Introduce Yourself(ie): 10 Questions with Sunset Boulevard Star Siobhan Dillon
March 13th, 2017
by Siobhan Dillon
Siobhan Dillon makes her Broadway debut in the hit revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard. Siobhan plays aspiring screenwriter Betty Schaeffer, the smart and beautiful young love interest to the show's star Joe Gillis (Michael Xavier). Siobhan first broke out in the UK as a popular contestant on the Lloyd Webber TV reality series How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?. On the West End, she starred as Sandy in Grease, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Molly in Ghost the Musical, Vivienne Kensington in Legally Blonde and Ellen in Miss Saigon.
Get to know Siobhan better as she talks about her epic Grease audition, leaving Ghost at the stage door, and having a blast with Sunset co-stars Glenn Close and Michael Xavier.
1. One thing I wish I could tell Betty Schaeffer:
I wish I could tell her to chill out a bit! She's a bit too enthusiastic at times and it gets exhausting!
2. The most surprising thing about working with Glenn Close has been:
How much of a team player she is. I can't sing her praises enough to be completely honest. She's a magical woman. She knows everyone's name backstage and takes time to speak to everyone she meets. She's amazing like that. I mean, it goes without saying that she's a flawless actress but to also be so generous. That's very special.
3. My favorite old Hollywood movie:
Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn (1957).
4. The thing I enjoy most about living in New York:
The people. I've heard people say, "New York has this amazing energy." I agree in a way—but I think it's the people who bring that energy. It's an awesome city. It's hard but it's fiercely honest.
5. My most memorable audition story:
One of my first ever auditions. It was for Grease, which happened to be my favorite musical growing up. My parents took me to London to see it when I was 9 and I bought the CD of the cast recording. Within it was the bright pink lyric booklet along with pictures of the cast. I would sing along to EVERY song—(in character of course!) mimicking the characteristics and choreography from what I remembered seeing on stage.
So, cut to me, aged 22, in the Grease audition room armed with material I'd been sent for Marty. I sang the song "Freddie My Love" and was pretty happy with how it went. I left. I was then called back in and handed the sides and songs for Rizzo and Sandy along with more sides for Patty Simcox! In short—I didn't need the pages. I was terrifyingly and quite embarrassingly word perfect.
In fact, it turned into more of a selfishly fun rendition of the '90s production I had enjoyed so much as a kid rather than an audition! I had a great time in that room and actually ended up playing Patty and understudying Sandy in that revival at The Piccadilly Theatre, West End. Which, for my first job made me very, very happy! Needless to say, I've never experienced another audition like it. Beginners luck!
6. My West End credit that challenged me most:
In hind sight this would be Molly in Ghost. Although at the time I don't think I was really accepting of that. I went into emotional holes every show which were sometimes difficult to get out of and had moments of depression which would often show up in my personal life. My health suffered and my state of mind was unsettled. As I say, ALL of this I ignored—or refused to believe was solely due to the work I was doing on stage. I didn't want to change the way I felt playing Molly so I wasn't prepared to pull myself out of that emotional place at any time. Again, in hind sight, that was a mistake but I have learned from that. Molly was an incredibly challenging part to play but there was a dark part of my soul that enjoyed discovering her and her journey.
7. The thing Michael Xavier and I laugh about most offstage:
Spitting at each other while we're singing in each other's faces! Stupid jokes we tell each other moments before we walk on stage. He writes questionable things on the typewriter and I write stupid sentences on my note pad to make us smile. I think it helps our relationship on stage. Any moments we can find on stage to spark some chemistry is useful I think.
8. My favorite thing to do on a day off from Sunset:
I love walking around the city. I haven't quite got to the point yet where I've got a list of favorite places but I love popping into MNDFL Meditation. That's an amazing place to meet lovely people and recharge. I will walk around Soho, Greenwich Village, Central Park and parts of Brooklyn with friends. Window shopping and people watching mainly!
9. Backstage during Sunset, I am most likely:
Sitting in the green room with members of the cast. That's it really. Our "Green Room" is brilliantly located under the stage in the middle of a massive space that you have to walk through to get to the other side of the stage. It's literally a collection of big comfy sofas and is a great space for connecting with people and relaxing.
10. My desert island film, album, and TV series:
Film—The Green Mile
Album—ITS A TIE! Muse's The 2nd Law and Sara Bareilles' The Blessed Unrest.
TV Series—Mmmmmm right now? Damages. I'm addicted! I know I'm late to the party on this one, but Patty is terrifying and terrified symbiotically. It's brilliant writing and Glenn is of course mesmerizing.
Don't miss Siobhan Dillon's Broadway debut as Betty Schaeffer in 'Sunset Boulevard' at the iconic Palace Theatre.