Cameron Mckintosh's Miss Saigon is set for another run in London's West End in 2013. And guess what? (What?!) Auditions in Manila is from November 19-22, 2012! Hello? Calling all Kims!
Leah Salonga was only 17-years old when she auditioned for the role of Kim for the world premiere of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil's Miss Saigon. Leah's singing and acting career started when at the age of 7, she was casted as one of the children in Repertory Philippine's production of The King and I. Her star shone a little bit brighter when she was chosen as the lead in the local production of the musical Annie. Her career in the legitimate theater blossomed as she joined other Repertory productions. Leah was "seriously" talented. She recorded her first solo album at the age of 10 but from then on, she spent the next 7 years doing B movies and TV shows. Her career in the legitimate stage was slowly (but surely) being forgotten.
|Leah Salonga at her 1988 Miss Saigon auditions|
Before Miss Saigon's final curtain call in 1999 (West End) and 2001 (Broadway), there were other Filipinas who played the role of Kim. They were Monique Wilson, Jamie Rivera, Joanna Ampil and Ima Castro. Though these "Kims" were of international caliber, my opinion is that they all paled in comparison with Leah. No one was able to exude the youthful innocence and tragedy of Kim as well as Leah. Voice-quality wise, Leah Salonga is still the best Kim.
Local contenders for the West End edition of Miss Saigon in 2013 are said to be Rachel Ann Go, Karylle, Angeline Quinto and Denise Laurel.. There are talks that Charice Pempengco and even Jessica Sanchez are being eyed to play Kim. Among these talents, Jessica Sanchez is the only teen at 17 years old. Charice is 20, Denise is 25, Rachel Ann is 26, Angeline is 23 while Karylle is 31! Jessica has the pipes and the innocence but she does not look Asian and her voice is not really angelic. The rest are just too jaded and experienced to exude the innocence and fierceness of Kim! Ummm.. I wonder who'll cut it as Kim. Wouldn't it be great if some unknown stage wannabe makes it as Kim?