The actress talks to BroadwayWorld about starring in the new version of the classic Stephen Schwartz musical
Tsemaye Bob-Egbe is a Nigerian-born, London-based West End performer. She most recently starred in the world premiere of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre, where she performed as Alline Bullock/Ikette, also understudying and performing the role of Tina Turner. Other credits include Janelle Woods/The Shirelles in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
Tsemaye talks to BroadwayWorld about her role as Leading Player in the new outdoor production of Pippin at the Garden Theatre, London.
You’re a couple of weeks into performances. How has it been going so far?
It’s been going really well. We had our press nights last week on Thursday and Friday, and we’ve had amazing reviews so far. And not only that, we’ve had lots of people coming in and being really grateful to see theatre again. So that’s really reassuring. The audiences have been really encouraging, absolutely loving the show. The cast and creative team are just amazing as well. So it’s been a good few weeks.
How did you spend your time during lockdown?
My lockdown was like everyone’s – it was kind of up and down. I had a few good months, a few bad months. I was in a position where I was due to be taking a break anyway – I was about to take a month and a half off. My plan was just to sleep and watch Netflix. So that was sort of it for the first month [laughs]. I didn’t really do much in terms of the arts or anything. I just took some time for me. I didn’t mind that I put on weight and all those kinds of things. It didn’t matter to me. What mattered was that my family and friends were well, and thankfully they have been so far.
After a while, I started writing. I’ve been writing a pilot episode for a new TV series and writing a musical, as well. And then I started singing and playing the piano again – just re-finding the joy in the things that I do. So that’s been my lockdown. I got engaged as well – so that’s been the most exciting thing! [laughs] So yes, it’s been very up and down. But as long as we’re still here and we’re still trying every single day, that’s what counts.
How did it feel to find out you were going to be performing again in one of the first productions to take place in London since lockdown began?
It was a bit mental. I got the audition on the Tuesday, learnt the song overnight and filmed it on Wednesday, then found out I had the part on Thursday. The cast announcement was released on the Friday, and then we started rehearsals the following week.
So there wasn’t much time to mentally prepare. When I got the call, I was filled with a lot of –