Landi Oshinowo talks about getting her act together and taking it on the road

TWW Landi OshinowoFor 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’ve been really lucky to be part of some wonderful shows including Sister Act, Shrek, Light Princess, Barnum, Pajama Game and Fame.

You are about to star in ‘I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road’ at the Jermyn Street Theatre. What is the show about and what attracted you to the part you are playing?
The show centres on Heather Jones a 39 year old singer who decides to break away from the material that’s made her a name and go in a different, edgier direction. Her friend and manager of ten years, Joe Epstein, isn’t too happy about this bold, new move and would rather she stuck to the safe, old format. Notwithstanding, Heather is determined to go ahead and take charge of her own destiny. The show is thought- provoking and funny and supports the liberation of women.

I identify with this and Heather on so many levels. For example her need for a change, for something new and different as she approaches a pivotal age. The fact that she wants to break from the mould and isn’t afraid to do it. The fact that she believes in herself and isn’t afraid to start again.

One of the great things about the show is it all happens in the one space on stage, a jazz bar. I haven’t done anything like it before but I’m up for the challenge!

There are lots of exciting shows coming to London in 2016. What are you most looking forward to seeing?
Oooh! I’m really looking forward to seeing Dreamgirls, Showboat, Hamilton, King and I and anything that comes out of the National. It’s all very exciting!

In Barnum you played The Oldest Woman In The World. If you could hold any title in the Guinness book of world records, what would you want it to be for?
Ha! I have 3 possible titles for: The Most Octaves In Her Vocal Range
Holding The Longest Note In The World
The Longest Most Ridiculously OTT Riff In The World

What was it like staring alongside Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act at the London Palladium, playing the role of Deloris Van Cartier which she made so famous?
It was absolutely incredible! Playing opposite her has been the highest point of my career so far. She was very funny and full of praise. She possesses such a generous, ebullient character; you could see everyone’s spirits lifted in the time that she was at the Palladium. It was a truly blessed and slightly surreal experience.

You also performed in the Tori Amos musical The Light Princess at the National Theatre. How did the rehearsal process for this brand new show differ from other shows (I imagine you were kept on your toes with constant rewrites and tweaks)?
One of the things I love about this industry is that no two rehearsal processes are the same. From that first day you walk into the rehearsal room, full of excitement and trepidation to do the ‘Meet and Greet’, you live, eat and breathe the show.

The Light Princess was no different. The rehearsals were intense and interesting; fun and frustrating; there were days spent doing so much you were completely shattered and days spent tweaking the smallest details over and over only to come in the next day and find the whole scene scrapped.

But what really made me smile was seeing the gorgeous Tori Amos turn up every single day in the most fabulous shoes.

If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what theatre role would you love to have a go at playing?
I have two (naturally): Lola/Simon in Kinky Boots and my ultimate favourite, Donkey in Shrek.

I actually asked one of the producers in Shrek if I could audition for the role of Donkey. I was given a 5 minute consideration and a polite “No!”

Why do you think people should come and see I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road?
The producers have amassed the most amazing West End, Broadway and Fringe talent for the show; the material is heart-felt, funny and inspirational; the score is beautiful and memorable; the intimacy of the wonderful Jermyn Street Theatre and the affordable ticket prices make this a must see show for the Summer. Audiences are in for a real treat!

Thanks for having Tea With Wilma

I’m Getting My Act Together And Taking It On The Road plays at Jermyn Street Theatre from 6 -23 July 2016