I think the camaraderie was the best part of it all, as well as learning the beautiful music and getting this piece out and seen. I made some amazing friends as a result of the show. We all bonded over it. Not to mention, San Diego is just quite beautiful.
Alright... Imagine that we just stole your iPod. What music will we find on it?
Bruno Mars, Adele, Pink, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Diana Krall, Tierney Sutton, Ella Fitzgerald. That's a bulk of it, I think. And I don't use an iPod anymore, I use my iPhone for listening to music!
What are some of your pre-show rituals that you do to prepare for a musical/concert?
I make sure to warm up an hour and a half before the show, and eat a little bit, but not a whole lot. I run through a song that trips me up, because I get paranoid. That's about it.
Briefly, describe what goes through your head right before you step out on stage:
"God, please don't let me suck!"
What's your favorite musical of all time?
Oh goodness, I think it would have to be LES MIZ. I'm just a sentimental softie.
Who are some of your icons/influences that have helped shape your journey as an actor?
I don't know that I can name one... Jodie Foster and Meryl Streep for the acting; Barbra Streisand, Olivia Newton-John, The Osmonds, Karen Carpenter and among others for their vocals... and later on, I'd listen to Elaine Paige... Patti LuPone...
So what's the song that you like belting in the shower or when you're all alone in the car?
I guess whatever's on the radio now. I do like whipping out a little Adele!
What is your one guilty pleasure?
Ha! I don't know that I have one. I don't watch a lot of TV shows, and what I do watch tends to be something like Scandal, Castle, or The Good Wife.
What do you most like to do on your day off?
Eat and sleep. And play video games! Assassin's Creed III is what's in my Xbox right now.
What or who irritates you the most?
Ha! Too many things to mention... and possibly offend!
Ha ha, okay, then what instantly puts a smile on your face?
My daughter Nicole... she doesn't have to do anything to make me happy. She's kinda awesome!
Cool. What makes you laugh uncontrollably?
A good comedy... a well-delivered dirty joke... my friends.
Name a dream role in another show you'd like to play someday that you haven't done yet...
Poppins. I'd love to play that role.
If you could trade lives with someone for one day, who would that person be and why?
I actually wouldn't... because I'd like to think that the grass always looks greener on the other side, and that another person's life wouldn't be as awesome as mine.
If you weren't an actor, what other career do you see yourself doing?
A psychologist probably... or someone working in mass media and communications in some capacity.
And finally... after a long, sustained career, what has been the funniest or most embarrassing moment that has happened to you during a show?
There are a few... forgetting lyrics, wardrobe malfunctions, onstage giggles (during a tragedy)... The most recent one was my microphone malfunctioning during ALLEGIANCE, and so another actor (Paul Nakauchi) had to bring out a handheld microphone so I could be heard during my big solo. Since the musical was set in the early 1940s, a cordless handheld mic pulled us all out of the action and made us laugh!
Read Ms. Salonga's first-person review of the film adaptation of LES MISERABLES here.
Follow Contributing Editor Michael Lawrence Quintos on Twitter: @cre8iveMLQ
Photos by Allen Zaki, courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts' 2012-2013 Cabaret Series continues with Lea Salonga for a one-night-only concert on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at the Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA. Tickets can be purchased online at www.SCFTA.org, by phone at 714-556-2787 or in person at the SCFTA box office (open daily at 10 am). Segerstrom Center for the Arts is located at 600 Town Center Drive.
The Center's Broadway-centric Cabaret series continues with Marin Mazzie & Jason Danieley (February 14-16, 2013), followed by Barbara Cook's 85th Birthday Concert (April 13, 2013), and, finally, Betty Buckley (May 16-18, 2013).
For more information, visit SCFTA.org.