Today, we shine the spotlight on Alyson Chilton, who is a featured dancer in our upcoming production of Sweet Charity.
This marks Alyson’s 10th show at her local Hillbarn Theatre! She has also performed extensively with Broadway by the Bay, as well as Woodside and Ray of Light Theatres. Favorite productions include Spamalot, Josep and the Technicolor Dreamcoat,Will Rogers Follies, My Fair Lady, and Crazy For You. Alyson has studied jazz and tap dance at Dance Arts Center for many years.
What do you think the audience will be discussing on their way home after seeing Sweet Charity?
Hopefully they will be saying “What an awesome show. I’m going to tell all my friends to come, and I’m going to get a season subscription!”
When did you discover your love for the theatre?
Wanda & Jen Royse used to produce these Musical Reviews in the 90’s where I learned loads of songs and dances from many different shows, and I loved it. I had taken dance classes and sung in choirs for years, but found that I really enjoyed putting the two together into a whole musical story.
How did you get started in theatre?
As a teenager in the UK, one of my dance teachers was the resident choreographer for a local amateur dramatics group. They needed dancers, so she would add us into scenes, we would break out into a dance number, and then leave! We were a little disconnected from the rest of the cast and the show.
What do you love about performing on stage?
I love the whole process, from learning the choreography and the music, especially the harmonies, to seeing the many parts all come together. The Hillbarn is especially fun as we rehearse a lot in the theatre and get to see the sets gradually being built and the whole show start to take shape. Having a live orchestra is amazing. Whenever I have a long break between scenes, I go up and just watch the orchestra play, or watch my favorite scenes. Then there’s the lighting, costumes, make-up and hair, and finally the audience. It feels magical to perform the final product and hear people laugh and applaud.
What is your favorite and most memorable role you ever played? Why?
It’s a tough decision between “Second Woman” and “Napkin”, although I did struggle with my Napkin inner-monologue! But seriously, I always go for ensemble, as I enjoy being in all the big song and dance numbers. One very memorable moment (although not a favorite one) was when I was 6 months pregnant in Singing in the Rain at Broadway by the Bay. During a big tap number, I slipped on some water from the rain scene and fell flat on my big stomach!
If you could pick one actor/actress to perform with on Broadway, who would it be?
Derek Hough. I have been a fan of his on Dancing with the Stars for some time as an awesome dancer and choreographer. I would love to get to partner dance with him. He will be playing the lead in Singing in the Rain on Broadway next year.
Do you have any wacky rituals you do before curtain call?
Yes. I race home from work fighting 101 traffic, take the dog for a walk, make dinner for the family, read the mail, maybe throw in some laundry, take my daughter to dance class, then swim team, son off to soccer, then race to the theatre and get a black mark for being 5 minutes late! Being one of the older dancers now, I always warm-up and keep stretching before every number.
What is one thing you are incredibly proud of?
My family – husband Owain, and my kids, Cory 15 and Dana 12.
What is one fact or fun thing or special/hidden talent that we don’t know about you?
Most people from my theatre life don’t know that I’m also sporty. I enjoy windsurfing and skiing, and used to play tennis competitively for college and country! My hidden talents include singing The Sun Has Got His Hat On backwards, and reciting the longest village name in the world in Welsh: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwy