The Broadway musicals in New York
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK – What our national music icon and jewel Lea Salonga started in New York (and later in London) has elevated the stature of Filipino singers, dancers, and musicians to a much higher level now. Pinoys are much respected today compared to the years before Lea did exceedingly well in “Miss Saigon” and “Les Miserables.” Nowadays, foreigners look at Filipino artists with respect and even envy. Whenever I am in the gallery viewing Broadway musicals, and there are Filipinos in the cast I feel proud when foreign viewers stand up in ovation to Pinoy entertainers.
The Philippines is now being looked up to by the entertainment world as the music capital of Asia. Our country is the number one supplier of musicians and entertainers in America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Aboard luxury cruise liners in the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Pinoy singers and band members inspire tourists with their songs, dances and spontaneous and unrehearsed performances. They tell stories of victories after struggles, of triumphs after defeats, and hopes amidst a world of gloom and doom. In Broadway, you will see Asian-looking cast members and musicians. No, they aren't Chinese or Koreans; they are Pinoys from Cebu, Bicol, or Metro Manila.
We just saw “Hamilton,” an epic bio of one of the greatest men in American history, Alexander Hamilton, chosen by President George Washington as his Treasury Secretary, equal to the Cabinet member handling Finance. Hamilton was a very astute and gifted technocrat and political animal. He could have been president if he wanted. Hamilton was definitely better than John Adams and maybe as great as Thomas Jefferson. This musical gives us insights on politics, governance, economics, and the entire spectrum of governing a nation. I recommend that President Duterte and his Cabinet, especially his economic team, see it. To me, Hamilton was the greatest US president the Americans failed to have.
My family and I have seen a lot of Broadway musicals since the ‘70s. I have seen Miss Saigon twice, just to listen to Lea or any other Filipina pinch-hitting for her. I have seen “Les Miserables” too many times and also “Cats,” “West Side Story,” and “Mama Mia,” even the famed “Evita,” where I was so much touched by the singing of “Don't Cry for Me, Argentina.” But “Hamilton” is much superior to them. I learned much more politics and governance and much more insights on human behavior.
Just as I recommend to all Filipinos to save enough to travel even once to Israel, Rome, London, Paris, and Geneva, I strongly suggest each one should lay aside money to go to New York. Going there is not just seeing the Statue of Liberty or the UN headquarters, it is, above all, Broadway. And to witness how Filipino artists win the world with their music and artistry.