Sunday, 9 October 2022

INTERVIEW: Georgia Lennon, currently playing Marie Osmond in The Osmonds - A New Musical on tour around the UK

Georgia Lennon is currently taking on the role of icon and legend Marie Osmond in the new musical, The Osmonds. Her other credits include Lady Chatterley in Lady Chatterley’s Lover (Shaftesbury Theatre), Belle in Beauty and the Beast and Princess Apricot in Jack and the Beanstalk (Belfast Grand Opera House).

With a couple months of the tour left, we managed to catch up with Georgia and chat all things Osmonds! 

Marie Osmond is an international star, when you got the role did you feel any pressure and how do you feel now you’re well into the run?

I was completely lost for words when I found out that I’d landed the role of Marie Osmond. Being a huge lover of country music and getting the opportunity to play one of the biggest influences of that genre was a real ‘wow’ moment for me. 

I think there’s pressure when playing any of the Osmond family because they’re real people; most of whom are still alive and performing now. I feel a real responsibility to pay homage to the strong, independent woman Marie is, but also want to do her music justice night after night. After all, we’re playing characters that have such an incredible fan base and that comes with a certain expectation. However, this pressure is certainly eased through working with the man himself; Mr Jay Osmond. Jay has been with us throughout the entire rehearsal process and hearing all of his stories and first-hand accounts about each Osmond has allowed us to inform our character choices accurately. We’ve all been able to grab a real essence of who each family member really is, and was.

There must be very different challenges that come with playing a real person, What kind of process did you go through to prepare for the role?

You’re totally right; the approach to real and fictional roles differs a little bit. As I mentioned before, there’s more expectation attached to a role like Marie Osmond, because she already has quirks and personality traits, so it’s important to take the time to understand these specifics and to watch them in action where possible.

I loved the process for Marie Osmond. I started by reading her book 'Might as Well Laugh About It Now' only shortly after I’d been offered the role, which gave me a true sense of her life from childhood through to the present day. And then came the most fun part, I watched SO many episodes of the Donny and Marie Show. I’m convinced that if I’d been around when that show aired, I’d have been obsessed with it! I think I’m a Little Bit Country might be one of my favourite jingles of all time.

Having Jay work so closely with us throughout the rehearsal process and into our run was also extremely special and it was only through his anecdotes that I felt my character of Marie really came alive.

Now you’ve been playing her for a while, what are some of your favourite things you’ve discovered about Marie Osmond?

There are so many things I love about Marie - she’s such a wonderful woman, and always has been! My favourite thing would definitely have to be her strength and determination. Imagine being one of nine siblings, all of which are boys, and being able to stand your ground so definitely. There’s something so inspirational about that; especially in today’s climate of female empowerment. Marie’s wit always makes me chuckle too. She’s always got an answer for everything, especially in moments with her brother Donny, and I love that!

The Osmonds is a world premier and previously you were also in the original cast of Lady Chatterley’s Lover at the Shaftesbury Theatre, what are your favourite things about originating roles?

I’m very lucky that I’ve been able to originate two roles so far and what an experience it’s been! As you’re the first person to essentially play this role, there’s that added bit of artistic license. On both musicals, I’ve worked with incredible creative teams, and they’ve both allowed me to contribute my own thoughts to each character, which is so unbelievably special. You always get to add your trademark to each role too. It’s such a pinch-me moment to think that there are particular things you add to your original track that stay with the show forever more. To be part of something from the very beginning is pretty cool!

The Osmonds is a show based on real-life events and Lady Chatterley’s Lover is based on a book, are there any other stories out there you think should be seen on stage?

I recently watched The Eyes of Tammy Faye on Amazon Prime and I’m so glad that it’s currently in production to become a musical. This was a story I had absolutely no knowledge of but the narrative is so fascinating. I really can’t wait to see it come to life on the stage. I also have a real interest in historical war stories, and I would love this genre to take to the stage more. I’ve read some of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching fictional and biographical war tales about everything from the front line to the Holocaust, and I think they would make for some of the most gripping and honourable stage dramas.

Lastly, with a completely different sentiment, Serendipity is one of my favourite movies of all time, and I think it could be absolutely stunning if translated onto stage. You heard it here first folks!

