I interviewed Sean Grandillo, an actor, singer, and musician, known for his role as the Voice of Otto in the 2015 Broadway revival of Spring Awakening, and as Eli Hudson in MTV’s horror series, Scream.
You started off playing your bass and then going into theater, right? Yes.
What made you want to get into theater and start that? Well, I liked performing. I was in bands and stuff and my band broke up and once it did, I wanted an outlet to continue performing for people. So there was a theater school that kids in my high school could audition for, and then if you got in, you would go half the day instead of taking your high school classes.
That is awesome. Yes. Part of my slackery was like “yo, I want to get out of half my classes,” and part of me was well, I will try this. I don’t know what it is, but I did, and was very bad for the first good chunk of time there, but slowly sort of found I might have some natural ability for this that I can cultivate, and that is how theater started for me. That was my junior year of high school.
I was going to say, you started going into theater later. Yes. Seventeen was my first show.
You saw an actual performance then? No. My first show that I saw was Spring Awakening and I think I was 14.
Was Kimiko in it when you saw it? I think so, yes. I don’t have the Playbill to make sure and she missed a little while on the tour because she broke her foot, but I think she was in it, which is so crazy.
That is cool. Yes, and so is Ben Fankhauser was in it also who is from the town near where I am from.
He is from Newsies. Yes, and Andy. And Andy [Mientus] was in it which is the weirdest full circle.
That is really cool. Spring Awakening, tell me about that. What was that like for you and also with the sign language? Yes. So whenever anyone talks about sign, I start to do it but I will sit on my hands because it’s obnoxious.
No, it’s cool. I like watching people sign. Thank you. It was amazing for so many reasons. Really, I think about it now – it was this thing on Backstage which is like the online thing where they post all the auditions, and it was just this random audition that I saw when I was at home in Ohio. It was summer from Ithaca and it didn’t pay anything, but they needed people who played instruments, and I sent a video actually playing piano and singing John Legend, just randomly. I didn’t think I would get in and it was in LA. I didn’t know if I would move. Weirdly, that summer actually I was already rehearsing to play Romeo in Romeo & Juliet at Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, so I was really thinking it was not going to be a thing — and then I got it. I remember I was such a fan of Michael’s –
From the piano? Yes, from that video – well, they saw on my resume that I played bass, and clearly they already had Daniel to play the piano, so they needed a bassist. They were like, send us a video of you playing bass. I did that, and I have these videos on private on my YouTube account that I watch sometimes. I am like, G-d, thank G-d, they looked past the rough edges. It’s really – I think someday I will be brave enough to release them and people will be –
Yes, release them. I think I will. Eventually. I am just a little bashful about it still. Okay. So that’s how I got there. Sorry. Very long-winded answer about Spring Awakening.
No, that’s a good answer. It really started everything for me because I moved to LA for that.
So you took off from school? Yes. Well, originally we get a semester a