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Connecticut Theatre Company

Spotlight On: Sheila Duckworth



Connecticut Theatre Company’s “Spotlight On…” series continues with a look into our talented cast and crew of Nine. Get to know Sheila Duckworth who is portraying Stephanie Necrophorus!



Introduce Yourself to Our Audience:

Hi, my name is Sheila Duckworth and I play the role of Stephanie Necrophorus in Connecticut Theatre Company’s production of Nine.


Why did you want to be involved in this production?

I find the concept of Nine interesting. The lead character is a man who is struggling with midlife crisis surrounded by approximately 20 women, all of whom have different relationships with him. As the story unfolds, the audience witnesses both his perception of these individual relationships, as well as, the reality of these relationships. The story is conveyed through internal dialogue, fantasies, and scenes based in reality. It’s compelling to delve into his internal and external struggles of his own making. The journey is filled with so many emotions from humor and playfulness to anxiety, vulnerability, sadness and hope. All of this is also enhanced by beautiful intricate music.


How do you prepare for a new role or character, and what techniques do you use?

When preparing for a role, I usually read the script first. As I write out my lines on note cards I look for clues and details about my character. These little pieces of information help me build the untold backstory of the character. As the rehearsal process continues, I choose a voice for the character, whether is higher, lower, fast or slow, has an accent or not. Then I find that costumes, wigs, and make up can also really add to bring it all together.


What do you love about your character?

I love that my character is the only one in the show that is not influenced by Contini’s charm. The other women in Contini’s life all love him in one way or another whether it’s maternally, romantically, passionately or ideally. Stephanie in both his reality and in his mind calls him out as he tries to con himself and others. She grounds his arrogance and is eager to point out his insecurities and failings.


What challenges did you face bringing the script to life?

The music in this show is both beautiful and extremely intricate. Learning it has been challenging but very rewarding. At one point my character sings a “patter song” which I have never done before so that was a fun challenge.


Who do you look up to (as an actor/director/etc.)?

There are so many great actors that it is hard to choose. I recently had a conversation with a cast mate and Stanley Tucci came up. I admire his ability to find and connect with the truth of his characters. He is a chameleon. I have seen him embody so many characters so fully that I don’t recognize him. He tells his stories so truthfully that for those few hours where I am watching his films I see only the character, no trace of him or his previous characters.


What’s the last thing you do before you step out on stage / the curtain goes up?

It depends on the type of show it is. If it is a dramatic play, I glance at my note cards, take a very deep breath and try to center myself somewhere quiet. With musicals, I set my water and any items I may need in the same place, breathe and then can be found dancing with various members of the cast backstage during the overture, bonding with them, raising our energy before we start the journey. This show I will have to adjust as we will be visible on stage singing the overture.


What is your favorite film or theater production and why?

Over the years I have had countless movie and theatrical favorites. I am not sure I have one in particular at the moment, but I had the opportunity to see both Hadestown and Moulin Rouge on Broadway with their original casts and enjoyed them for very different reasons. I loved the color, costumes, energy and spectacle of Moulin Rouge and by contrast I loved the depth, sorrow, and how a small cast could fill a room with their voices in Hadestown. In both the audience knows the lore. They know how it ends before it begins but with each they get lost in the story and start hoping for a different outcome knowing it is not meant to be. I think the ability transport and immerse people into a story in such an engaging way is a powerful thing and I appreciate when it happens.


Nine opens May 17th and runs through June 2nd at Connecticut Theatre Company. Tickets on sale now!


“A galloping fantasy [with a] ravishingly inventive and tuneful score.” – The New York Times