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Lea Salonga upset over reports of she ‘backed out” of SEA Games 2019 opening 

“Many folks assumed I would be part of it, never mind that I never put anything out.”

International artist Lea Salonga expressed dismay on reports that she backed out from performing at the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games opening ceremony to be held at the Philippine Arena on November 30.

Lea, who is the voice behind the official theme song of the 2019 SEA Games “We Win As One,” took to social media to air her sentiments on the issue.


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“Wow. I turn my phone off for a few hours, ang dami nang nangyayari. Truth of the matter is this: I was asked to participate in the SEA Games opening ceremonies since I was already recording the theme song and filming its music video,” she tweeted on Tuesday.

“However, I had to respectfully decline as I already had Sweeney Todd on my calendar. It was on my schedule for many months, if not a year,” she added.

The Tony awardee was referring to the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, where she will play Mrs. Lovett opposite Jett Pangan as the titular character.

The musical thriller will run from November 28 to December 8.

Lea and Jett previously took on the roles in Atlantis Theatrical’s production at The Theater in Solaire, Parañaque City last month.

According to Lea, “it was not ever announced” that she would be participating in the opening ceremony of the 2019 SEA Games.

“But many folks ASSUMED I would be part of it, never mind that I never put anything out,” she said.

“So much for real journalism,” she also commented in one of her Facebook post.

The Broadway star had already announced on Monday that she will not be performing at the SEA Games opening ceremony since she had Sweeney Todd.

She tweeted: “Leaving on a jet plane for Singapore tomorrow and will begin our 14-show Sweeney run on Thursday night.”

“This means I will not be performing at the SEA Games opening ceremonies on Saturday. I won’t be back home ’til after Sweeney is done,” she added.

The announcement got several people, including some media outfits, making a fuss about it.

This prompted SEA Games Opening Ceremonies creative director Floy Quintos to also make a “point of clarification” about it on Facebook.

Floy said the multi-talented artist did not “back out” as, to begin with, she “did not commit to performing in the Opening Ceremonies of the SEA Games.”

“She (Lea), and all of the SEA Games Opening Ceremonies production team, knew that she would be doing Sweeney Todd in Singapore in November. This was communicated early on this year, even before she recorded the song,” the Palanca award-winning writer and director said.

“Stars of her magnitude have their schedules planned out years in advance so she could not have possibly backed out, as some surmise. The theme song will be performed by 11 equally talented Filipino stars representing the 11 SEA nations,” he added.

Floy penned the song “We Win As One,” while National Artist Ryan Cayabyab composed the music.

“Besides, it isn’t like Lea at all to back out of a commitment. Last time she did, it was because she had broken a leg, giving a whole new meaning to the theatrical adage,” Floy further explained.

“With that, Break a Leg, Team Opening Ceremonies! And break a leg in Singapore, Lea! Wherever we are placed, whatever we are tasked to do, let’s try to be the best Filipinos we can be,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lea wished all the artists participating in the opening ceremony of the 2019 SEA Games to “have the best time.”

“To the athletes, may the odds be ever in your favor. You have already done your countries proud,” she added.

Written by Angelle De Leon

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