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14 Musical Theater Roles Lea Salonga Should Absolutely Play

That feeling when Lea Salonga's voice is clearer than my future.

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Here's a mix of roles she could step into tomorrow, roles she should have played yesterday, and roles she should do anywhere from five to thirty-five years from now.

1. Fosca in Passion

Here's a role that's actually on her bucket list. It's at the top of this list because it is a crime that this hasn't happened yet; Fosca is right in her wheelhouse. It's also a crime that Lea (and the average Asian actor) doesn't get to do much Sondheim. (Warning: there will be a lot of Sondheim on this list.)If you are in the Philippines, you can listen to her sing "Loving You" from Passion on her Live: Jazz at Lincoln Center album. Prepare your kleenex. If you're not in the Philippines, here's video of the number being rehearsed.
Joan Marcus / Via playbill.com

Here's a role that's actually on her bucket list. It's at the top of this list because it is a crime that this hasn't happened yet; Fosca is right in her wheelhouse. It's also a crime that Lea (and the average Asian actor) doesn't get to do much Sondheim. (Warning: there will be a lot of Sondheim on this list.)

If you are in the Philippines, you can listen to her sing "Loving You" from Passion on her Live: Jazz at Lincoln Center album. Prepare your kleenex. If you're not in the Philippines, here's video of the number being rehearsed.

2. Mame Dennis in Mame

We love a grand staircase entrance. Her "Bosom Buddies" would have us falling out of our chairs, and we would be sniffling all the way through "If He Walked Into My Life." But most notably, "We Need A Little Christmas" would be played hourly in every mall in the Philippines.
Friedman-Abeles / The New York Public Library / Via playbill.com

We love a grand staircase entrance. Her "Bosom Buddies" would have us falling out of our chairs, and we would be sniffling all the way through "If He Walked Into My Life." But most notably, "We Need A Little Christmas" would be played hourly in every mall in the Philippines.

3. Grace Farrell in Annie

The Wonderful World of Disney / Via gifer.com

This one's actually happening this summer at the Hollywood Bowl! If you grew up with the 1999 film, you were probably super jealous of Annie because she had Audra McDonald to sing to her when she was sad. And now, we will be even more jealous of this new Annie who has Lea Salonga showing her around Warbucks' sweet mansion.

4. Miss Agatha Hannigan in Annie

Aaron Peck / Via confusingmiddle.com

If you didn't already know, Lea Salonga played Annie in the 1980 Repertory Philippines production. Where Kim in Miss Saigon is considered her breakout role internationally, the title role in Annie was her big break in the Philippines. Now that she's playing Grace, it's mandatory that she also do Miss Hannigan some day.

5. Arlene McNally in Baby

View this video on YouTube

MrPoochsmooch / Via youtube.com

Playing Arlene, the eldest of the three women in Baby, would be a full-circle moment since Lea played the role of Lizzie in the 2004 Manila production. Can you imagine her singing "Patterns" or "And What If We Had Loved Like That?" We're already weeping.

6. Rose in Gypsy

"But how could Lea, who is loveliness and grace personified, possibly play this terrifying monster of a stage mom?" you ask. Never forget when Bernadette Peters shocked the critics and silenced all the naysayers in the 2003 Broadway revival. When Lea Salonga plays the role and receives rave reviews someday, you can say you never doubted her as Mama Rose.
Joan Marcus / Via playbill.com

"But how could Lea, who is loveliness and grace personified, possibly play this terrifying monster of a stage mom?" you ask. Never forget when Bernadette Peters shocked the critics and silenced all the naysayers in the 2003 Broadway revival. When Lea Salonga plays the role and receives rave reviews someday, you can say you never doubted her as Mama Rose.

7. Heidi Hansen in Dear Evan Hansen

Here's another mom role, but this show happens to be on Broadway right now. When Rachel Bay Jones is ready to take a break from her Tony-winning role, Lea Salonga could totally step in. More interracial families on the Great White Way would gladly be welcomed. Or they could cast an Asian-American actor as Evan Hansen. Either way, Lea's "So Big/So Small" would have us sobbing "for forever."
Margot Schulman / Via playbill.com

Here's another mom role, but this show happens to be on Broadway right now. When Rachel Bay Jones is ready to take a break from her Tony-winning role, Lea Salonga could totally step in. More interracial families on the Great White Way would gladly be welcomed. Or they could cast an Asian-American actor as Evan Hansen. Either way, Lea's "So Big/So Small" would have us sobbing "for forever."

8. Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia!

She already does a mean ABBA medley in concert. And it must get exhausting to only play dark, depressed, or dying roles for the rest of your life.
Joseph Marzullo/WENN / Via playbill.com

She already does a mean ABBA medley in concert. And it must get exhausting to only play dark, depressed, or dying roles for the rest of your life.

9. The Witch in Into The Woods [again!]

View this video on YouTube

ateneodude / Via youtube.com

Lea has already played this role in Singapore in 1994, which you can listen to in the video above. She was only 23, which is kind of ridiculous to think about considering Bernadette Peters opened the original production at 39 and Meryl Streep was in her 60s for the 2014 film. But that just means that Lea should play The Witch again now that she's in her 40s. And then do it again another 20 years later.

10. Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello, Dolly!

If the current Broadway revival weren't closing this August, Irene Molloy would have absolutely been on this list. In 1967, Hello, Dolly! presented Broadway with an all-black cast featuring Pearl Bailey in the title role. When the time comes for a revival with an all-Asian cast, who else could they possibly cast as Dolly?
Julieta Cervantes / Via playbill.com

If the current Broadway revival weren't closing this August, Irene Molloy would have absolutely been on this list.

In 1967, Hello, Dolly! presented Broadway with an all-black cast featuring Pearl Bailey in the title role. When the time comes for a revival with an all-Asian cast, who else could they possibly cast as Dolly?

11. Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music

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Four words: "Send In The Clowns." You can't call yourself a Sondheim fan if you've never seen this clip of Dame Judi Dench. (Spot Bernadette Peters, Maria Friedman, and Lea Salonga in the background.)

12. Woman 1 or 2 in Closer Than Ever

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Victor Lirio / Via youtube.com

If you don't know Closer Than Ever, go listen to it now. And watch this clip above of Lea and Joan Almedilla singing "It's Never That Easy/I've Been Here Before" to see why Closer Than Ever is on this list.

Closer Than Ever is a musical revue of some of the greatest music and lyrics written by Maltby and Shire that played Off-Broadway in 1989. There's a four-person cast: two women and two men. There is no dialogue, and every song is self-contained. Many of them are cut songs from their other musicals. (Lyricist Richard Maltby Jr. was actually working on the original production of Miss Saigon in London and Closer Than Ever at the same time.)

13. Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd

Here's another one that's actually on her bucket list. It would definitely be a "downright shame" and "an awful waste" if this casting doesn't happen someday. And Mrs. Lovett would fit right in on the long list of [**SPOILER ALERT**] dead women she's played.
Paul Kolnik / Via playbill.com

Here's another one that's actually on her bucket list. It would definitely be a "downright shame" and "an awful waste" if this casting doesn't happen someday. And Mrs. Lovett would fit right in on the long list of [**SPOILER ALERT**] dead women she's played.

14. Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada

Frida Meinking / Via dazeddigital.com

Side note: The film's screenwriter, Aline Brosh McKenna, directed the episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Lea Salonga guested on. It's a sign!

Who knows whether or not this show will actually happen. All we know is that Lea would look fierce af in that Miranda hair. And we're already terrified.

That's all.

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