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BWW Interview: Jason Dilly Will Make You Laugh About LEADING LADIES at St. Dunstan's Theatre Guild Of Cranbrook!


Come laugh October 15th-30th in Bloomfield Hills!

BWW Interview: Jason Dilly Will Make You Laugh About LEADING LADIES at St. Dunstan's Theatre Guild Of Cranbrook!

In March of 2020, St. Dunstan's Theatre was just one week away from opening night of their Ken Ludwig comedy, Leading Ladies. When rehearsals ceased on March 13th, everyone assumed that the show would be pushed a month, maybe two, but here they finally are a year and half later bringing their production to live audience! Leading Ladies will run October 15th through 30th, 2021 at St. D's and the cast is so happy to finally put this comedy on the stage. BroadwayWorld Detroit had a chance to speak with Franklin native Jason Dilly who plays Leo in the show and is the big brother of Erin Dilly who originated the role of Meg in the 2004 Broadway production directed by Ken Ludwig! I laughed a lot during this interview and this is just preview - think how funny the show will be! Check out my conversation with Jason below:

Can you give our readers a brief background of yourself and then your theatre career as an introduction?

Jason Dilly: Sure! I studied acting & earned a BFA from the University of Michigan in performance until life took a major left-turn & I attended medical school. Despite the demands of my career, I have continued to act & direct in local theatre companies such as St. Dunstan's. It's been the ideal way to stay connected to my artistic roots!

How would you describe Leading Ladies in your own words?

Two over-the-top, down-on-their luck English actors decide to pose as the long-lost nephews of an elderly millionairess in order to inherit her millions, only to find out that a great surprise awaits them. Misunderstandings, cross-dressing, & even true love follow shortly thereafter!

What was your introduction to the show?

My sister Erin (Dilly) actually originated the role of Meg on Broadway, so my connection to this play goes back to its inception! Actually, both of my sisters are professional actors. I'm the black sheep.

What made you want to act in the show?

My friend Deb made me do it. Lol! Deb Dworkin is an outstanding director - not to mention an excellent actress - she's directed me in two shows prior to this one (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and Love, Sex, & the I.R.S.). When I heard she was directing Leading Ladies, I jumped at the chance to audition for her! Likewise, her assistant directors, Eric Franz & Sarah Kwas, are extraordinary people & a blast to work with. Yeah, I ended that sentence with a preposition. Bring it.

How would you describe your character?

Leo is a bombastic, self-assured Shakespearean actor who has taken to the road with his best friend/fellow actor Jack in order to fulfill his life's dream of breaking through to the next level - HOLLYWOOD. However, he has no idea what detours are waiting for him in York, Pennsylvania!

Would you be friends with your character in real life?

I'm a lot more introverted than Leo and in daily life quietly go about my business, so although we might cross paths in theatrical circles, I doubt we'd be close. Plus, my favorite Shakespeare is Macbeth while Leo's is Twelfth Night, so, you know, it would never work out.

Do you have a favorite moment or line in the show?BWW Interview: Jason Dilly Will Make You Laugh About LEADING LADIES at St. Dunstan's Theatre Guild Of Cranbrook!

I have a lot of them and they're all by my fellow actors! Tom P (Pagano) as Reverend Wooley on the phone, Brittany (Lauren) as Audrey spinning around on the stairs to confront a busted Jack, Tom A's (Arwady) various grunts as "Doc," the well-placed "dworkinisms" that only Deb can deliver as a director, several moments from rehearsal where none of us could stop laughing. It's an ensemble farce with a lot of heart!

Why do you think audiences love Ken Ludwig comedies so much?

He speaks directly to our inner child, the part of us that doesn't mind & actually embraces making fun of ourselves & connecting with one another while doing it. It's cardiovascular, Katie (Laban, that's me, BWW Detroit Senior Editor, usually hiding here in the background!): all about the heart!

How difficult was it to work on this pre-pandemic only to have the world shut down a week prior to opening? What was that like?

I'm a physician, so sadly I could see the writing on the wall while the original opening date loomed. That said, I was tickled pink that Deb, Eric, Sarah & St Dunstan's kept their eyes on the goal & re-mounted this show in all its glory. A few roles had to be re-cast & some of us had a bit more trouble fitting into our costumes having been barred from the gym over lockdown (not naming any names. Ahem. Fine - it was me), but overall it sort of feels as if we never missed a beat! I'm excited for audiences to finally be able to see this wicked masterpiece live.

Why is it exciting that live theatre is back?

Live theatre is an immediate, organic give & take between the cast & the audience. Performing to an empty house is like sitting on one side of a playground see-saw; you could, but why would you? It's so much more fun to have someone there to enjoy it with you.

Why should people come see St. D's production of Leading Ladies?

Actually, perhaps you shouldn't. It's dangerously funny - you may not be able to breathe you'll laugh so hard. Careful now -steady! But somehow, I think you can handle it.

How To Get Tickets

Leading Ladies run October 15th-30th at St. Dunstan's Theatre Guild of Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills. For more information and tickets, visit or call 1-844-DUNSTAN (1-844-386-7826).

Face masks are required by a directive from Cranbrook, which own the Playhouse. The cast and crew are fully vaccinated. Complimentary bottled water will be available, but no other concessions. If you are sick or feel unwell, please do not attend the performance. We will be offering refunds to patrons who cannot attend due to illness.

Connect with St. Dunstan's Theatre Guild of Cranbrook on Instagram at @stdunstanstheatre, on Twitter @StDunstansGuild, and on Facebook at

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From This Author Katie Laban