In the field of musical theatre, Lea Salonga has been honored with the Olivier, Tony®, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Theatre World awards. In addition, she holds the distinction of having performed the vocal roles of two Disney leading ladies—the spectacular singing voices of Princess Jasmine and Mulan.
Lea’s breakthrough came on the West End stage in London, England, when she was selected to play Kim in the musical Miss Saigon in 1989. For her performance, she won the Olivier Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical.
She was invited to the Disney Studios to sing Princess Jasmine’s soaring love song for the 1992 animated feature Aladdin. “‘A Whole New World’ is a great song,” Lea once said, “and it’s a dream come true to be a part of a Disney animated film.” She reprised the song, along with the singing voice of Aladdin, Brad Kane, on that year’s Academy Awards broadcast. The song went on to win both the Golden Globe® and the Oscar® for Best Song.
Lea returned to Disney just a few years later, this time to sing the bittersweet “Reflection” for the character of Fa Mulan for another Disney animated feature, Mulan (1998). The song received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song. Lea sang again as Mulan in the 2005 direct-to-video sequel Mulan II.
“I’ve been listening to Disney music my whole life,” Lea once said. “The challenge in doing these songs is to capture all of their feelings and emotions in just a few minutes. You’ve got to remember that moment will last forever and ever on film, and you have to really do your best in that one shot. The whole Disney experience has been great fun.”