Lea Salonga gives her advice to the Filipino newbies of ‘Miss Saigon’ Eva, Julia, Tanya and Rachelle Ann Go.
Salonga said that the announcements made many eyes shed copious tears and many hearts beat with pride.
Around 25 years ago, they were their counterparts who were cast in the original company.
Some of them, though well-traveled, had never lived abroad for any extended period of time.
As someone who’s seen what you are about to see, indulge her for a moment as she gives some advice.
Be professional: None of you is a neophyte. Be on time. Know your stuff. Without being a doormat, don’t be difficult to work with. Bring your sense of humor (you’re going to need it). Without kissing anyone’s butt, be the kind of person that any producer, director, janitor, etc. would want to work with again.
Keep learning more about the craft: You are in London, one of the centers of theater in the world! Get recommendations for voice teachers, dance classes, acting coaches. If you are the type who enjoys quiet afternoons, read. If you are keeping up with school back home, make sure you carve out time for it.
Take care of yourself: A long run of any West End or Broadway show is a marathon, not a sprint. Get quality sleep. Find a good, inexpensive massage place. Get the names of doctors and acupuncturists. Eat healthy! Always carry an umbrella.
Please, don’t be a nightmare: This is her firmest piece of advice. She has heard of drama school kids behaving like entitled twits. One girl was in her third performance of ‘Hairspray”’ when, in the presence of a principal actor, she rolled her eyes and sighed. The actor gave her The Stare of Absolute Death and said, ‘Don’t you ever f…… do that again, not in my show!’ She behaved far better after that.
You will have allowable sick days, to use when you are actually sick. They are not party days, or tired days, or freebie vacation days. Show love and respect by showing up and doing the best you can.
Have a bloody fabulous time: London is such a beautiful city. Museums, plays and musicals, shopping, restaurants, the London Eye. Take plenty of pictures—stuff to talk about 25 years from now!
Take care of each other: Support each other in rehearsal, and be one another’s cheerleaders. You are all extremely talented, but it’s far more important to be referred to as ‘good people.’
The good news of your casting has brought a ray of light. Amid-st the deepest of our nation’s sorrows, we found something to be happy.