Tony award winning Filipina actress/singer Lea Salonga will return to Broadway after 13 years! Salonga, the only Asian to portray the iconic roles of Eponine and Fantine on both Broadway and West End, leads the Asian-dominated cast of Allegiance: The New American Musical which kicks off its previews on October 8.
Here are the 10 Things You Need To Know About Allegiance
1. It is the first Asian-led musical since 2002's Flower Drum Song. Both happened to star Lea Salonga.
2. First predominantly Asian-cast Broadway play, written and composed by Asian-Americans (Story by George Takei, Music, Lyrics, and Book by Jay Kuo with Mark Acito and Lorenzo Thione)
3. Seven years in the making, this was inspired by the memoirs of its lead actor, George Takei, whose family, along with other Japanese-Americans, was wrongfully interned to a concentration camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming as the US government’s counter-reaction to the Pearl Harbor Bombing. This part of American history was strategically obscured, never told.
4. Although predominantly starred by Japanese-American actors, the only Japanese in the major cast is Takei himself (Lea is Filipino, Telly Leung is Chinese, and Michael K Lee is Korean).
5. Both Salonga and Lee had to fly in and out of their native countries for readings, workshops, and performances through the years. Salonga had been busy acting as a judge of the Philippine’s The Voice, while Lee was portraying the role of Jesus Christ in Korea’s staging of Jesus Christ Superstar
6. Leung, who is known for his recurring role on TV’s Glee, played the role of Angel in the last Broadway production of Rent. Both Salonga and Lee starred in Miss Saigon on Broadway. A pop culture icon, George Takei’s role as Sam Kimura is his 9th theatrical performance and first leading part.
7. This also features Aaron J. Albano, a Filipino-Indian Broadway star, who is part of the ensemble and the understudy of Lee’s Sammy Kimura. Other Filipino actors were called on for the workshops and regional performances (Jon Jon Briones, Jose Llana, and Paolo Montalban) but had to beg off for other major productions.
8. It had a world premiere in 2012 (San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre). It won the award for Outstanding New Musical at the 11th Annual Craig Noel Awards and also received the award for Outstanding Orchestrations, and Michael K Lee won Outstanding Featured Male Performer in a Musical.
9. The musical will officially premiere on Broadway on November 8 at the majestic Longacre Theatre located at the West 48th Street in New York.
10. The internet had an initial feast on the show’s musical numbers, featuring Lea Salonga’s solo, “Higher” and her duet with Michael K. Lee, DLIST’s favorite – the Mountain’s Heart.
Lea with Korea's singing superstar Michael K Lee
"Higher" was specifically written for Lea Salonga
And here's Lea's concert-version of Higher