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Lea Salonga to star in Fun Home in the Philippines

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Joan Marcus; Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

The 2015 Tony Award winner for Best Musical is already on the move, as the new musical Fun Home will enjoy its first licensed international production in Manila in 2016 starring stage veteran Lea Salonga.

Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, the musical follows the coming-of-age — and coming-of-sexuality — of lesbian cartoonist Bechdel, whose story runs counterpoint to flashbacks of life in her family’s funeral home and her rocky relationship with her closeted gay father.

Tony winner Salonga, who recently returned to Broadway after a decade in this season’s Allegiance, revealed that she’ll play the role of the Bechdel family matriarch, Helen, originated on Broadway by Tony nominee Judy Kuhn, in an op-ed for the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

“…allow me to be one of the first to announce that Fun Home will be coming to Manila in late 2016, thanks to Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group… Allow me to also announce that I will be playing Helen Bechdel. And that Fun Home’s creators, Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, will be coming to Manila as well!”

In the Inquirer, Salonga also described her experience as a theatergoer during a recent visit to the show on Broadway: “Everyone in the theater was in tears at the curtain call (yours truly included), and rewarded the cast with a standing ovation. I don’t recall a musical having that kind of effect. No big dance numbers, no large cast. Just a story about a family and its unique brand of dysfunction so specific, we all could find something to relate to.”

“We’re thrilled to have the first international production of Fun Home confirmed for the Philippines, and how exciting to have Lea Salonga, one of Broadway’s most beloved stars, leading the company,” gushed the producers of Fun Home in a statement.

Salonga’s recognizable credits include her career-making Tony win for Miss Saigon, her returns to Broadway in Les Miserables and Allegiance, and her voiceover work as the singing voices of Mulan and Jasmine in the Disney oeuvre. Stranger yet? Kuhn, whose role Salonga wil play, was the voice of Pocahontas.

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