Siobhan Dillon - say cheese
Oct 29 2008 by Will Harris, Crewe Chronicle
From a televised hunt for a West End star, to a musical based around the songs of Barry Manilow – no wonder Siobhan Dillon is smiling from ear to ear. WILL HARRIS meets her
HOMECOMING queen Siobhan Dillon reckons she has solved a problem like a career. The Lichfield-born actress, who got a lucky break on the BBC1 talent search show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, returns to nearby Hanley to star in the Barry Manilow musical Can’t Smile Without You on the Regent Theatre stage next month.
Siobhon, 24, says she had always wanted to be a singer from when she was a little girl. But she since flirted with careers in art and design, fashion and photography before taking a chance in the Andrew Lloyd Webber show two years ago.
“All the way through school I wanted to be a singer. But then at A-level I looked more at art and design and found myself in fashion and photography.
“I still design now, and I think I will do that professionally at some point. I think I would still be there if I hadn’t done Maria?”
She adds: “Initially for me it was just about singing. I remember sitting watching American Idol on telly and I thought ‘I really want to do this’.”
Luck was on her side. Siobhon auditioned for Maria? but found herself fall just outside the final 10 places. However, finalist Emilie Alford dropped out, allowing her to take her place and prove her worth to reach the final three.
“One thing led to another and then I found myself in the final and wondering how I was going to do this,” she says.
“At the time I don’t think I was really prepared for the role of Maria. Connie Fisher’s a very hard act to follow – she is Maria except, of course, for Julie Andrews. I think if they asked me to replace her they would be nuts, but who knows, it could happen.”
Siobhon’s musical theatre career has already seen her star in the West End production of Grease as Patti, while she also hopes to release a solo album next year.
Her visit to the Regent, from November 17, will see her star along The One And Only hitman Chesney Hawkes, and she confesses she has a bit of a soft spot for him.
“He’s such a sweet guy and he’s really humble. I was really surprised.
“Everywhere he goes people ask him to sing that song, but he’s great with fans. People shout at him ‘are you the one and only’ and you think, ‘wow, I bet he’s never heard that before!’
“The show itself is a made-up story, not really about Barry Manilow at all, and the main character of Tony has nothing to do with Barry Manilow either. It’s a story built around a catalogue of his songs.”
And she says a visit to Staffordshire means a good excuse to catch up with all her friends and family again.
“My mum’s organised for a lot of people to come and watch me. I hope to get some time with them because I miss them so much.”
Can’t Smile Without You runs at the Regent Theatre from Monday, November 17, until Saturday, November 22. Shows start at 8pm with 2.30pm matinee performances on Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets are £10-£28, phone 0870 060 6649 or visit www.theambassadors.com/regent to book.