Scheana Shay and Chester Lockhart are perhaps best known for their work in ensembles. Model and actress Shay has starred on all six seasons of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills spinoff Vanderpump Rules (currently airing Mondays at 9 p.m.), which follows the lives of the sexy waitstaff at Los Angeles hot spot SUR. Dancer/actor/singer Lockhart was described by close friend and collaborator, YouTube megastar Todrick Hall, as “the Robin to [my] Batman.”
Now that Shay and Lockhart have committed to five months of headlining the Off-Broadway comedy Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man at Paris Las Vegas, the vivacious twosome are finally taking center stage as the timid Robyn Brown and bold author Dan Anderson, respectively. (Kendra Wilkinson and Jai Rodriguez debuted the roles locally in 2017.) Vegas Seven recently sat down with the new stars to talk about the challenges of live theater, why they’re keeping their New Year’s resolutions and the unexpected advice they received from Jai and Kendra.
Describe your first acting jobs. Sheana, I know you were on Disney Channel’s Jonas …
Shay: That was one of my bigger guest-starring roles. Nick Jonas did an interview recently and said the least favorite song he’s ever written was the one about me [for that show], “Pizza Girl.” He said it had nothing to do with my character, the song was just so unoriginal. [The lyrics were] “I fell in love with the pizza girl / Now I eat pizza every day.”
Lockhart: I think it’s groundbreaking, honestly. I’m here for that song.
Shay: I started out doing a lot of hosting and commercials, and then I started booking more guest-starring roles. I did 90210, Jonas, Victorious on Nickelodeon. It’s always been a quite similar role for me, acting like myself but with whatever character name they give me. This [show] is a total 180 from that because now I’m playing a very conservative, almost frazzled, senior teaching fellow. It’s a different role [for me] and I’m excited to become Robyn Brown every night … except Wednesdays!
Lockhart: That’s so funny you did Victorious. I was a dancer on Victorious.
Shay: Oh, my God, yeah. I saw that on your IMDB and I meant to ask you about it.
Lockhart: That is so weird. Small world … I come from a musical-theater background. Theater is my original love. I was such a Broadway nerd growing up. My first jobs were in theater and then I did professional dance on Nickelodeon, Kids’ Choice Awards, and then I was a character on MTV reality shows. Most of my time [between then and now] has been spent creating stuff online with my friend Todrick [Hall]. I make a lot of viral content. I’ve done creative directing. I did an [advertisement] for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now I’m most focused on my music career and doing this show—which is awesome.
Did you ever imagine yourselves headlining a show in Las Vegas?
Shay: No, but after I saw Kendra and Jai in the show in October, I thought, “Wow! How fun to be on stage every night and make people laugh.” Being the center of attention isn’t something I hate. [Laughs.] I did theater all through high school and college, but once I started acting professionally, it was all on-camera work.
Lockhart: If you had asked me, like, five months ago, I’d be like, “Oh, my God, no!” But now doing it, it’s such a perfect thing for both of us. We get to have so much fun and be different versions of ourselves on stage. I’m a really vibrant person and she’s a really big personality, so it’s fun for us to be in a room and make people laugh and feel that energy from the audience.
It sounds like you both are having fun. What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
Shay: It’s a lot of dialogue. He has probably twice as much as I do.
Lockhart: There’s a lot of dialogue in a short amount of time. There’s a lot of [improvisation], too, which has been crazy. It’s been difficult to rehearse that because to improv with the audience, you need an audience.
How do you prepare yourselves for that?
Shay: You don’t. [Laughs.]
Lockhart: Baby, you gotta stay ready so you don’t have to get ready, OK? Hallelujah! Say it again. You just gotta expect the unexpected. It’s Vegas. There are so many types of people. So many kinds of situations. Bachelor parties. Divorce parties. You just have to be ready to roll with the punches. We’re both really quick, snappy people. It’s just like a train that you can’t stop once the show starts.
Did Jai and Kendra give you advice?
Shay: I’m very much a perfectionist, and she said that sometimes being imperfect with this character makes it even funnier. She said, “If you mess up, if you flub a line, if you stutter, sometimes those are the moments that get the biggest laughs.” She said to just have fun with it and don’t worry about being perfect. That’s something I’m definitely going to take with me into the show every night.
Lockhart: Jai said kind of the same thing to me: “Don’t worry about hitting every mark, just worry about having fun because the audience is going to feel that you guys are having a good time and they’ll have a good time in response.”
What are your New Year’s resolutions?
Shay: This may sound selfish, but [my resolution] is to put myself first. That’s something that I haven’t done in a really long time. I was in a relationship that turned into a marriage that led into a divorce, and then [I got into] another relationship and now we’re broken up. Going into this year single with a new job and a fresh set of eyes, it’s important for me to just focus on myself and my career.
Lockhart: New beginnings, new year, baby! [My resolution is] to not take everything so seriously and enjoy every moment. Sometimes we get so caught up with all the things we’re doing that we don’t just sit and enjoy, like, “Oh my God, we’re in Vegas and our job is to laugh for the next few months.”
Thursday–Tuesday in the Anthony Cools Showroom at Paris Las Vegas, $39 and up, caesars.com.