What happens when an international performer opens up to the world, and seeks suggestions for her repertoire for a full-length concert?
You would end up with countless, even tons of crazy-sounding ideas, and a technical dress rehearsal running a bit over three hours.
But audience members did not mind staying late at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on a Thursday night (Dec. 10). Tony winner Lea Salonga, in a fairly casual demeanor uncommon in the public eye, won her audiences anew with a concert performance that is fresh, full of surprises, and consistently world-class.
Lea belted her Broadway songs "Memory," "I Dreamed A Dream," "Electricity," and "Defying Gravity" with show-stopping pipes that evening. Her pop song numbers like "If You Leave Me Now," "Now and Forever," "Open Arms," "No Boundaries," and guess what, yeah "Poker Face," and her tribute to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, were a real treat.
Lea's "Rehab" song and dance number with hip-hop dance group The Philippine All Stars was totally unexpected. Her stage collaboration with "comedy queen" Ai Ai delas Alas brought the house down. Ai Ai's entrance hinting an oversized "Annie" complete with the signature red dress, accompanied by a helium dog (HAHAHA), left the audience members in stitches!
Original Pilipino Music (OPM) medleys, including Lea's renditions of "Hanggang," "Huling El Bimbo," "Salamat" (featuring rock band singer Jett Pangan), "Kahit Isang Saglit," "Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal," "Mahal Kita, Walang Iba," "I Don't Love You Anymore," (featuring big band crooner Richard Poon) and the show finale and most requested song "Bayan Ko," were a showcase of beautiful Filipino music permeating the packed concert hall.
From over 5,000 song requests from around the globe - the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia, and Dubai - Lea had selected a diverse and electrifying set that delighted her loyal fan base, and new concertgoers alike in her two-day holiday concert (Dec. 11-12) at the PICC.
Produced by AmbientMedia, Lea performed under the direction of Bobby Garcia (Avenue Q, Dogeaters), and musical direction of brother Gerard Salonga (West Side Story, Sweeney Todd) together with the 36-piece FILharmoniKA orchestra.
Photos by Oliver Oliveros
BWW Hi-Res Gallery - Original Version