Young screen and stage actress Sissy Sheridan played Duffy in Annie Warbucks for her Off-Broadway debut in 2017 and this year she joined online series Chicken Girls in the role of Angie. Sissy has hosted DIY With Me for Nickelodeon which saw her demonstrate different crafts and is often uploading content to her own self-titled YouTube channel. We caught up with Sissy recently who told us about appearing in Netflix’s Maniac, playing Angie in Chicken Girls and uploading to YouTube.
How did you first get into acting?
When I was six, my mom signed me up for a summer drama camp. From the time I could walk, I was one of those kids always wearing a costume, singing, dancing – sliding down the stair railings, just being wacky all the time and she thought I might enjoy it. She was right!! It was a three-week camp with singing, dancing and acting lessons over a seven-hour day. I was HOOKED from day one.
I literally could not stop talking about it in the car on the way home, at home, at dinner, before bed, brushing teeth etc. Several years later after many dance, acting, voice lessons and lots of musical performances, G. Gardner Talent Management agreed to represent me and I’ve been working professionally ever since.
What do you find the most exciting part of your career?
I think it’s so much fun getting to play new, unique characters! I love doing research on any character I play and getting to really develop who they are as we film. I also love meeting the crew and cast during each job I do. I’ve made some lifelong friends from different projects I’ve worked on.
Can you tell us about Nickelodeon web series DIY with Me?
I am the host of “DIY WITH ME” which is an eight-part series for Nickelodeon. I make different crafts each week. Some weeks were a tie-in with a “Nick” show and other weeks are just useful, fun crafts. For my audition, I was given six everyday items and had to make a craft with them while being filmed. The casting agent, a representative from Nickelodeon, and the owner of the production company were in the room. The materials were: a water bottle, two paint brushes, paint, washi tape, and scissors. I love being live like that so I had a blast making a bracelet.
How long does it take to film each episode?
It really can depend on everything from – the camera battery not dying (HAHA), to wardrobe, to lighting, to script changes to the craft being cooperative! I filmed eight episodes over two months. On average, each episode took two days of ten/eleven-hour days to film. There were a few lines of script and the rest was me improvising – which I really enjoyed.
What was it like filming for Netflix’s Maniac?
I play Asia on Netflix’s “Maniac.” I am one of Jonah Hill’s kids. I started as a featured extra in episode one but the director, Cary Fukunaga, wrote some lines for me for another episode and I was asked back – I cannot begin to tell you how exciting that call was. In my scene, I got to hang out in a hammock for like, five hours! That scene was fun to film because we were in this tiny room being directed to be loud, crazy kids – to basically drive Jonah nuts. There were several other kids on set which I had a great time with. Plus the crafty table – it was stocked all the time with the best treats.
Though Jonah Hill plays a lot of crazy, loud characters in his films, he was quiet and professional on set. Mr. Fukunaga was a great director who has done some amazing work and is actually going to be the new James Bond director.
Can you tell us about your character Angie in Chicken Girls?
Angie is definitely a wild card. She is the queen of the theatre department and when Rhyme auditions for the show, Angie is very upset because of how protective she is of the theatre. She is, of course, extremely dramatic and expressive! This season, Angie will have some crazy moments and I can’t wait to see how the fans respond to her! I loved playing her because we’re so different in real life. That’s the thrill of acting – bringing the character to life.
What’s it like on the set?
All of my scenes were filmed with Annie LeBlanc and Jay Ulloa. For several shooting days it was just the three of us (actors) and we had a lot of fun getting to know each other. Even though we’re from different parts of the country – we’re all teens and LOVE a good VINE. HAHA. Shooting days were typically ten hours with breaks and lunch and dinner. There is a lot of energy on set – everyone working for a common purpose. It’s so invigorating to me. I guess that’s why I don’t really get tired while I’m there. Our director, Nayip Ramos, is incredible. He’s personable, witty, and very supportive. Performing is my passion and the set is the play field for actors. It’s a blessing to have the chance to do what makes you tick.
What was your favourite episode to work on?
My favourite episodes to film were definitely episode eleven and twelve. These two episodes really show Angie’s sassy side and they include the final rehearsals and show of Rodeo and Juliet. I’ve grown up doing musical theatre, so when I found out my character was involved in musical theatre I was ecstatic! I think the fans are definitely going to love these episodes because a lot of tea is spilt in them!
How much did you know about the show before being cast in season three?
I was actually in the Grand Cayman Islands when I found out I was cast as Angie! I freaked out for like, ten minutes and then had to get myself together and immediately start packing to leave straight for LA to start filming!! I had seen Brat’s Instagram and knew who the kids in the shows were but had never seen Chicken Girls until I found out I got cast and then I binge-watched the whole thing! I loved it! It’s full of cliffhangers and drama, the perfect recipe for tweens and teens.
