The Tony Award winning musical MISS SAIGON opens at The Academy of Music in Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 19th, and runs through Sunday, March 30th. Ahead of its engagement in Philadelphia, RyeTheNewsGuy.com chatted with the star of the show Emily Bautista about taking on the role of Kim on tour, advice she was given from Lea Salonga (the original Kim on Broadway), and what advice she has for Asian American performers. To purchase tickets to MISS SAIGON at The Academy of Music visit www.Kimmelcenter.com/broadway
What has the experience been like to go from understudying the role of Kim on Broadway to taking it on this new National Tour?
I think the biggest change of going from understudying to playing the role of Kim is the amount of time I get to play and discover more about her. When I was working in New York it could be months between playing Kim. I always learned so much but because I was so focused on the technicality of the role and other challenges an understudy faces, I was not able to let myself discover or play around as much as I would have liked! Playing the role consistently now gives me more opportunity to focus on the acting. It also challenges me to keep it fresh and make new discoveries which is one of my favorite parts of acting!
How do you make the character your own since you have to perform the role six times a week?
I always strive to give everything I have that day to the show, this way I am able to keep things fresh and alive. Some days I'm a bit more sad than others and some days a bit more happy. I try to use what I have and bring it to the stage that, looking at the show with new eyes every night.
Did Lea Salonga give you any advice?
Yes! It was so amazing to meet Lea. She really taught me how to take care of myself and how to be able to do this show 6 times a week!
How do you stay prepared for such a heavy show in different climates and areas while touring?
Mental and physical health!!! Traveling is tough. It adds a whole other level to performing. I try to take really good care of my mental and physical being and try to listen to my body as much as I can! The show is very demanding but the travel is as well!
Any advice for young Asian American performers?
Follow your passion and go for everything. Keep working on your craft and open yourself up to all sorts of possibilities! Don't let the way you look dictate what roles you can play. Challenge others to see you in new lights. It's truly the same thing I would tell any young actor. See yourself as your talent and work ethic rather than your race.
Emily Bautista and Anthony Festa in the North American Tour of MISS SAIGON (Matthew Murphy)