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 made my professional debut when I was 10 years old in a British film called An Angel for May, where I played the role of May alongside a stellar cast including Tom Wilkinson and Dame Anna Massey. I made my West End at 18 playing Wendla Bergman in Spring Awakening. For my performance I was nominated for my first Olivier Award for ‘Best Actress in a Musical.’ I played Sophie in MAMMA MIA! (International Tour 2011-2012 and in the West End 2012-2013) and loved every second.I then went on to play Maria in The Sound of Music at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre (directed by Rachel Kavanaugh). For my performance, i received a number roof nominations including my second Laurence Olivier Award for ‘Best Actress in a Musical.’ The show was also nominated for an Olivier in the category of ‘Best Revival’ and won the 2014 Whats On Stage Award in the same category. I am currently playing Laurey Williams in the brand new tour of Oklahoma!
You are about to embark on the UK tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!. For anyone who may not know the story, can you explain what it’s all about?
It’s set in the Oklahoma territory in the early 1900s. Cowboy Curly loves my character Laurey, who is Aunt Eller’s niece, but Curly’s rival is the mysterious and dangerous hired hand Jud Fry. And meanwhile, Ado Annie is torn between cowboy Will and peddler Ali Hakim. There are so many well-known songs such as Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’, I Cain’t Say No, The Surrey With the Fringe on Top and People Will Say We’re in Love.
What attracted you to the part you are playing in the show?
Having worked with Rachel Kavanaugh (director) and Stephen Ridley (MD) on The Sound of Music, I knew that this would be a clever and classy production. I was also very keen to work with Drew McOnie who is an utter genius and I have loved every second of dancing this stunning choreography. I grew up with Rogers and Hammerstein’s musicals and so of course LOVE the score and story. It’s an honour to have been given the opportunity to play another R&H leading lady.
Do you have any dream roles that you would like to have a go at playing?
I have many. From Mary Poppins to Juliet, to Millie Dillmount. I would love to have a go at all different types of characters in musicals, plays and Shakespeare.
If you could be the opposite sex for the day, which male theatre role would you like to play?
Either the Baker in Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd or Jean Valjean. Epic!
Have you ever had any funny/disastrous on-stage experiences?
When in The Sound of Music, I inhaled a blue bottle fly mid Do Re Mi! It was actually buzzing in my wind pipe. It was utterly vile and the poor kids thought I was going mad! I managed to cough it out (not so subtly) before continuing to sing the song. They were all so professional and carried on as if nothing had happened.
Why do you think people should come and see Oklahoma! while it is on tour around the UK?
It’s a wonderful and fresh revival of a timeless classic! With its soaring score and invigorating songs and story, what’s not to love? It’s classy, detailed and stunning.
Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
Oklahoma is on tour around the UK until August 2015. Click here for more information and dates.
Click here to see who else I’ve been having tea with recently.