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Entries in Adelaide Art Orchestra (3)


The Perfect Pop Princess

Actress and singer Lea Salonga originated the role Kim in the musical Miss Saigon, winning Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World awards. She also played the roles of Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables on Broadway and provided the singing voices of Disney princesses Jasmine and Mulan.

Lea headlines the 2012 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, performing this weekend with Vanessa Scammell conducting the Adelaide Art Orchestra.

Richard Jay-Alexander was Executive Producer of Miss Saigon on Broadway and subsequently directed Salonga’s Carnegie Hall debut in November 2005. In this excerpt from an extensive forthcoming interview, Richard remembers working with Lea as they prepared specialty material for her concert.





Richard Jay-Alexander:

Lea Salonga is so unique and so gifted. 

I worked with her on Miss Saigon and I worked with her on Les Mis. I asked her to come and play Eponine for us, back in the day and I also did her Carnegie Hall debut.

That was a fantastic show because when she called me from the Phillipines she told me she was pregnant. She was very nervous about it but I asked of she’d be willing to announce her pregnancy (during the show).

In the Richard Jay world, if you’re going to play Carnegie Hall, it’s gotta matter. It’s not like the old days where Harry Belafonte would play there once a year or whenever he had a new album. You may never be there again, so you need specialty material!

Lea played the original Annie in the Phillipines and used to listen to Andrea McArdle so I had Andrea as a guest and they sang Tomorrow together.

Lea did Miss Saigon with Liz Callaway, who was the original Lizzie. We told the story about how Liz was pregnant while we rehearsing Miss Saigon, but had her baby and made it back for the first preview. Lea loved the idea, we had Liz’s son stand up in the audience and it brought the house down.”

So I started with Married, a song she did not know from Cabaret. 

Oh the world can change, it can change like that, due to one little word - married.

Lea says “I love embarrassing my husband” and we did a bit of dialogue along the lines of “ever since we got married, everybody’s like, when are you going to have a baby, Lea? Not now, no rush. That used to be my stock line. Ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at a very happy pregnant girl at the end of her first trimester.”

We did The Story Goes On (from Baby) and Lea was joined on stage by Liz Callaway singing and all these things I feel and more…your child is next. I had permission from (Baby’s writers) Maltby and Shire. They came to rehearsal and it was very, very thrilling.

We ended Act 1 with I’d Give My Life For You. It’s fantastic when you have a career like Lea’s. I’ve done Carnegie Hall a lot, but this was a historic night.

Lea has one of those voices - it’s the perfect pop voice, like Karen Carpenter in that it’s seamless and has no break. We sang a lot of great stuff and she can be very funny.

I remember one song she was ‘mixing’ and I said “oh no, no, no, no, no. Stop! You’re not mixing anything. This is balls to the wall, I don’t care if your vocal cords are bloody.” She looked alarmed and I said “I’m kidding. Sort of.”

But the point is you’ve gotta give it up. It’s Carnegie Hall, not science. She did, and she got eleven standing ovations. It was a big triumph.


L-R: Richard Jay-Alexander, Lea Salonga & Richard Maltby (lyricist Miss Saigon & Baby)


Lea Salonga

with Vanessa Scammell conducting the Adelaide Art Orchestra

June 9 & 10, 2012 @ 8pm

Adelaide Festival Theatre

See booking link below for ticket prices

Book at BASS 


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2011 Adelaide Cabaret Festival Review: Michael Feinstein Sings Sinatra



Michael Feinstein Sings Sinatra          

The Festival Theatre

June 26, 2011


In his return to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, the multi-talented cabaret star Michael Feinstein was in splendid form. 

The stage of the Festival Theatre was adorned with teal drapes, emulating the ambience of his own cabaret venue Feinstein’s at Loews Regency in New York. Feinstein owned the stage from start to finish, singing Sinatra with elegance and style. Despite performing in a theatre with almost 2000 people, he pulled off a stunning cabaret show. Gracious and personable with a sense of humour, he interacted with the audience as if the theatre was the size of a living room. Taking song requests from the crowd, and bantering with a front-row audience member who was caught leaving the venue and returning, he created an intimate show.

Supported by the stellar 17-piece Adelaide Art Orchestra, Feinstein exuded charisma whether he was standing atop a Steinway, sitting at it and playing it or standing in front of it, never losing the connection with the full-house audience. The anecdotes featured entertainment luminaries like Liza Minnelli, Ira Gershwin and Sinatra himself. The wide range of repertoire during his generous set of nearly two hours included “Once in My Life”, “Sway”, “Fly Me to the Moon”, “Maybe This Time”, a Gershwin medley and the almost obligatory “New York, New York”.

This was a fitting grand finale to cabaret-filled three weeks at the Festival Centre and a perfect send-off to the artistic director David Campbell as he bid farewell to the Festival.


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2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival: Natalie Cole - 12 & 13th June




An unforgettable night of heart and soul.

“It’s time to move over and let Natalie show how it’s done.” BBC

With a stellar career spanning 35 years and counting, nine-time-Grammy-award-winner, Natalie Cole has earned her place in the rollcall of music legends.  Born into show-business royalty as the daughter of the immortal Nat King Cole, she released her first album in 1975 and had her first number-one hit the same year.

After a moving duet with her late father on the title track of her 1991 album, Unforgettable…With Love, Natalie proved there was no genre she couldn’t master with her extraordinary voice. As a renowned live performer, Natalie continues to astonish with her vocal dexterity and intimate, knowing way with a lyric and melody.

Performing with the sumptuous Adelaide Art Orchestra, Natalie Cole will reach deep into the treasure chest of great American songwriting, with lyrics and melodies that promise to touch your soul.

Experience true musical genius.


Natalie Cole 

Dates: 12 & 13 June

Times: 8.00pm

Venue: Festival Theatre

Tickets: Diamond: $179.95

Ruby: $149.95, Conc/Group/Season Pass: $139.95*

Gold: $139.95, Conc/Group/Season Pass: $129.95*

Silver: $99.95, Conc/Group/Season Pass: $89.95*

Bronze: $79.95, Conc/ Group/Season Pass: $69.95*

Booking: call 131-246 or click here.

*For Season Pass bookings (book 4 or more tickets in one transaction for great savings), click here.


Other shows featured in 2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival:

Mitchell Butel - Killing Time

Shoshana Bean: Late Night in the Banquet Room

Pasek and Paul - Along the Way

Robyn Archer - Berlin Between the Wars

Redhead - Marika Aubrey

An Evening with Liz Callaway

John Waters - Brel

Frisky and Mannish School of Pop

Trevor Ashley is Liza (on an E)

Smoke & Mirrors 

Donna McKechnie - My Musical Comedy Life

Morphium - A Kabarett by Kim Smith

An Evening with Stephen Schwartz and Friends

Ennio Marchetto

Hugh Sheridan - Newly Discovered


If you enjoyed this post, you might also like these entries:

2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival Top 10 picks

2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival: Bring a Friend Free offer extended

Report: 10th Adelaide Cabaret Festival Launch @ Adelaide Festival Centre

Cab Fest Pre Launch Info


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