Tony Sheldon - Questions and Answers Interview with Tony Sheldon who starred as 'Bernadette' in the Broadway musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which played at the Palace Theatre from 28 Feb 2011- 24 Jun 2012.
September 12th, 1955.
Place of birth?
You now live in?
NYC as long as I’m performing in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Otherwise, Sydney, Australia.
Did you go to training school, if so which one?
No, I come from a show business family so I’ve been performing since I was 7 years old.
As an actor, do you have a preference for stage, tv or film?
Your first stage performance was?
As one of Fagin’s Boys in “OLIVER!”.
Career highlight to date?
I’ve played many wonderful roles but playing Bernadette in PRISCILLA has taken me around the world.
What roles would you most like to play?
What are you offering??
What's the best advice you have ever received?
“Sing out, Louise!!”.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
My pants once fell down while I was performing in a one-man play. My hands were full of props so I couldn’t pull them back up until the end of the scene.
What is the most annoying part about your job?
The constant removal of body hair.
Briefly tell us how you become involved with Priscilla?
I was invited to play Bernadette at a ten-day workshop in Australia. Five years later I’m still in the corset.
Briefly tell us about the character you play in Priscilla?
She’s a transsexual who was once a big star on the Sydney drag scene in the ‘60s. Now she’s middle-aged, alone and unemployed so she grudgingly accepts an invitation to travel to Central Australia on a bus with two friends. It changes her life.
You originated the role of Bernadette in the West End production of Priscilla, and played the role in North America: firstly in Toronto and now on Broadway. Do you think your portrayal as changed for a North American Audience?
I hope my performance has deepened over the years.
If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
Maybe a television director like my dad.
Who are your favorite actors/actresses?
Anyone who has the nerve to get up and perform is inspirational.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
The late, great Broadway dancing star Gwen Verdon has always been my idol but I’d probably be struck dumb with awe.
Favorite after-show haunts?
My place, with a bowl of soup in front of the TV.
What was the last Broadway show you saw?
The Book of Mormon. I can’t praise it enough. Genius!
What was the last book you read, and name some of your favorite authors?
Tinkers, a Pulitzer Prize winner by Paul Harding. I read everything by Armistead Maupin and Ethan Mordden.
What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favorite movies?
The last film: Bill Cunningham New York. My faves?: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, The Magnificent Ambersons, Auntie Mame, Dodsworth, Damn Yankees.
Favorite TV programs?
Nurse Jackie, Broadwalk Empire, Haerry's Law, Mad Men.
Favorite holiday destinations?
I’ve only just started exploring Europe for the first time so I’d have to say Rome, Paris, Lisbon and Barcelona.
Do you have any hobbies? No
Do you have any superstitions?
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
My partner of 32 years, sunscreen and dental floss.
What are your future plans?
To savour this once-in-a-lifetime experience a day at a time.