Sheila Bryant is one of the auditioners in A Chorus Line who makes it past the initial cut. Originally portrayed by Kelly Bishop (who won a Supporting Actress Tony for her performance), the character's background is largely drawn from her own life story.
In the original version of the script, she states her birth name as Sara Rosemary Bryant and that she was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado on August 8, 1946, which would make her 29 at the time of the play's premiere. In the revised script the birth year is left out. She is typically portrayed by an actress with long hair so it can be let down, and the costume is usually a shiny, pale leotard with matching heeled shoes.
Sheila talks much about her family during "At The Ballet". Her mother had several dancing scholarships but gave it up upon marrying Sheila's father, who made her believe she wouldn't be able to do any better. She would take Sheila to see every ballet in town and even handed down her old pointe shoes at the age of five. This was the same age Sheila discovered her father was having affairs. At age six Sheila watched The Red Shoes and insisted on taking ballet lessons then to "get out of the house" and finally feel happy with her life.
Despite her father's infidelity, her parents stayed married at least through her adolescence according to a line in "The Montage" about catching them having sex. After Judy and Kristine confess to kissing other girls for "practice" she admits the same as well, and also makes mention of hanging around a rough crowd.
Sheila makes no mention of siblings, spouse, or children. Rough drafts of the script imply she did marry and leave her husband at some point in time, had an affair with Don, and previously dated Zach.
Sheila's number during "I Hope I Get It" is 152. Early on the audience sees she has worked with Zach before and has a bit of an attitude. She stands between Cassie and Bobby in the lineup and it seems she has worked with them before and is friends with them. She views the younger Val as competition and cracks during "Dance: Ten, Looks: Three" implies she's had breast augmentation as well. During the Paul's injury/Alternatives scenes, it's revealed she often takes Valium, gives herself a time limit, and is considering opening a dance studio. She is not chosen as one of the final eight.
The original draft of the script also included a scene where she and Cassie commiserated over Diana's talents.
As portrayed by Vicki Frederick (who also took the role in Los Angeles productions), Sheila's character is one of the few not drastically altered in the 1985 movie adaptation of A Chorus Line. She still gives her birthplace as Colorado Springs and age as 29, though the "Sara Rosemary" part is eliminated. She elaborates on her mother's background before "At The Ballet" that she was raised in an orphanage. Her solo verse remains intact, but lines from "The Montage" are removed with the elimination of that number. Near the end of the movie, she talks about working with Zach before he was a director, being divorced, and having a nine-year-old daughter who wants to dance as well. She is still not chosen as one of the final eight.