Salonga Talks About Disney Roles, Fulfills a Fan's Dream - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Salonga Talks About Disney Roles, Fulfills a Fan's Dream

Lea Salonga Lea Salonga
Kris De La Cruz Kris De La Cruz
Kris De La Cruz singing with his all-time idol Lea Salonga. Kris De La Cruz singing with his all-time idol Lea Salonga.
Lea Salonga recording "A Whole New World" for Disney. Lea Salonga recording "A Whole New World" for Disney.
Lea Salonga, husband Robert Chien, and baby Nicole. Lea Salonga, husband Robert Chien, and baby Nicole.

By Leland Kim

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- She is a superstar on stage and in the movies. Lea Salonga just finished a week-long concert tour throughout Hawaii at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall.  She talks about her thoughts on being a Disney princess, motherhood, and future plans.

Millions of little girls grew up wishing they could be Lea Salonga.

"I think it's definitely a dream of lot of actresses to get to be a Disney princess once in their lives and I got lucky because I get to sing," said the 37-year-old Tony Award-winning singer and actress.

Salonga made her Disney debut in 1992's Aladdin as the singing voice of Princess Jasmine.  Then back again six years later in the movie Mulan.

"I guess there's just something about the Disney movies, everyone from many generations can just latch onto," said Salonga.  "There's something about the films that entertain."

TV, the big screen, and the stage;  Salonga's done it all, and paved the way for up and coming Asian American performers.    

"I try not to put too much pressure on myself in terms of being a trail blazer or a role model," she said.  "I just do what I do. I do what I enjoy."

Something she also enjoys: her four-year marriage to husband Robert Chien.

"And he's a wonderful, wonderful man," she said. "And then here comes the baby, and that really changes everything because this is a person created by God through you, and now you've been entrusted with this person to take care of, teach and learn."

Baby Nicole is the joy in her life.

"And she's just funny," said Salonga. "She's like, ‘Mommy? Mommy?' and she'll tell me what she's eating. She's like, 'Hot dog, dog.'"

Although she still enjoys performing, Salonga says she eventually wants to change directions.

"The university that I was attending before I went to Miss Saigon now has a theater arts program, and I think it's relatively new," she said.  "So I want to see if they would not mind having me as a teacher or as a coach."

A lesson in humility and grace from an unforgettable artist.

And it's KHNL Idol! Salonga gave our graphics guy, KHNL staffer Kris De La Cruz, a thrill of a lifetime when she picked him to sing with her onstage.

The song was "A Whole New World" from Aladdin and he wowed a sold out crowd at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.

De La Cruz said Salonga has been his biggest musical inspiration ever since he was in third grade.  He even brought a homemade sign dedicated to her.

"This is Lea Salonga and I'm on stage and I look out in the audience and I see all these people just looking at me and it is overwhelming," he said. "But the feeling is ... it's a high that can never be matched."

De La Cruz received a thunderous applause from the audience. It was the first time he and Salonga sang together.  And after the show, people came to tell him how much they enjoyed his performance. De La Cruz also got to go backstage to meet his idol.

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