Landi Oshinowo from Shrek, Barnum and Sister Act is about to star in I'm Getting My Act Together on 6th July 2016. We caught up with her to talk about the show and her working relationships with everyone involved.
For those who are unfamiliar with 'I'm Getting My Act Together' what can they expect from the show?
Beautiful ballads, a memorable score, a hugely talented cast, lots of laughter, tears and a good dose of inspiration. It's a beautiful musical that speaks to me personally and the many women and men out there who are reaching out for new beginnings in life and love.
You have previously starred in Shrek, Barnum and Sister Act so can you can tell us a little bit about these experiences or standout moments?
All of these shows were amazingly incredible to work in. As well as the fantastic casts, musicians, creative teams and crews, I was very fortunate to work with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Sheila Hancock and Ian Lavender in Sister Act; Amanda Holden, Richard Blackwood and Kimberly Walsh in Shrek; and Brian Conerly and Linzi Hateley in Barnum. What really stood out for me in Sister Act was playing opposite Whoopi when she took over the role of Mother Superior for the briefest, most exciting moment in my career so far. And she loved my Deloris!
In Shrek the costumes were the real stars with the designer Tim Hatley, winning and Olivier award for his creativity. As well as playing the Dragon and wearing a fabulous, fuschia frock complete with tail, I also played Humpty and had to wear the imaginatively made, yet cumbersome 'Egg' costume. The first time I went on stage in it, I cried!
Barnum took me back to my childhood even though I played the oldest woman in the world. I was totally ready to take 'gymnastics' off my CV until I saw what Andrew Wright, the choreographer, had in store for me. Who knew I was still so flexible?!
You star alongside Nicolas Colicos, can you tell us about your working relationship and how soon you began to feel comfortable with each other during rehearsals?
I love Nic, he's such a great guy in every sense of the word and a generous actor on top of it. I've known Nic since we worked together in Sister Act, he's really professional and so easy to get on with. He is a very talented actor and a real credit to the show.
The story is about new beginnings- so how do you feel about new beginnings in your own life- do you embrace them or are you afraid of change?
I totally embrace change, the excitement of the unknown that lies ahead.
I'm also afraid of change, the terrifying unknown that lies ahead.
But the one constant thing about change is that it is inevitable.
The show has been described as a 'controversial sensation' so where does the controversy arise from?
This was probably one of the first feminist musicals. The writers, Nancy Ford and Gretchen Cryer, have lived through a time when women's and men's roles in society were changing fast. They have brilliantly captured that time in society in this musical but it's much more than that. The writers were adamant that this musical wasn't just a feminist statement, it's about the timeless issues of love, relationships, life goals and personal freedom.
This is a new production, so how does it differ from the original?
The show is as relevant today as it was when it first premiered but we have made the language and set more contemporary and relevant for today's audiences. The original production was labelled the first feminist musical and we are keen to not use that label too much. The piece is about a forty year old woman who wants to change her life, a mid-life crisis possibly? But in the show there is someone else who is struggling with being a 'modern' person. Joe, Heather's manager, is struggling with what the expectations are of being a man not only within society but also on a very personal level and as a husband and that is what we hope this production will bring to the fore.
The story focuses on friendships as well as relationships so how important are your friendships in your own life?
Friendships are really important to me, in an industry such as ours -
one true friend is like gold dust. I can honestly say that I have been blessed with some incredible friendships inside and out of the industry.
It is directed by Matthew Gould, so how have you found working with him and what has the atmosphere been like during rehearsals?
Matthew is electric! He's exciting to be around, his energy literally lights up the room. He's very intelligent. The only way I can describe the way he works is this - imagine he's standing on a precipice asking you to jump, not only is he telling you how to jump and where to land, he also going to take your hand and jump with you, asking you to trust and have faith
The music and lyrics are from Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford, so what kind of sound can we expect from the production?
Lots of rock/pop songs, some beautiful ballads and some hilarious lyrics. It's a fun, heart-warming, inspirational and entertaining night out. The show is made up of the most wonderful West End, Broadway and fringe talent, in the wonderful intimacy of the Jermyn Street Theatre, at an affordable ticket price. It's a win, win for musical theatre fans this summer!
What is next for you?
For the moment, I've got castings, auditions, workshops, recordings, gigs and possibly panto at the end of the year. It's very exciting times ahead and I'm loving it all!
I'm Getting my Act Together and Taking it on the Road will be playing at the Jermyn Street Theatre between 6-23 July.
Booking now on 020 7287 2875 or www.JermynStreetTheatre.co.uk