Lea Salonga

Live, Vol. 2

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A continuation of Vol. 1 from her Philippine show in 2000, Live, Vol. 2 features a heartier array of compositions, even though there are only nine in total. Lea Salonga can still belt out "On My Own," a track she had performed as Eponine in Les Miserables, and here reveals the epitome of Eponine, or at least the reason for her successful performance. Salonga takes charge when there is a meaningful script in front of her. Like a magician, she casts spells with her talented and perfectly tuned voice. Though she sounds assured on every musical track here, it is somewhat unnerving to hear her dialogue to the audience between them. The best female entertainers (Bette Midler, in her heyday, comes to mind) demonstrate comedic timing, tell stories, and (in the very least) make the audience feel relaxed. Lea Salonga may have a lot of gifts, but these are not among them. Before revealing a fine version of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "You Must Love Me," she rants endlessly on her love for Madonna. Before taking on the "Streisand Medley," she rambles nonstop on her love for Barbra. Even huge fans of Salonga probably do not get as excited about her as she gets about her idols. There is an unexpected frailty in her dialogue -- on record she sounds nervous and either poorly improvised or poorly written. Luckily, there is a good musical offering to compensate for the conversation she makes. Also featured are John Lennon's "Imagine," Cyndi Lauper's hit "True Colors," and "Tomorrow," the theme song to Annie, a role which Salonga appeared in as a child.

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