10 Filipinos Shine in U.K. Tour of Miss Saigon

They make up 1/4 of the cast!


(SPOT.ph) Mention Miss Saigon to a Filipino and the name Lea Salonga would immediately come to mind. The theater actress, after all, played the lead role of Kim in the West End (1989) and Broadway (1991) productions, and eventually became the first Asian to win the sought-after Tony Award. Other Filipina names that portrayed Kim in the various international tours of this award-winning musical were Monique Wilson (West End, 1990), Joana Ampil (London, 1993), Ma-anne Dionisio (Toronto, 1993), and a handful more. Following this trail of Filipino pride are more local thespians who are now part of the U.K. tour of Miss Saigon.




A photo posted by Winchester Lopez (who plays a swing role) on July 14 shows the 10 Filipinos who make up almost one-fourth of the 38-member cast of Miss Saigon. They are (from left to right): Lopez (Swing), Kristine Diaz (Ensemble), Christian Rey Marbella (Ensemble/Alternate Engineer), Joreen Bautista (Alternate Kim), Aynrand Ferrer (Ensemble), Red Concepcion (The Engineer), Gerald Santos (Thuy), Katherine Picar (Ensemble), Gerald Zarcilla (Ensemble), and Ela Lisondra (Ensemble).


"Minsan nagse-share kami ng ulam," quips Lopez in a short chat. Except for Picar and Zarcilla who grew up in the U.K., the Filipino cast members all honed their skills in the Philippines.

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Red Concepcion (The Engineer) and Joreen Bautista (Alternate Kim)


Concepcion was awarded Best Actor at the 27th Aliw Awards in 2014 for his performance in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. Bautista enrolled in the Trumpets Playshop and various theater workshops in Pampanga while growing up. Marbella, who hails from Cebu City, has performed in five different productions of Miss Saigon, which started in Manila. Santos rose to fame after winning the singing reality show Pinoy Pop Superstar in 2006 and was dubbed as "The Prince of Ballad."



Aynrand Ferrer and Ela Lisondra (Ensemble)


La Union-born Lopez graduated from the Philippine High School for the Arts and joined the UP Filipiniana Dance Group and Douglas Nierras' Powerdance. Diaz sang in a group called De La Salle Innersoul while studying in Manila. Ferrer graduated in musical theater from the University of Santo Tomas. Lisondra was a dance major at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.




The U.K. run premiered on July 1 at Curve Theater in Leicester, England. It is scheduled to make pit stops in Birmingham, Dublin, Cardiff, Southhampton, Manchester, Bristol, Plymouth, and Norwich in a tour that will last until September 2018.


For more information, visit Miss Saigon's website.


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