Arts & Culture

Lea Salonga Is Returning to Broadway's Once on This Island

The Tony-winning musical only has four weeks left until the final performance on January 6.
IMAGE RAYMUND ISAAC
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Once on This Island only has four weeks left until the final performance on January 6. Today, the production made an announcement much to many fans’ delight. The original Erzulie, Lea Salonga, will be back to reprise the role after taking her final bow back in June.

She wrote, “Aaaaaaand back in the sand I go!!! I’m so happy that I get to close this beautiful Tony-winning and Grammy-nominated production!!! The show is the gift that keeps on giving, and I’m thrilled that I get the gift back this Christmas!!!”

Salonga will officially return on December 27. Currently, understudy Cassondra James assumes the role of goddess Erzulie. The announcement comes after Michelle Williams took over the role of Erzulie for just two weeks. The former Destiny’s Child member was asked to exit the play after being “advised by her doctors.”

A statement from the show read: “Effective immediately, Michelle T. Williams has been advised by her doctors to take a leave of absence from performing.”

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On December 7, 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.

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!!!!!!!!!!”

During the 72nd annual Tony Awards, Once on This Island was named the best musical revival, beating out My Fair Lady. The musical has played 29 previews and 458 performances.

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Paolo Chua
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Hannah Lazatin
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Hannah is a communications graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. She’s originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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