Saturday, May 9, 2015

Spotlight On...Ricardo Rust

Name: Ricardo Rust

Hometown: Pretoria, South Africa - currently residing in Manhattan.

Education: New World School of the Arts - Musical Theatre Conservatory (BFA)

Favorite Credits: Forever Plaid (Director-Choreographer); Somewhere With You (Music Supervisor/Choreographer - NYMF premiere); The Whaleship Essex (Movement Director - NY Premiere); Sweeney Todd (Director-Choreographer); Evil Dead: The Musical (Choreographer - West Coast Premiere); RENT: School Edition (Choreographer - National Premiere).

Why theater?: We spend so much of our days focusing on the future.  I find it imperative to engage in playtime, which grounds us in the present.  George Bernard Shaw proclaimed, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."  I'm game for a little playtime and will gladly assume the role of Storyteller.

Tell us about The Butter and Egg Man: Honestly, Heather nails it in our press description, The Butter and Egg man follows our hero, Peter Jones, a likable Mid-Westerner, as he navigates the sometimes exasperating and always exciting world of Broadway. Written in 1925, it is a hilarious satire about a seemingly simple country boy who comes to New York to break in to theatrical producing under the misguided idea that he will double his money. But the young man may be smarter than he seems – will he be able to turn a “flop” in to a “wow”?"  Anything more I might add will give something away.

What inspired you to direct The Butter and Egg Man?: Slightly impossible to answer without launching into a lengthy diatribe, but the short answer is: I fell in love with the wrong character.  I find that when I connect with a character that's not intended to be our focus on a first read, it's usually a sign that the script resonates with me.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: The kind of theater that transports me to a different world; the kind that evokes emotions far more powerful than any defining moment in reality.  The list of inspiration is long - George Balanchine, Bob Fosse, Nell Carter, Gene Kelly, Harpo Marx, Bessie Smith...the kid at the corner Deli who convinced her mother to let her wear her make-shift tutu in 3-degree weather on their quick run to purchase rice-a-roni... Passion, vulnerability and presence inspire me.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Oh, boy...Brian D'Arcy James, Audra McDonald, Dawn French, David Tenant...  If I had to pick just one, I'd say an evening of jazzy duets with Aretha Franklin.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Hands down, I recommend Hand To God.  It's sheer brilliance in every aspect!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Most would argue Jim Parsons should play me, however, as much as I agree, I prefer Edward Norton.  As for the title, "the boy who waited..."  

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I wouldn't.  Imagination feeds the soul and so much of what makes theater gems brilliant are the heartaches and joys the folks of that particular time period lived through.  I believe that's why revivals are important, so that we can cherish what we know and share the nuance in how the piece transcends through time.  Although...the Moulin Rouge would be tempting.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: The original Smurf cartoons in Afrikaans.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: ...a Child Psychologist

What’s up next?: Scotland - even storytellers need a vacation.