Mark your calendars because Lea Salonga In Concert With the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will air on PBS on Friday, November 27 at 9 p.m. as part of Great Performances “Broadway’s Best” lineup. The CAAM-produced live concert will reach thousands of households across the globe as the closing performance for the fall schedule of PBS’s Great Performances series.
Lea Salonga In Concert With the Sydney Symphony Orchestra recently held its world premiere at CAAMFest Forward. The concert played to a sold-out audience as part of CAAMFest Forward’s drive-in programming celebrating Filipino American History Month. Directed by Todd Decker and executive produced by Salonga and Josh Pultz, Lea Salonga In Concert features Tony and Olivier Award-winning singer Lea Salonga live on stage during her November 2019 concert at the iconic Sydney Opera House.
In a Q&A led by CAAM Festival and Exhibitions Director Masashi Niwano, Salonga calls the Sydney concert “the fulfillment of a dream.” Several years back, Salonga and Pultz visited Australia and were given a private tour of the Sydney Opera House. Salonga remembers gazing at the stage and telling Pultz, “One day, I want to perform here.” Pultz got to work making phone calls, which eventually led to a partnership with CAAM.
Don Young, CAAM Director of Programs explained, “When we had heard that such an opportunity was available with the symphony at one of the most distinguished venues in the world, we jumped on it.” Young and CAAM Digital and Interactive Media Manager Marky Enriquez travelled to Australia last year to produce the program on location. This isn’t the first time the legendary vocalist has worked with CAAM; in 2015, she recorded an introduction to a CAAM-produced PBS broadcast documentary called Filipino American Lives which included films like Harana and Jeepney.
The end result is a dazzling, heart-warming concert packed with a variety of songs, from musical hits from Les Miserables and Miss Saigon to iconic Disney songs that were many people’s introduction to Salonga’s perfect pitch (she is the voice of Disney princesses Jasmine and Mulan). More than anything, Salonga wants viewers to come away from the program feeling uplifted after a particularly tumultuous year.
“I hope that the excitement that we all feel is contagious and that everybody that watches it feels our joy and our spirit,” Salonga says. “Hopefully that comes through the screen [and] people feel… optimism that things will get better.”
Watch Lea Salonga in Concert at 9 p.m. Friday, November 27. Check your local PBS station for details.