ABS-CBNnews.com | 11/12/2012 7:27 PM
MANILA, Philippines – It’s hard to separate the words “Filipino” and “Miss Saigon” especially after the hit musical launched the international careers of some of the country’s singers.
|Lea Salonga as Kim in "Miss Saigon."|
Among them is Tony Award winner Lea Salonga, who first played the lead role of Kim, a 17-year-old Vietnamese bar girl, in “Miss Saigon” in 1989. Joanna Ampil, Ima Castro, Jamie Rivera and Monique Wilson, who have also experienced successes in their respective careers, took on the role of Kim after Salonga.
Other Filipinos who became part of the “Miss Saigon” cast include Isay Alvarez, Robert Seña, Pinky Amador, Michael Williams and Junix Inocian.
With auditions scheduled in Manila this month, Filipinos are abuzz as to who among the country’s top singers will be trying to snag a role in the revival of “Miss Saigon.”
ABS-CBNnews.com has compiled the list of local stars that have been linked – in one way or another – to the the upcoming musical.
|Karylle. File photo|
Who she is: Known to many as the daughter of singer Zsa Zsa Padilla, Karylle has been part of several films such as “Mano Po” and “Mulawin,” and theater productions such as “Little Mermaid” and “West Side Story.” Her latest project is the pan-Asian series “The Kitchen Musical,” where she plays the lead role. She is also preparing for the upcoming revival of “Rama Hari” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Status: Confirmed. In an interview  with ABS-CBNnews.com last month, Karylle said: “Ako, I’ll audition for everything. That’s how I got ‘The Kitchen Musical.’”
|K-La Rivera. File photo|
Who she is: K-La Rivera started out as a contestant in the defunct ABS-CBN singing competition “Star Power,” where she placed as runner-up. She then became a VJ of the cable music channel MYX for a time and stared in Atlantis’ Productions “In the Heights” last year. She eventually got the role of Jasmine in the Asian premiere of the new musical “Aladdin.”
Status: Confirmed. In an interview  with ABS-CBNnews.com early this month, Rivera said her audition is set on November 22. “Opo, I will audition. I will try for Kim pero whatever, we will just see what will happen. Who knows,” she said.
|Angeline Quinto. File photo|
Who she is: Like Rivera, Angeline Quinto was a contestant in “Star Power.” She rose to fame after winning the contest, having launched an album and several tours, as well as starring in her very own movie. She has also been tapped to sing the theme songs of several ABS-CBN shows. Currently, Quinto is a mainstay in the top-rating Sunday variety show “ASAP.”
Status: Not confirmed. “Miss Saigon” Philippine representative Dong Alegre has included Quinto in his wish list of Filipino female singers that he wants to see audition for the role of Kim in the upcoming revival of the international hit musical. Quinto’s camp, however, has yet to make a statement about the matter.
|Denise Laurel. File photo|
Who she is: The granddaughter of the late Philippine vice president Salvador Laurel, Denise Laurel grew up performing in a number of musicals. She became part of MTV Asia’s “Rouge,” where she played the role of a vocalist, before returning to the Philippines for a career in acting. Some of her memorable roles include Emerald in “Precious Hearts Romances: Kristine” and Wendy in “Dahil Sa Pag-Ibig.”
Status: Like Quinto, Laurel is part of Alegre’s “Miss Saigon” wish list. She has yet to confirm if she has plans of auditioning for the musical.
|Rachelle Ann Go. File photo|
Who she is: Rachelle Ann Go rose to fame after winning in several singing contests. A former Kapamilya talent, Go is currently part of a musical variety show on another network.
Status: Like Quinto and Laurel, Go was part of Alegre’s “Miss Saigon” wish list. She has yet to confirm if she is eyeing a role in the hit musical.
|Jessica Sanchez. File photo|
Who she is: Of Filipino, American and Mexican descent, Jessica Sanchez finished first runner-up in the eleventh season of “American Idol.” She is currently taking acting lessons in preparation for her role in the hit American TV show “Glee.”
Status: Not confirmed. In an interview  with ABS-CBN’s North America News Bureau last July, Sanchez said possibilities are being discussed. “There are definitely things happening on the side for me. But I can’t confirm anything at all,” she said.
|Anna Maria Perez de Tagle. File photo|
Claim to fame: A Filipino-American actress, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle is known for her role in the defunct Disney series “Hannah Montana” as well as for headlining the “Camp Rock” films alongside American pop trio Jonas Brothers. She was one of the cast members of the 2011 revival of the Broadway musical “Godspell.”
Status: Possible, but nothing’s official. In an interview  during her visit to Manila last month, de Tagle said: “A lot of people know that Kim in ‘Miss Saigon’ is my dream role, so I’m hoping.”
|Christian Bautista. File photo|
Who he is: Christian Bautista rose to fame after his runner-up finish in the defunct ABS-CBN singing competition “Star In A Million,” with hit albums and tours in the Philippines and different parts of Southeast Asia. He recently marked his tenth year in the local entertainment industry by holding a concert billed as “X-Class.” Like Karylle, Bautista has also starred in “West Side Story” and “The Kitchen Musical.” He will also perform alongside Karylle in “Rama Hari.”
Status: No plan to audition. In an interview  with ABS-CBNnews.com last month, Bautista said he is not yet ready to be part of “Miss Saigon” as it entails leaving the country for a long time. “Of course it’s a once-in-a-lifetime worldwide event na makasama ka sa ‘Miss Saigon,’ but I feel like I’m not ready yet.” ()
|Jett Pangan. File photo|
Who he is: A veteran rock singer, Jett Pangan has scored lead roles in several musicals, the latest being “Jekyll and Hyde” and “Nine.” He was also given a featured role in “Rock of Ages” and a cameo on “Forbidden Broadway.” He recently took a break from theater to focus on his band, The Dawn, which is now under new management.
Status: Not sure yet. In an interview  with ABS-CBNnews.com early this month, Pangan said many of his friends are encouraging him to audition for the role of the Engineer in “Miss Saigon.” But he maintained: “It’s still 50-50.”
Theater actress Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, who played Ellen in the Manila staging of "Miss Saigon," told ABS-CBNnews.com that many in the theater community are going to audition for the musical's revival, which will be held next week.
Among those mentioned by Lauchengco-Yulo are: Cara Barredo, who currently plays Dorothy in Rep Children's Theater's "The Wizard of Oz;" Morissette Amon, who plays the female lead in Rep's upcoming musical, "Camp Rock"; and Rep regular Topper Fabregas, who is eyeing the role of Thuy.
Ima Castro, another "Miss Saigon" alumnus, also said she is helping actor-singer Jimmy Marquez, who was last seen in Atlantis Productions' "In the Heights," for the upcoming auditions.
One theater actor who is no longer interested in trying out for the musical is JM Rodriguez. He told ABS-CBNnews.com that he had auditioned four times already for the musical.
"I also have businesses now that I have to attend to," he explained.