Sunday, August 3, 2014

Spotlight On...Ryan Rhue

Name: Ryan Rhue, but my Starbucks name is Forrest

Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee

Education: Wagner College (B.A. in Theatre Performance, Minor in Chemistry), HB Studio, and UCB Theatre

Select Credits: Jesus in Spears: The Gospel According to Britney is my most recent favorite.  Loved playing Larry in Burn This, Dwight in Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Brad in The Rocky Horror Show, and working in the ensemble for the workshops of Ghostlight: A New Musical.

Why theater?: At a master class, the late, great Elaine Stritch dropped this gem: “The highs you get from doing theatre have nothing to do with cocaine.” That about sums it up for me.  There is simply nothing more exhilarating than performing live.  We as actors get to study and investigate our humanness and share it with a live audience.  It’s terrifying and thrilling and vulnerable and ridiculously rewarding, and I love it!

Who do you play in The Hurricane?:
I play Antonio, the show’s villain.  He is the marketing director for Alonso’s company and has many an ulterior motive.

Tell us about The Hurricane: The Hurricane is a musical/operetta version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest set on modern-day fire island.  I wouldn’t say it’s a “gay show” though.  It’s an examination of three ideologies – love, power, and strife – and invites the audience along to see which one will win out under these given circumstances.

What is it like being a part of The Hurricane?
: The cast and creative team are some really wonderful people to work with.  The atmosphere is very collaborative and supportive.  This is also the first time I’ve had a part modified to fit my unique characteristics and voice, so that is really special to me.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:  I find genuine joy in seeing any theatre production – children’s theatre, Broadway, and everything in between. The productions that stick with me, though, are the ones that unashamedly tell the truth.  Having the audacity to “go there” without apologies is the most inspiring thing to witness.  Bedlam’s recent production of Hamlet was particularly memorable. And Nina Arianda in Venus In Fur was just unreal.  She’s really a creature of the stage.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I cant wait for the day that I get to play Sweeney, but I have a couple of decades to get there.  Unfortunately, there are not a lot of great musical theatre roles out there for 20-something basses.  Someday I would really love to play Jud Fry in Oklahoma and Caiaphas in Jesus Christ Superstar.  In the meantime, I would love to play Joe in Angels In America, Kyle in Touch, Konstantin in The Seagull, Romeo, anything that Paul Rudnick has written, and another crack at Larry in Burn This.

What’s your favorite showtune?:
Just one?! This is hard… I feel like “Hello, Dolly” is one of those quintessential Broadway show-stoppers that is also important to the development of the title character.  And it makes you feel good! It’s really a perfect number.  “Do Re Mi” is one of my all time favorites as well.  The Von Trapp kids used to be my imaginary friends, and we sang and danced to that song all over my yard.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:  So many people!  Boyd Gaines and Joe Mantello are two of my theatre idols.  If I woke up tomorrow and we were all collaborating on a production of Red, I would be set for life!  I’ve worked with Michele Pawk as a director, but would love the chance to get to act with her on stage.  I would love for Paula Vogel or Sarah Ruhl to write a role for me. I would love to be directed by Scott Ellis, Jack O’Brien, Marcia Milgrom Dodge, or the full-out Jerry Mitchell.  And if I could share the stage with Angela Lansbury for even one second…that’s it!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in “The Grind For Prince Charming.”  I’ll leave it at that.

What show have you recommended to your friends?:  I saw A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder in early previews and raved about it to everyone.  Everyone should listen to the score from The Bridges of Madison County.  I also recommend Matilda, Sleep No More, and seeing Shakespeare in the Park.  This upcoming King Lear is going to be fantastic!

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?:
“Brave” by Sara Bareilles.  It’s so good!  I play it a lot before auditions to remind myself to have fun, be myself, and say whatever I want to say with the material.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:  I usually don’t watch reality television, but there’s this one dating show on right now called "I Wanna Marry Harry".  This group of single women thinks they’re on a dating show to compete for the love of Prince Harry, but he’s really just an average guy who looks like the Prince.  I think it actually got cancelled recently, but it’s terrible and I love it!

What’s up next?
: I’m working with my agent to see what exactly is on the way, but I do have some great callbacks I’m preparing for right now.  What’s really important to me right now is keeping up with my studio classes and practicing for myself.  I’m also planning a cabaret.  I have several different ideas for concepts and venues, and the process now is narrowing it down to specifics.  Lots of material and lots of possibilities!