Would you like to return to film more episodes?
I would love to be back for more Chicken Girls episodes! I’d love the opportunity to be on any of the Brat shows. They are all so unique and filled with drama! I have so much fun working with Brat. All of the people I have met have been beyond kind and extremely welcoming! Hopefully this season isn’t the last we see of Angie!
What’s it like shooting for short films and can you tell us about the ones you’ve filmed?
I’ve been fortunate enough to shoot four short films so far. They are like a short story as compared to a novel (a full film). They have taken me to Westchester, NY, Washington, DC, New York City, and Kentucky. The casts are typically smaller which gives you the opportunity to get to know your fellow actors well. All four of the films I was involved in had different topics from playing a flashback, a homeless middle schooler, a spoiled rich brat who has a dog but doesn’t want to bother with taking care of him, to a girl with Aspergers and the challenges she faces. Shorts also give you the chance to learn up close what the crew does – and let me tell you I learned it takes a lot to make a film! Everyone’s job is critical to success. The crews on these films are amazing. The budgets are smaller than TV series and film – but the quality of the crew is the same, excellent.
How long were you on the set of For Hope, can you tell us about your character and do you know when it will be released?
We filmed “For Hope” in four days but it can take many months to finish the actual film. There’s editing, colour, sound, lighting, music, just a lot of things to complete. “For Hope” will have its New York City premiere in mid-December 2018. After that, it’s being submitted to film festivals around the world. I play Hope who is on the autism spectrum. She’s a complex young girl who adores and completely depends upon her brother. It’s set in rural Kentucky and there are no parents around for any help or structure. My brother, played by Jay Thomas, is doing his best to raise me and keep me safe but he gets into a situation that could destroy us both. It is a magnificent, important film and I was honoured to get to play Hope.
You shot People Magazine Investigates in summer this year in the role of Ashley Pond; is there anything you can tell us about it and where can people watch it?
I shot this episode in July/August 2018. I play twelve-year-old Ashley Pond from Oregon City, Oregon who disappears after she leaves home for the school bus in January 2002. Two months later, her best friend disappears on the way to the same bus stop. They were two innocent girls who were on a dance team together and lived in the same apartment building. Their story has a very sad ending. When you are involved in a reenactment of an actual person’s life you try really hard to do their memory justice. It premieres on the network Investigation Discovery November 26th, 2018.
You made your Off-Broadway debut in 2017 as Duffy in Annie Warbucks; what did you enjoy most about your first time in a New York theatre production?
Can I say two things? I can say without a doubt – getting to live in NYC for a month while rehearsing and also performing in an off-Broadway Theatre which is amazing. When you live in a city for a month you no longer feel like a tourist. It was very exciting walking the streets of NYC to go to rehearsals.
You auditioned for and booked the role of Duffy in the 40th Anniversary production of Annie last year; how long after the auditions did rehearsals start?
I auditioned in March 2017, found out I got the part of Duffy in May and we began rehearsals in July. This may seem like a quick turnaround – but sometimes you only get a day to get ready for a job so a month felt like a long time!
What can people expect from your YouTube channel and what are your plans for future content?
I was that kid always dressing up in costumes with crazy accessories and filming skits with my mom’s camera. I’ve wanted to have a YouTube channel since I was seven but my mom said I was too young. So, I’ve got a lot of years of ideas stored up. HAHA. Currently I am making videos once a month for BRAT’s website. Some of the videos are based on Brat shows and some are original ideas. I enjoy asking my friends and fans alike what kind of things they would like to see. I have some fun videos coming up – but can’t spill it all now… you’ll have to follow me on YouTube at SISSY SHERIDAN to find out. HAHA.
Do you have any castings booked yet for 2019?
I will still be performing in the musical Billy Elliot at Signature Theatre! The show runs two and a half hours. We had only three weeks to block, choreograph, and learn all the songs and lines in a rehearsal space. Then we get one week, called tech week, to actually run and space the show in the theatre. Tech week days are called ten/twelve days because we work ten of the twelve hours we’re there and then have a mandatory AEA (equity union) two-hour break! (Basically we are physically at the theatre for twelve hours). After the meal break, we have five hours left to run the whole show with the orchestra and then one dress rehearsal before the show opens up to previews. Previews are basically the first week of the show where any kinks can be worked out before the formal opening night. During previews we continue to have five-hour rehearsals during the daytime before the nightly show. After preview week the show has its formal “opening” and runs for about three months! It takes a lot of hard work but it’s definitely worth it.
Follow Sissy on: