Original Princess Jasmine Lea Salonga, in Singapore for new show, says she's yet to watch new Aladdin movie

PHOTO: Singapore Repertory Theatre

You would think that Disney Legend Lea Salonga would have watched the live-action adaptation of Aladdin released last month.

After all, she sang her way into the hearts of millions as the singing voice of Disney Princesses Jasmine and Mulan.

But as she revealed at a media briefing earlier today (June 17), she hasn't had time.

Lea was in town to announce Singapore Repertory Theatre's (SRT) upcoming musical Sweeney Todd, where she will be playing Mrs Lovett - the accomplice to the titular character's murderous schemes.

"I have not yet seen it. Life got too busy. It'll probably end up coming out on home video first before I end up seeing it," she admitted to AsiaOne with a chuckle.

She added: "I'm sure I'm going to love it. I have a lot of friends that saw it and said they loved it.

Lea Salonga and Gaurav Kripalani (Artistic Director of SRT). PHOTO: Singapore Repertory Theatre

"I think they enjoyed it because they weren't trying to compare the 1992 version to 2019's. And you can't; they're two completely different monsters".

And if you've heard the new original song for Princess Jasmine, Speechless, and felt like it was a song that could have easily been written for Lea, then it might be music to your ears to know that she intends to perform it eventually.

"I would like to add that to my repertoire. I think I have Benj Pasek's (one-half of the Oscar-winning songwriting and composing duo who wrote Speechless) blessing with that.

"It's something that I'm eyeing because I heard the song and immediately got up all in my feelings. And Naomi Scott (the actress who plays Princess Jasmine) is such a beautiful interpreter.

Naomi Scott, as Princess Jasmine, performing Speechless in Aladdin. PHOTO: YouTube screengrab

"I like to definitely add that (to my repertoire). I don't know when it's going to happen but there are many concerts coming so it'll happen at some point," she explained.

And it might come earlier than expected because she also revealed that her recently cancelled concerts (including those in Singapore) have been rescheduled for March 2020.

BROKEN LEG WAS A BLESSING IN DISGUISE

Earlier this year, Lea announced the cancellation of her music tour due to a broken tibia.

When asked about her injury, she described it as a "blessing in disguise".

She said: "Not everyone will see it that way. Recovery can be boring but I think my mind and my body just absolutely needed to stop.

"It gave me time to heal and to just stop and appreciate my work and my friends.

"And just to spend time with my family, to be home when my daughter comes home from school. And just to be present in life and not get so crazed about performing and concerts and the stress of having to travel."

But a broken leg won't be stopping the Tony Award-winning singer and actress from returning to her old stomping grounds as part of the cast of Sweeney Todd.

SWEENEY TODD IN SINGAPORE

The critically-acclaimed Broadway musical will premiere later this year on Nov 28 and tells a tragic and thrilling tale of revenge, lust and unrequited love.

This will be the very first time it's being staged in Singapore - a fact which Lea was rather astonished by.

She exclaimed incredulously: "It's never been done?"

"It kind of boggles my mind because I would have thought that audiences here would have gotten it immediately.

"Sondheim is very urbane and I like to think that Singapore audiences are hip to his kind of word play and rhyming and just the fun that your brain will have listening to all of it," she replied in response to a query on why it took so long for the musical to be performed here.

PHOTO: Singapore Repertory Theatre

In another first, Lea will be taking on a more villainous character compared to the usual "sympathetic" and "heroic" roles that she is commonly known for.

Her notable roles on Broadway include Kim from Miss Saigon, as well as Eponine and Fantine from Les Miserables - all of whom share the tragic trait of being victims of their circumstances.

Lea said: "I normally tend to play the more sympathetic, heroic, unrequited-love love interest. I get to be the good person in shows.

"So it's not often that I get to play someone that can be a little difficult to like, but we'll see how it's directed."

Sweeney Todd will run from Thursday (Nov 28) to Sunday (Dec 8) at the Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands. Prices range from $55 to $145 and to find out more details or purchase your tickets, please head here.

bryanlim@asiaone.com

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