For those who may not be familiar with your work, can you give me a little run down of some of your career highlights so far?
I have to start by mentioning the iconic Miss Saigon, where I was lucky enough to be part of its London revival and was then asked back the following year to play Ellen. I’ve been fortunate enough to play the majority of female characters in Legally Blonde at The Savoy Theatre. All of them are hilarious. I was in Kiss Me Kate at the Old Vic, where I understudied and got to take on the multiple personalities of Lillie Vanessi and Kate while stage fighting, screaming, singing and reciting Shakespeare. Other highlights include being part of the new musical From Here to Eternity, playing Sally Bowles in a stunning version of Cabaret and doing a recent piece about family relationships and Alzheimer’s which was heartfelt and honest.
You are about to star in ‘Starting Here, Starting Now’ at the Pheasantry, alongside Sam Lupton (Wicked, Avenue Q) and Kayleigh McKnight (Bend It Like Beckham). What is the show about and what attracted you to be part of it?
Starting Here, Starting Now is a musical revue by Maltby and Shire. It is a compilation of songs from their hit shows which takes us on a journey through the ups and downs of relationships.
For me, this revue was a great opportunity to explore the writing of this duo, as I am ashamed to say I knew very few of their songs. But the ones I knew well, I adored. I love a revue and these guys really helped start the trend with Starting Here, Starting Now back in 1976. Plus, one half of the writing duo, Richard Maltby Jr., co-wrote the lyrics for Miss Saigon and I am looking forward to exploring other pieces of his work!
Until recently you were playing the role of Ellen in Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre. What are the main differences between performing in a huge theatre like that and somewhere more intimate like the Pheasantry?
Well the main difference you just said is, ‘intimate’. With both small and large venues, you are interacting with an audience, but in a small venue like the Pheasantry it’s far more up close and personal. You are almost having a one-on-one interaction with each audience member. Inviting them in, really talking to them and making them feel a part of what’s going on. And the audience won’t miss a trick! They can see everything.
There are lots of exciting shows coming to London in 2016. What are you most looking forward to seeing and have you seen anything recently that you would recommend?
There are so many new shows coming to London 2016 and I want to see them all, maybe even be a part of one… or two. 😉 I’d love to say I’ve seen something recently to recommend but I’ve just not had the time, but when I do, I’ll be sure to drop a tweet with my recommendation!
If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what male theatre role would you love to have a go at playing?
Oh wow! So many… Phantom! Because why wouldn’t you! Valjean from Les Misérables to sing ‘Bring Him Home’. The Engineer in Miss Saigon, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls – I just love that era! Or any male part with that super rich, low bass voice. I definitely have vocal range envy for that sound!
Why should people come and see Starting Here, Starting Now at the Pheasantry?
You should come and join us for Starting Here, Starting Now at the Pheasantry, because the songs are brilliant, fun, comedic and thought provoking. Plus, you have the rest of our gorgeous cast Sam Lupton, Kayleigh McKnight and our fab Musical Director Kris Rawlinson with me, ready to welcome you into our musical word of relationships!
Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
Starting Here, Starting Now plays at The Pheasantry 18-20 April 2016