Lesley Nicol, best known for playing Mrs. Patmore on the hit show “Downton Abbey” has a one woman musical opening in NYC called, “How the Hell Did I Get Here?” Featuring newly written songs by Mark Mueller, the show takes the audience on the journey from Lesley’s childhood, through her time as a working actress to her success on Downton. This is sure to be amazing evening with a charismatic performer at a unique NYC hotspot. Seems like a no-brainer!
Lauren Conlin sat down with Lesley over High Tea at The McKittrick to discuss the show, and why people will enjoy it!
Lauren: Now, Lesley you have a one woman show coming up this week. This is so exciting. It’s called How the Hell Did I Get Here ? Now why should everyone come and see this?
Lesley Nicol: Because we’ve just done it in Chicago. And because we couldn’t meet people afterwards, we had to have a board outside, which said how the hell. No. What the hell did you think of that? That is what it said. Cause we couldn’t meet people cause of COVID and they’re all very worried that I might go down with it. And then there is no show. So people wrote just bunches of stuff that made us feel that actually this, the show is doing what we hoped it would do, which is entertaining people.
The songs are fabulous. Cause he’s written 10 new songs. This very clever songwriter friend I have. Who’s also playing the piano. He won’t let anybody play the piano. He’s coming with me on the road. Pretty cool. And, um, they just real kind of comments that you thought, oh, I think they really got this.
They really, really got what this is supposed to be. My favorite being the bunch of drag Queens that came one of whom said, I’ve just sat for an hour and watched Lesley Nicol life and cried and laughed and seen my own life right in front of me. Now. Isn’t that weird, but that seems to be what happened.
Lauren: That’s amazing. You see, that makes me want to see it even more, which is like the best answer ever. Honestly, you just sold me. You literally sold me in 30 seconds
Lesley Nicol: So to describe what it is, to be honest, it is. But if that’s the result, then that’s okay.
Lauren: Right. And look at this venue, this venue is so cool. So like me personally, I’m obsessed with seeing shows at venues like the McKittrick hotel or, you know yes.
And, and, um, what’s the one place, a Le Poisson Rouge. These are amazing venues. Intimate, you know, for one person shows you can get cocktails, you can get food. It’s it’s so cool. So is there, is that why you picked this venue or is there another reason?
Lesley Nicol: I can’t take the credit for picking the venue cause my, I wouldn’t have known a bit, but my producer has worked here before.
He knows it’s a really cool place and people come and they they are not necessarily all even theater goers, which is fine because this is designed to be of interest to anybody anywhere, any age, to be honest. Cause it’s about being a human being really.
Lauren: And now stage versus screen. I mean, there, there’s a lot of pressure with both, but here you are on your own besides your, you know, your pianist and everything. So yeah, no, you’re on your own. There’s a lot of pressure. What do you prefer? What do you think is harder for you? Stage or screen?
Lesley Nicol: Honesty. The, the thing about this, I am loving doing this, but it is designed to look easy. And it is and it isn’t you’re so right. You’re spot on Lauren. It’s it is a responsibility and it’s an hour and 20 of just me with Mark playing the piano.
Um, so it’s been a big old learning curve cause I’ve never done this before. And I had a little break just between Chicago and now I went home to England and I did a little thing called Doc Martin, which is a TV show on PBS. It’s a British show. That was so easy. And I was in the kayak floating around in the ocean that was easier than this, but on the other hand, now I’m getting into the stride of doing it.
If we have some good audience, then this carries itself. It’s like a party really. And that’s the joy of life theater. So, um, It, it is a bit of a gulp to, to start off with, but once I’m on here, it’s fine.
Lauren: Now you also just sold me at party because I love parties. Everybody knows that. Now I’m just going to do something really quick and fun to wrap things up. Let’s just do a really fast word association. Okay. I’m going to say a word and you say what comes to mind? Okay. Tea
Lesley Nicol: Cake
Lauren: New York City.
Lesley Nicol: Lovely.
Lauren: Sorry. I totally disagree with you right now. I think it’s a shit hole right now, but that’s totally fine. Um, okay. Downton Abbey.
Lesley Nicol: Home
Lauren: McKittrick Hotel
Lesley Nicol: Home
Lesley Nicol: Not home.
Lauren: Lesley. You’re amazing. Thank you so much, everybody. The show opens the 20th of April, which is in two days. So we should, we can buy tickets online. You can buy tickets at the door. musical.com
Lesley Nicol: It is a very good way to go, but do it quickly we maybe here only for three weeks, we’ll see three weeks. How that, say it again.
How the hell musical.com. She says, looking for advice, how the hell musical.com.
Lauren:Well, thank you so much.
The show runs in NYC for about 3 weeks and you can find tickets here
Check out Lauren’s interview with Matt Walsh