You, of course, play the famous Osmond Sister but if you were to play any of the Osmond brothers, which one would it be?

Oh gosh, this is such a hard question! I love them all for completely different reasons. Alan, his drive and commitment. Wayne, his pure emotion (and I LOVE the song Raining). Merrill, what a killer vocal track. Donny, his command and charm of the audience. Jay, his sheer love of the family. But if I had to pick a specific Osmond brother, I think it would be Merrill or Donny. Merrill, because he has the most amazing character arc and a really exciting vocal track. Donny, because I just love everything he’s involved in throughout the show and secretly, I’d like to look at all the Donny and Marie aspects of the musical through the opposite lens.

Touring the UK can sometimes be tough, what tips would you give to people about getting through a long touring contract?

Touring is certainly an experience, but I feel very lucky to be doing something that I love so much, whilst also getting to visit so many parts of the UK and Ireland. A hectic schedule, moving from venue to venue, city to city, every weekend obviously brings highs and lows with it but I can honestly say I’m having the time of my life with The Osmonds. 

I think one of the most important things whilst touring is to keep that positive mindset running as much as you can, even on tough days when all you want is your own bed and your favourite home comforts. Bringing that warm energy into the theatre radiates through the company and soon you find that everyone is having a good day. And who says you can’t bring those favourite home comforts on the road with you! I’ve certainly learnt that you can fit A LOT of food in one dressing room box. And you’ll need it; there are only so many meal deals you can eat! Also, make sure to pack for all eventualities. Have I been wearing a summer dress in gale-force winds? Yes, I have. Have I also been wearing a woolly jumper in the blazing sunshine? Oh yes, I have!

You’re in a Country Music Duo with Michael Pickering (currently starring in Jersey Boys, read our interview here!) who we’ve just interviewed, what are your future plans for One Trick Pony?

Yes! One Trick Pony was something we created one rainy day, as we both have such a love for country music, and then it just took off! What started out as a small idea, led to writing and releasing our own originals, which still feels surreal to say. Whilst we’ve both been on the road, we’ve found so much extra time to write new songs and develop new ideas. In some ways, I think being in a new city every week has sparked so much more creativity and introduced us to new ideas we’d never normally think of. We’re definitely seeing the positives, for sure.

We’ve currently got three brand new singles in production with both Canadian and UK music producers, which is SO exciting, and we cannot wait to share them with listeners soon. Just as soon as our tour schedules align and we can get in a recording studio together!

What would some of your dream roles and dream shows be?

Do you know what, I don’t think there’s a page long enough for the number of roles I dream of playing.

Theatre has always been my dream, for as long as I can remember. To be involved in such a magical industry every day, and actually live those fantasies that just seemed like fairytales when I was small, still doesn’t feel real! They say ‘if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life’ and this couldn’t be more true.

If I had to name a few that I’d KILL to play Mary Poppins, she would definitely be up there. It was the first show I ever saw, and the beauty of it has been something that has always stuck with me. I just love that show. Maria in The Sound of Music as well, there’s something about this role that just captivates me; what a woman and what a role! And I can only imagine what the thrill of singing The Hills are Alive would feel like every night. Finally, Princess Fiona in Shrek - there’s so much about this role that I love. The perfect balance of humour, heart and killer songs. SO. MUCH. FUN!

Do you have any plans for after the show's run?

I haven’t even thought about that yet! Every time I think about the end of this job, I quickly switch to a different subject because I’m just having so much fun, and it seems sad to think that one day, it’ll all be over. We’ve made such incredible bonds on this show, created something we’re so proud of, and I’ve made real friends for life, so I don’t want to think about a day when all of that doesn’t exist. I’m also a really driven person who thrives off being busy, so it’ll be straight to thinking about what comes next... I must say though, I can’t wait for a good ol’Christmas Dinner!

And finally, in one sentence, why should people come and see The Osmonds?

The Osmonds is a show full of love; you can’t help but laugh, cry, sing and dance your way through the musical, and I think that’s what everyone needs. It’s just beautiful, and you’d be silly to miss out - come and join us because ‘We’re Having a Party’!

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