BWW Interview: Anna O'Byrne
TC: So How's it all going?
AO: Yeah really well! We are playing to packed houses at the Sydney Opera House. If we look down and see a spare seat its like...what's going on??
TC; How was it working with Dame Julie Andrews?
AO: She is the most giving generous person and so knowledgeable about the show and so good to work for and with. From my first audition it was a meeting of ideas about how Eliza should be and with her having played the character on stage for 3 years her knowledge is immense.
TC; Doing something more classic MT in My Fair Lady as opposed to something more contemporary like Love Never Dies how do you find the differences in these projects?
AO: With something like My Fair Lady the book is so strong. There are such huge sections of dialogue taken directly from Pygmalion. It's fascinating to explore Shaw's words every night. Both scores are so brilliant to sing and both brought different challenges. My Fair Lady has been so brilliant for me as an actor to delve into this character and this work.
TC: Talk to me about Eliza
AO: It's really wonderful to play a character that's such a wonderful person. You'd be lucky to have her as a friend. She's smart and pragmatic and driven by love. She's so strong and determined. I just think she's brilliant and it's an honour to play a character that's so detailed and human. She's a person with such ambition and the audience can relate to the struggle and come with us on that struggle and want her to succeed.
TC: Talk to me about the cast
AO: There is just an embarrassment of riches on stage. The level of skill on stage is amazing and there are leading players in our ensemble that took the job just to work with Julie and the creative. When we did our first full run in the rehearsal room there were a lot of tears because it's just such a special show with a special cast.
TC: The last show you did was Guys and Dolls where you played Sarah. Talk to me about that.
AO: I still haven't quite said goodbye to Sarah. Yet another strong female character in yet another brilliantly written show. It was the perfect primer for My Fair Lady as there were these big dramatic scenes and I had to use both my soprano and belt voices. It was so much fun and I got to be silly and do these amazing scenes and sing such a gorgeous score. These well-written roles...a part of them just stay with you. I'll be happy to have Sarah Brown with me a bit longer.
TC: Where to after the show finishes in Sydney?
AO: I'll head back to London for a few months and do quite a bit of concert work, which will be great. Then we head to Brisbane with My Fair Lady in March next year and then Melbourne in May.