigon, and cast in the lead role of Kim. She originated the role in London and New York, and won the Olivier and Tony Awards for best actress in a musical for her work in the show.
She then went on to play Eponine and Fantine in Les Misérables on Broadway and in the musical’s 10th and 25th anniversary concerts in London.
Younger audiences will recognise her pitch perfect tones as the singing voices of Princess Jasmine in Aladdin and Fa Mulan in Mulan and Mulan II – earning her the official title of Disney Legend.
Her most recent West End appearance was in 2014 as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations for Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre.
Away from the stage, Lea is a judge on the Philippines’ version of The Voice and has sold a staggering 19 million albums worldwide – making her one of the best-selling Filipina artists of all time. Her 2017 album Blurred Lines was followed by a sell-out run at New York’s renowned Feinstein’s / 54Below.
Having previously performed for the likes of The Queen, Diana, Princess of Wales, and former US presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Lea boasts numerous accolades including an Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Theatre World Awards among others.