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Filipina Actress Melisa Camba Wins UK Competition

Filipina Actress Melisa Camba Wins UK Competition

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In June of this year, UK based composers Dan and Laura Curtis launched the Your Voice Competition for the second year in a row. The musical duo has worked with Broadway and West End stars such as Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess, Samantha Barks, Jonathan Pryce, and Laura Osnes. The competition, which was launched by Glee and current Waitress star Jenna Ushkowitz with a song written by Dan and Laura, was done in aid of Kindred: The Foundation for Adoption.

Melisa Camba

taken from Melisa Camba’s Facebook account

This year’s winner is Melisa Camba, who hails from the Philippines, and is currently in London after a recent stint as Toragana in Marco Polo: An Untold Love Story. Melisa Camba has been singing nearly all her life. After enrolling at the Center for Arts Foundation in Manila at the tender age of 6, she then spent over half a decade doing passion plays in the Center’s theater program. The next stage in her musical education was composed of seven years of classical training at Philippine High School for the Arts and the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music. Feeling the need to take a break, Melisa made the decision to audition for productions outside of the conservatory, and was successful in her attempts. She took part in various productions, ranging from operas to musicals, leading up to her eventual role in Marco Polo: an Untold Love Story.

As the winner of the international competition, Melisa has won a workshop with Broadway actor and Rent’s original Roger, Adam Pascal. In addition to this, she will receive an overnight stay in New York or London, theater tickets, and a recording session. For this year’s Your Voice competition, the contestants were given the opportunity to perform one of four songs written by the Curtises, and the winning song, performed by Melisa, was ‘When You Smile’. We caught up with Melisa and asked her about the competition, her history with musical theater, and what her plans are for when she returns to Manila.

Tell us about your experience in Europe and Marco Polo.

“To be honest, I never would have thought I’d be traveling to Europe at my 20s. Never. It was Marco Polo which gave me the opportunity to travel and perform at the same time. We had our first set of previews in Paris June of last year and stayed there for a month. Gosh! Beautiful, beautiful city! It was a bit hard to get around at first because of the language barrier but eventually found my way through the daily routine. It was an experience that trained me to be independent. I was part of the ensemble then so I got to work a lot with our French cast-mates. It’s amazing to get to know an entirely different culture all through performing together. There were definitely a lot of lessons and exchange of ideas.”

“London on the other hand is a different story. I was really blessed to get the opportunity to alternate one of the supporting leads (Toragana). I felt a bit of pressure because, hello, I’d be doing this role for a month in freaking London! We started rehearsals in July and met with our new cast-mates from the UK and some of the ones we’ve worked with in Paris.”

“Being in an international company of actors is very interesting. There was definitely a divide among nationalities during the first days but by the end of the run, we were one big unit. I had the greatest time working with these amazing people. To live and perform in London is a dream, honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my brain to everything that has happened–that is happening.”

“Long story short, Marco Polo is one of the stepping stones that bridged me from opera to musical theater which is why I am grateful for this production. In the process, I’ve learned a lot of things as a performer and really helped me to grow artistically. I could not feel more blessed to be given the opportunity to play a woman who embodies independence and strength — a character that really inspired me and I hope has inspired other people as well.”

What song did you perform for the Your Voice competition?

“‘When You Smile’ — truly one of the best works I have interpreted. Beautiful, beautiful music.”

Who are your biggest musical theater idols and who would you like to perform with in the future?

“I have a lot but my ultimate favorites are Kelli O’ Hara, Cynthia Erivo, Megan Hilty, Laura Osnes, Steve Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan and of course our very own Lea Salonga. It’s also one of my dreams to work with Jason Robert Brown and Lin Manuel Miranda. (who wouldn’t? HA!)”

What’s next for you when you return to the Philippines?

“Well, there are several collaborations and projects in line but I can’t really share details since most are not concrete yet. But I will have my graduation recital in UST this May 2017, that’s for sure! Hope you can watch! And of course, it’s back to phase one in a performer’s cycle — back to auditioning! Lots of it!”

About the Author /


Filmmaker and photographer by day, resident reviewer at Theater Fans Manila by night. Lover of storytelling in all its forms. View his personal work here.

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