Lea Salonga and Dolly De Leon Headline 'Request Sa Radyo'

Exclusive: Lea Salonga and Dolly De Leon Return to the Stage in ‘Request Sa Radyo’

Tony and Olivier Award Winner Lea Salonga returns to the stage with “Request sa Radyo.” Courtesy of Request Sa Radyo

The team behind “Request sa Radyo” exclusively spoke to Vogue Philippines about the theatrical performance, set to begin October 2024 starring two of the country’s most acclaimed actresses. 

Tony and Olivier winner Lea Salonga and Golden Globe and BAFTA nominee Dolly De Leon are set to headline “Request Sa Radyo” (Wunschkonzert/Request Program), the landmark theatrical piece by Franz Xaver Kroetz. The play captures the poignant solitude of a woman through her meticulous evening routine, revealing her deep loneliness and yearning for connection, with Salonga and De Leon to alternate in the leading role. This strictly limited engagement begins on October 10, 2024, at the Samsung Performing Arts Theatre in Makati, Philippines.

BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated actress Dolly De Leon returns to the stage with “Request sa Radyo.” Photo by Raen Badua
Tony and Olivier Award Winner Lea Salonga returns to the stage with “Request sa Radyo.” Courtesy of Request Sa Radyo

Produced by Clint Ramos, Bobby Garcia, Christopher Mohnani for Ayala Land and GMG Productions, “Request Sa Radyo” transforms the mundane into a powerful exploration of isolation and the human condition. The producers expressed their excitement about the project. “Blurring the line between theater and performance art, Franz Xaver Kroetz’s play speaks to the silent struggles of isolation and the deep human need for connection. Through its minimalist approach and profound storytelling, grounded in a specific Filipino lived experience, this production invites audiences to find extraordinary meaning in the everyday,” according to a joint statement by the producers.

Circuit Performing Arts Theater managing director Christopher Mohnani. Photo by Erwin Canlas

Director Bobby Garcia emphasized the play’s unique form and style, likening it to a Hitchcockian thriller. “To have Lea Salonga and Dolly De Leon, two of the Philippines’ finest actors, lead the show in alternating performances really makes this a theatrical event. Given the global crisis that is loneliness, there couldn’t be a better time for ‘Request Sa Radyo’.” Garcia also shared his personal connection to the project: “The last show I worked on in Manila was ‘The Band’s Visit’, which sadly never got to open because of the pandemic. It feels almost like fate that I now return to Manila after four years to direct ‘Request Sa Radyo’, a chilling and haunting piece of theater about those very same issues.”

“Request Sa Radyo” will begin performances at the Samsung Performing Arts Theatre in Makati City, Philippines, on October 10, 2024. Courtesy of Request Sa Radyo

Lea Salonga shared her enthusiasm for the project, saying, “When I was asked by Clint and Bobby if I was interested at all in this project, an experience that told a probable and possible story that absolutely applies to our people, I said sure— even before knowing the details,” the multi-awarded actress said. “It will be a challenge, but hopefully will lend a figurative voice to those who are suffering.”

Dolly De Leon echoed this sentiment, expressing her excitement to return to theater after five years. “With loneliness being one of the most immediate problems society faces today, my hope is that people will understand mental health more and find compassion for those who suffer,” De Leon notes.

Director Bobby Garcia. Courtesy of Request Sa Radyo
Producer Clint Ramos. Courtesy of Request Sa Radyo

Clint Ramos, reflecting on the play’s impact, noted that he has “always been so moved by this play as a piece of modern theater. Its intimate package belies the vastness of exploration of the human condition. When we got the blessing to bring it to Manila at the Samsung Theatre and have it speak to a specific Filipino condition, we could only think of two of the Philippines’ premier actors: Lea Salonga and Dolly de Leon, to star in it. Together with director and pal, Bobby Garcia, I cannot think of a better piece for all of us to collaborate on and be of artistic service to the motherland and our people.”

“Request Sa Radyo” promises to be a profound and moving portrayal of solitude and the quest for human connection, making it a must-see event in international theater for 2024.

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