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?
Some highlights over the years, in no particular order:
Jimmy Tomorrow in THE ICEMAN COMETH with Kevin Spacey at the Almeida and Old Vic.
Arturo Ui in THE RESISTABLE RISE OF ARTURO UI, directed by Walter Meierjohann at Liverpool and Nottingham Playhouse.
The Baker playing opposite Imelda Staunton in INTO THE WOODS, by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine at the Pheonix Theatre.
Uncle Ernie in TOMMY at the Shaftesbury.
OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR! at Stratford East directed by Terry Johnson. George in WHO”S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? at the Liverpool Playhouse. Shylock in MERCHANT OF VENICE directed by Loveday Ingram for the RSC GUYS AND DOLLS at the National directed by Richard Eyre.
Feste in TWELFTH NIGHT directed by Michael Grandage at the Crucible in Sheffield.
The Fool in KING LEAR with Tom Courteney, and Doolittle in PYGMALION at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, both directed by Greg Hersov.
Two series of HARRY with Michael Elphick for the BBC.
You are currently starring in Mrs Henderson Presents. Can you tell me what the show is about and what attracted you to the part you are playing?
MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS is a brand new, original British Musical about the early years of the Windmill Theatre in London, that presented non-stop revue and nude tableaux on stage before and during the Second World War. It portrays the trials and tribulations of all who were involved in those difficult and dangerous years with wit, compassion and a shed-load of cracking tunes!
I play Vivian Van Damm, Mrs Henderson’s manager, who ran the theatre for many years. What attracted me to the part was all of the above, and the fact that it’s a leading role for an older man which has some depth, a touch of love-interest, and he gets to sing some great tunes. What’s not to like?
The show originally opened at the Theatre Royal, Bath before transferring to the West End. Do you think it is important for new musicals to start life outside of the West End so they can make sure they are perfect before the mass market see them in London?
Opening the show in Bath was a great opportunity to find out how an audience responded to it, and to improve it where necessary, should a London transfer be in the offing. Which happily it was. However, when you’re asking people to part with their money for a ticket, it’s important to get the show right, and for it to be the best it can be, wherever it plays.
There are lots of exciting shows coming to London in 2016. What are you most looking forward to seeing?
I’ve just seen THE FATHER at the Duke of Yorks that had a fantastic central performance by Ken Cranham, and I’m looking forward to seeing PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS at the Wyndhams if I can get a ticket. And although it’s been on a while now, I’ve never seen JERSEY BOYS, so I’m targeting that as one to see.
If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what theatre role would you love to have a go at playing?
If I was a woman, I’d want to play Sally Bowles in CABARET. Or Edith Piaf in PIAF. Isn’t it time someone did that again?
Can you complete this sentence. People should come and see Mrs Henderson Presents because ___________________.
People should come and see MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS because it’s a corker of a West End show….Go on, treat yourself!
Thanks for having Tea With Wilma