By Matthew Blank
10 Dec 2013
Must-see TV show(s):
Not really into TV shows anymore. I can’t stand all the commercials.
Last good movie you saw:
"Every Little Step." Probably more of a documentary really. I played Cassie in the UK National tour of A Chorus Line back in 1987. It brought back back a lot of wonderful memories.
Some films you consider classics:
"Brief Encounter," "The Sound of Music," "Gone With the Wind," "Cabaret"
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
Three favorite cities:
New York, London and Paris. Too obvious right? But I love Sydney too of course!
First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
First LP was Gypsy. First tape was Chicago the musical. First CD was David Sanbourn (the sax player). My husband is a sax/woodwind player and we were dating at the time and crazy about him.
First stage kiss:
West Side Story. Perfect, right?
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager:
I used to do child roles with the Australian Ballet. Like Kitri in Don Quixote, a rat in Sleeping Beauty, an altar boy in Romeo and Juliet.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
When I first heard Ethel Merman in Gypsy. I was well and truly hooked.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where)
I normally stay in the theatre between shows and bring in some take out. Just something light. Maybe soup or salad. Lately it’s been sushi, which is unusual for me!
Favorite liquid refreshment:
Skim Café Latte
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
A squat and a scream. I bless myself before I go on and sometimes I have a hot honey water (I call it talent juice) during the show.
Most challenging role you have ever played:
Mrs. Lovett at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris. I want to do it again.
What initially drew you to this project?
John Rando and Warren Carlyle. Stephanie Klapper the casting agent tracked me down in Milwaukee where I was doing Assassins. It sounded like a really fun role.
What has been the biggest challenge about this show, and what has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect?
The tap routine for sure, and dancing with kids who are 40 years younger than me! It is a joy to be surrounded by these young performers. They inspire me and remind me how much I love being in the theatre.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
Some years I was meant to sing a duet with a friend at a charity concert and I forgot to come on. I had already sung one song and was headed back to the dressing room. He stood onstage terrified for the entire intro. When I heard the music I freaked and ran back to the stage. I was so out of breath I could barely sing a note.
Worst costume ever:
I was playing a stripper in a musical called Budgie. In one scene my “costume” was one set of pink feathers, a g-string, a microphone and two bandaids.
Worst job you ever had:
I was a roller skating sperm in a BBCTV special about Margaret Thatcher. No, I am not making this up.
Craziest audition story:
I auditioned for Woody Allen. Never imagined in my wildest dreams that would happen.
Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about?
Every time I do, it doesn’t happen, so no!
Leading lady role you've been dying to play:
Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter.
Leading man role you'd like a shot at:
Billy Bigelow in Carousel.
Something about you that surprises people:
I have been with my husband for 27 years. I came in 3rd in the World Irish Dancing Championships in Dublin when I was 15.
Something you are incredibly proud of:
That I have been nominated at the Laurence Olivier Awards for both Best Actress in a Play and Best Actress in a Musical.
Something you're embarrassed to admit:
I really like baked beans on toast. But they have to be Heinz.
Career you would want if not a performer:
Air stewardess. I love to travel.
Three things you can't live without:
My husband, my husband, my husband.
"I'll never understand why…"
… we are here!!
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
Work hard. Perseverance. Try to take criticism professionally and not personally. It’s not easy I know. Be prepared to have your heart broken. This is not a job, it’s a love affair.
By Matthew Blank