Acts on a whim, ‘Oklahoma!’ star changed his life

Had singer / actor Sean Grandillo not acted on a whim in high school, he could very well still earn a living on stage. But it might not have been the CIBC Theater scene where he starred as Curly on the national tour of “Oklahoma!”

As a teenager, the native Cleveland, Ohio, played with a My Chemical Romance cover band that he said had something of a fan base. During his high school years, Grandillo made the fateful decision to audition for a special, district-wide theater program.

“It was a big cultural adjustment. I almost felt like I was going to college that year,” Grandillo said. “I was at the mature age where I was ready to listen. I was a sponge.”



Sasha Hutchings and Sean Grandillo play together as Laurey and Curly in director Daniel Fish's recreated "Oklahoma!" runs through Sunday, January 23 at the CIBC Theater.

Sasha Hutchings and Sean Grandillo play together as Laurey and Curly in director Daniel Fish’s recreated “Oklahoma!” runs through Sunday, January 23 at the CIBC Theater.
– Lent by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

The program took over his life: his friends changed, he gave up playing basketball to devote himself to theater, and he went on to major in theater at Ithaca College. In fact, his experience determined his career.

If he could, Grandillo says he would tap his 16-year-old self on the shoulder and “take him for being brave enough to take the big step.”

Several years later, he discovered an audition announcement for Los Angeles’ Deaf West Theater’s production of “Spring Awakening,” and the fortune smiled at him again. He joined the cast, and within a year the show was transferred to Broadway. He moved to Los Angeles after the Broadway race ended, working in television and film.

“As an actor, I felt lucky every time someone would hire me to perform in any medium,” he said.

But his heart belongs to the theater. So when he became aware that the producers were casting a guitar-playing singer / actor like Curly on the national tour in 2019’s Tony Award-winning “Oklahoma!”, He submitted a tape that gave him a personal audition for director Daniel Fish dramatically. deconstructed production of the Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein classic, which premiered 79 years ago.



Curly (Sean Grandillo), right, paints a picture of the passing of Jud Fry (Christopher Bannow) in director Daniel Fish's provocative revival of "Oklahoma!"

Curly (Sean Grandillo), right, paints a picture of the passing of Jud Fry (Christopher Bannow) in director Daniel Fish’s provocative revival of “Oklahoma!”
– Lent by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

“Not a single piece of dialogue or lyric or melody has been changed,” he said of the revival, adding, “It needs no change.”

The show, what it says about America, remains as current as ever, said Grandillo, who assures theatergoers that it will provide plenty of post-show conversation feed.

If people go with questions, he said, “we’ve done our job.”

• • •

“Oklahoma!”

When: 7.30pm Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 2pm and 8pm Saturday; 14.00 and 19.30 Sunday and Wednesday until and including 23 January

Where: CIBC Theater, 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago, (800) 775-2000, broadwayinchicago.com

Tickets: $ 27- $ 98

COVID-19 Precautions: Evidence of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test and masks mandatory

.

Give a Comment