Lilly Dennis is a talented and gifted actress who has worked extremely hard to get to where she is –while at the same time doing her part to help raise funds for children suffering from cancer through St Judes and her run on Broadway. We recently caught up with this inspirational actress to find out what she had to say:
What have you been up to since we last spoke?
So many things have changed since last time, a big part of that would probably be my Broadway debut with the play Chocoholic. It was something I was very intimidated by, I have done theater all my life but let’s be honest, Broadway is the mothership of all theater -however the second I stepped on that stage, those fears disappeared, it was like coming home. I am so honored to have had such a long and successful run with the play, and I am very excited that I’m still currently performing the play on a tour of the west coast before I head back to NY with the show.
What have you learned the most?
Well working with so many successful and talented people over the last few years has meant I’ve had a lot of learning moments but I think the best moment was when I ran into Meryl Streep at an event and we were talking about Broadway and she said to me, “If you can tell me that your sole purpose is to get on that stage and use the story you are telling to expose your own truth and help others to see their own, then you have done your job as a story teller.” Hands down one of the best moments of my life. Oh and I also learned that despite how difficult people make this industry sound, it’s rather simple when you realize and accept your own talent and capabilities. No one can stand in your own way but yourself.
What do you like to do in your down time?
For the past few years and for the few still to come I have done projects back to back. I honestly don’t think I have had one day off. If I’m not on stage or on set, then I am rehearsing for when I need to be on stage or set. I realized though with my crazy schedule I had to find some things that would help me mange the craziness -so I love to write either really early in the morning or once I’m done on set at night. I am also very strict on making sure I exercise so I don’t go insane, and calling my mum, that’s also a must-do. It’s for sure the small joys that make up my down time.
What has been one of your biggest highlights so far?
Winning Best Solo Show at United Solo Theater Festival on Broadway was amazing for me. My show that won, Chocoholic, is very special to me and I was using my run on Broadway to create awareness and raise funds for childhood cancer for St. Jude so it was a big highlight. I also worked on a film called Still Here that I shot at Warner Bros in LA, it was a stretch because it was a new realm of film I had never done before -supernatural, but it was a highlight for sure. I would also say that a big highlight for me was probably working with directors such as Ian Ogilvy and Sandy Martin -I am very fortunate to have worked with such amazing and decorated industry experts.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on my play Chocoholic that is currently playing in Los Angeles right now. I have been very adamant in my work in helping to raise money and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Chocoholic. Being on Broadway was great exposure for pushing that goal into a bigger realm. So all the proceeds of Chocoholic are donated straight to St. Jude and their efforts to end childhood cancer. This is a very important cause to me and being able to constantly take the play on tour and continuously perform it -not just for performance reasons, but also to help the families whose children are suffering.
Who would you love to work with the most?
Well, I am a huge fan of the director Ava DuVernay and I would love to be able to work with her one day. I’m also a massive Kathryn Bigelow fan, she is an incredible female director who I would also love to work with. I think for me, I aspire to work with certain directors and writers more than anything as they are the ones ultimately creating what you just bring to life. I am all about just working with creators who truly want to make a difference in the world and develop projects that have meaning.
What are your plans for the future?
I am so excited because I have been cast as the lead in the series I Can’t Help You, where I get to work with some seriously incredible comedians and writers. The film I did called Dr. Phlill is being turned into a series and my one person show is set to go back on Broadway. I am so incredibly excited for all these projects and for everyone to see them.