Friday, 23 August 2019

INTERVIEW: Vivienne de Vil, who is about to bring her one woman show to the Underbelly on the Southbank

Vivienne de Vil, Broadway veteran and confidant to the stars, is bringing her one woman show to the Underbelly at the Southbank this summer. In the show she celebrates some of the most iconic women of Musical Theatre; From Streisand to Minnelli, Paige to LuPone. With One Look is an intimate evening of untold stories and the songs these women made famous featuring live musicians, read our ★★★★ star review here. We managed to catch her for a brief few minutes to chat to her about this wonderful show. 

Tell us a bit about your solo show at the Underbelly at the Southbank

It’s a celebration of some of the most iconic women of Musical Theatre, with little known stories from their careers, and the music they made famous. It’s also my big return to showbiz after a nasty divorce!

What inspired you to put together this show?

I’ve written and performed several solo shows throughout my career, but this show is much more intimate, and gives the audience a chance to get to know me better. And, being such a close friend of so many stars means that I’ve got a lot of stories about their lives that you won’t find in the history books.

Did you get any tips from any of your famous friends in the creation?

It was actually Julie Andrews who convinced me to write the show in the first place! I’d been away from the biz for a while and was nervous at the thought of treading the boards again, and Jules suggested I invite a small crowd of friends to dip my toe back into the water!

Taking a look back at your career, what are some of your highlights?

Where do I start? I’ve been so lucky! I played Fantine in a little known musical called Les Miserables in the late 90’s, in the West End first and then in Japan! I toured with the show for six months which was utterly glorious. I also played Dot in Sunday in the Park with George at the Lincoln Centre (Sondheim begged me to do it), which was definitely one of my favourite jobs. Unfortunately I do have to turn a lot of opportunities down, darling, because I’m far too busy!

We saw your show at the Union Theatre and had a wonderful time, for those who also saw it, what changes have been made for this production?

Darling, we’ve completely re-written the show! It’s much more fun this time. The music is the same, but the stories I tell are different - who doesn’t love a bit of gossip? This version of the show is an hour long, which means it would work very well in Fringe festivals around the country in future. Watch this space!

And can you give us any clues as to what you’ll be wearing for the occasion?

I’m wearing my iconic gold sequin gown for the show, which was a gift from Maria Friedman when she directed me as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Then there’s a beautiful gown for drinks in the bar afterwards, and I’ve just had a brand new frock made to wear for technical rehearsals!

In the show, you talk a lot about some of the advice and help you’ve given to some of todays Theatre legends, have you been in touch with any of them recently?

They ring all the time, it’s quite sweet actually. Barbra (Streisand) rings once a week for advice, Patti (LuPone) rings for a rant, and Bernadette (Peters) just talks about herself! I try and squeeze in a FaceTime with Sondheim once a week, especially since he’s writing a role for me in his next musical, but I’m sure
you understand that I can’t possibly say anymore about that.

Have you reached out to any of those friends possibly make a guest appearance in the show?

I did try, darling, but they’re far too busy! I was hoping Elaine (Paige) would sing a few bars, almost as my warm-up act, but she’s promised to attend the press night of a musical adaptation of University Challenge.

So for those who have no idea what the show is, why should they book a ticket?

If you love Musical Theatre, you will adore With One Look. It’s jam-packed with incredible music from the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sondheim and Jule Styne, it’s sophisticated, it’s funny, and you get to spend an evening in the company of a Tony Award winning actress - what’s not to love?

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