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Lea Salonga: Actress 20

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The last time Americans were treated to the singing of a Filipino woman, they got Imelda Marcos, shoeless in Hawaiian exile, warbling “Don’t Fence Me In” on 60 Minutes. But on opening night of Miss Saigon‘s long-awaited run on Broadway, Salonga showed the pipes and pathos that had made her a star in her native Manila and raised her above the 1,200 other aspiring Saigon auditioners. A vegetarian and a devout Catholic, she lists the Virgin Mary as her most beautiful person. Until Salonga began rehearsals in London in 1989 for her role as the Vietnamese lover of an American G.I., she had never been kissed in earnest. She still dates only with a chaperone, usually her mother. Joy—known around the theater as Mrs. Saigon.