Arts & Culture

Lea Salonga Will Play Sweeney Todd's Mrs. Lovett in Manila

Sweeney Todd will run in October 2019 at The Theatre at Solaire.
IMAGE RAYMUND ISAAC
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Lea Salonga has always played strong female characters, and her newest one is no different. On December 7, it was announced that she will be playing Mrs. Lovett in Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group’s Sweeney Todd in Manila next year.

“I cannot tell you how excited I am to be cast in one of my favorite Sondheim musicals,” Salonga said in a statement. “It pleases and tickles me to no end that I’m finally old enough to play Mrs. Lovett! She is such a well-written, thoroughly fleshed-out character that’s equal parts drama, comedy, music, and crazy. And I am all about the crazy.”


Sweeney Todd will run in October 2019 at The Theatre at Solaire. The titular role will be played by singer and guitarist Jett Pangan, his first musical in five years since playing Lord Farquaad in Shrek. Atlantis’ artistic director Bobby Garcia will direct the production.

“What a thrill and honor it is to have Lea join us for our final musical for our 20th Anniversary,” Garcia said. “I think she will create a Mrs. Lovett unlike any other, one that will be remembered for a very long time.”

Salonga is fresh from her portrayal of Erzulie from Once On This Island. Yesterday, it was announced that the adaptation’s musical album had earned a nomination at the 61st annual Grammy Awards. The other musical theater nominees in the category are The Band’s Visit, Carousel, Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert, and My Fair Lady.

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Salonga took to Instagram to celebrate the news. She wrote, “Pardon me for screaming but... THE ONCE ON THIS ISLAND CAST ALBUM JUST GOT NOMINATED FOR A GRAMMY!!! OHHHHH MYYYYYY GODDDDDDDD!!!!!!!! We did it, Island Family!!!!!!!!!!”

The Tony-winning revival was Salonga’s much-awaited return to the Broadway stage. There she starred alongside Alex Newell of Glee fame, and Quentin Earl Darrington from Cats. It tells the story of island girl Ti Moune who is smitten with a rich boy from the other side of the island. She is guided by island gods Erzulie (played by Salonga), Asaka (Alex Newell), Papa Ge (Merle Dandridge), and Agwe (Quentin Earl Darrington) throughout.

Watch a clip of Lea Salonga perform “The Human Heart” from Once On This Island below:

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Paolo Chua
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