PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Gentleman's Guide Star Lisa O'Hare

By Matthew Blank
November 12, 2013

British stage actress Lisa O'Hare, making her Broadway debut as Sibella Hallward in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.



O'Hare originated this role in the Hartford Stage and Old Globe productions.

Stage work includes Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (Elliot Norton and Denver Post Ovation Award winner), Gigi in Gigi, Anything Goes, Sally Bowles in Cabaret (LADCC Award winner), Guinevere in Camelot and Maria in The Sound of Music.





Full given name: Lisa Jane O'Hare
Where you were born/where you were raised: I was born and raised in Morecambe, a very small seaside town in the Northwest of England.
Zodiac Sign: A Scorpio. I think we get a bad rap.
What your parents did/do for a living: My dad is an electrician and my mum is a teaching assistant and performer.
Siblings: Two amazing sisters!
Special skills: "SPAVING"- spending whilst saving at the same time. Very special skill!
Something you're REALLY bad at: My husband would say driving but I think speed limits are just a guideline.
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations when first starting out? Audrey Hepburn is someone I've always admired. She has that untouchable star quality.
First Broadway/West End show you ever saw: My auntie Anne took me to Phantom of the Opera in London. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Probably Judi Dench in Cabaret in London. I bet she was a fabulous Sally Bowles.
Some favorite modern musicals: I recently saw Once and loved it!
Some favorite classic musicals: My Fair Lady will never get old for me.
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: My two sisters and a good friend sang for us at our wedding and that I will never forget.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: I have to admit that I get quite emotional listening to the amazing talent that exists in the New York Subways.
MAC or PC? Being a technophobe, MAC has saved my life.
Most played song on your iPod: At the moment it's Ed Sheeran's "Lego House"
Last book you read: "Just Kids" by Patti Smith
Must-see TV show(s): "Breaking Bad," "Mad Men," "The Midwife"
Last good movie you saw: "Afternoon Delight." Such beautiful acting!
Some films you consider classics: "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
"Roman Holiday"
"The Wizard of Oz"
Three favorite cities: Paris, Venice, NYC!!!
Favorite sport/team/player: WHO DEY!?
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: I think it was just something I have felt for as long as I can remember. There is nothing else in the world I would rather do.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I like to steam with my Dr. Nelson's porcelain steamer, do a ten to fifteen minute vocal warm-up and fifteen minutes of flow yoga.
Most challenging role you have ever played: They have all had their own set of challenges. Mary Poppins was physically demanding, Eliza was vocally tough and I think Sally Bowles was emotionally the biggest challenge.
Craziest audition story: Having to go to the writer's apartment to retrieve an iPod from a gym bag to learn a new song for a call back the next day. CRAZY!
What initially drew you to this project? The script was hilarious! And it was soo authentically British. It also had a naughtiness about it that I just loved!
What has been the biggest challenge about this show, and what has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect? The biggest challenge has been trying to do this wonderfully complexed character justice. The most fun aspect is getting to play with this wonderful cast everyday and wearing Linda Cho's exquisite gowns.
How does it feel to finally make your Broadway debut after working so extensively in the UK and regional theatre? As an actor, it is really something to just stay working and I feel completely blessed to have been given so many wonderful opportunities in the UK and now here in the States.

Honestly, I don't think it has sunk in yet. To be making my Broadway debut in this spectacular show and originating such a wonderful role. Lets just say I'm a happy girl!

Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Roxie Hart
Leading man role you'd like a shot at: Monty Navarro
Something about you that surprises people: I moved away from home and went to The Royal Ballet School at age 11.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: From one of my favorite Martha Graham quotes that lives on my fridge:

"No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”