by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News
NEW YORK CITY — Behind every Broadway lead star is an understudy, or alternate, who is always ready to take on the role — even with short notice.
Meet Miss Saigon’s alternate Kim, Filipina-American Lianah Sta Ana.
Just like the character Kim, Lianah is 17 years old.
She debuted on Broadway as one of Miss Saigon’s ensemble, and on March 4, she had the chance to play the role of Kim for the very first time.
“I found out the night before. I did a run the previous couple of days, so I felt ready,” said Lianah. “I knew I was ready. Obviously you’re gonna have nerves. I was a bit nervous, but they’re good nerves.”
“It was incredible. I’m just very overwhelmed.”
Lianah is quite known in the East Coast’s Filipino community as an award-winning singer.
At the age of 10, she became the grand champion for the Star of Tomorrow singing contest, at the iconic Apollo Theater in New York’s Harlem neighborhood.
She was crowned the 2010 junior grand champion vocalist, and the junior grand champion at the W-COPA grand finale.
Lianah is also no stranger to musicals — she has played the role of Tuptim in The King and I, and the lead role of Kim in Miss Saigon at the Kelsey Theater in West Windsor, New Jersey last year.
“I think doing the community theater production has really prepared me for this,” she says. “Like doing that production by itself was incredible, and I met so many amazing people and I learned so much. It definitely helped me doing this.”
“It’s just been so great [being Kim],” Lianah added. “What I really admire about her is how she’s such a strong female character, and how she really blossoms into someone so empowered throughout the show, and would do anything for those that she loves.”
Lianah plays Kim on certain performances at the Broadway theater, and on certain weekend matinee performances.