A North Carolina teenager has been cast as theatre impresario Cameron Mackintosh's latest leading lady on the West End stage. Eva Noblezada, 17, will portray Kim in the upcoming London stage revival of Miss Saigon after she was discovered by a casting director in New York City.
Mackintosh tells Britain's Daily Mail, "She's performed in shows at her school, but she has never done a big professional musical before... Eva's going to be our new Lea."
The theatre boss gave Lea Salonga her big break 25 years ago when he cast her in the original production of Miss Saigon.
Noblezada isn't the first person in her family to play Kim onstage - her aunt, Annette Calud, appeared in the Broadway production.
The Miss Saigon revival begins in May (14) and will also feature Jon Briones, Alistair Brammer and Tamsin Carroll.
Filipino singer/actress Charice Pempengco has 'come out' as gay. The star, who shot to international fame with appearances on Glee and Oprah Winfrey's talk show, confirmed she is a lesbian in a TV interview with The Buzz, which aired in her native Philippines over the weekend (02Jun13).
Rumours about her sexual orientation have been swirling ever since the 21 year old debuted an edgier look and was photographed holding hands with another woman.
After her big reveal, Pempengco said, "Now I feel free. I can go out of the house without fear and certain that I'm not stepping on anybody's toes."
Pempengco also apologised to fans upset by the news and held back tears as she added, "To those who can accept me, thank you very much. We are all equal, whether you are gay or straight... I am proud of who I am. I love myself, that is why I am doing this. To my fans who I know are disappointed - I know some of you will turn your back on me too - sorry. You know I am sincere. From the bottom of my heart, sorry."
Filipino star Lea Salonga took to her Twitter.com page to praise Pempengco for going public with her sexuality, writing, "Dear Charice have you any idea how many young people you inspired today? More power, blessings and love to you!"
"Thank you, Anne Hathaway, for mentioning my name in Vogue in the same breath as Patti Lupone. Here's hoping our paths cross someday." Broadway icon Lea Salonga was thrilled when the Hollywood actress gave her a special nod in the magazine's December 2012 issue.
The Star Trek veteran was just five years old when he and his Japanese relatives were forced out of their Los Angeles residence during World War II in 1942 and ordered to set up home in a series of different relocation camps.
He tells the Associated Press, "My mother remembers it as the most degrading experience that she had in her life up to that point. There were more to follow but she says that was a really terrible feeling."
Takei's composer pal Jay Kuo was so moved by the 75 year old's experiences, he has now penned Allegiance - A New American Musical, which revolves around the actor's family history in the centres.
He adds, "I wanted to turn my childhood experience in the internment camps that we were in into a script. Jay said a musical is much more moving and you'll reach many more people with a musical."
Tony Award winner Lea Salonga will also star in the production, which will debut at The Old Globe in San Diego on 19 September (12).
Allegiance will open the Old Globe's 2012-13 Winter Season in San Diego.
Jay Kuo created the production after meeting Takei and learning about his experiences in an American internment camp for Japanese citizens during World War II.
Tony Award-winning actress Lea Salonga will lead the cast with Takei and Telly Leung.