Looking back: Lea Salonga as a charming child performer in the musical theater

  • Singer-actress Lea Salonga started her singing and acting career at a young age
  • She made her professional debut in 1978 at the age of seven in the musical ‘The King and I’
  • Salonga is best known for her roles in the musical theater

Singer-actress Lea Salonga, who’s one of the country’s most talented singer-actresses, began her career at a young age.

Image via Lea Salonga | Instagram

Looking back, Lea, who is Maria Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga in real life, was only seven years old when she made her professional debut in 1978, through the musical The King and I. A couple of years later, she also played the title role in Annie.

She grew up appearing in a number of productions such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, The Rose T, The Goodbye Girl, Paper Moon, and The Fantasticks. At 18, she played the lead role of Kim in the musical Miss Saigon.

She’s been recognized as a singer-actress who brought so much recognitions to the country. Some of her achievements include winning the Olivier and Theatre World Awards, becoming the first Asian woman to win a Tony Award, and being the first Filipino artist to sign with an international record label (Atlantic Records in 1993). She is also the first Philippine-based artist who received a major album release and distribution deal in the United States and one of the best-selling Filipino artists of all time; having sold over 19 million copies of her albums worldwide.

Image via Lea Salonga | Instagram

Here’s a rare clip of Lea Salonga in the role of ANNIE singing “It’s the Hard Knock Life” live on-stage. This was a Repertory Philippines production.

Memory lane! Lea’s audition for Miss Saigon: