Ray Lee is a rising performer! I was first introduced to Ray Lee in October 2010 when I participated in the "Out of Darkness: Walk To Prevent Suicide." Ray lent his talents to the opening ceremony when he and fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant Bobby Cronin sang Bobby's song "Daybreak," an amzingly wonderful song about hope. From the moment Ray sang, I was hooked and became an instant fan! This past June Ray mesmerized a sold-out crowd at "Broadway Sings For Pride" at NYC's GLBT Center when he brought them to a standing ovation for his medley of "Tomorrow/Defying Gravity."
Ray studied violin at age 6 and because of his fascination with pop music, Ray purchased his first cassette tape, Mariah Carey's "Music Box," and taught himself how to sing! In high school, Ray advanced his talents by participating in the Symphonic Orchestra, Showstoppers, and several musicals including "Into The Woods," "Chess," and "Crazy For You." He participated annually in "Blast From The Past," and was a choreographer of the show his senior year. His talents with the violin also led Ray to perform at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall during his senior year of high school.
Ray graduated college from Northwestern University's Musical Theatre Certificate Program and moved to NYC! He took a job with MTV Networks and their Summer Associate Program wher his first job was with the VMAs in Miami as a Production Assistant, which led to other projects including HIP HOP HONORS, MTVs NEW YEARS EVE, the mtvU WOODIE AWARDS, AMERICA’S BEST DANCE CREW, and the MTV MOVIE AWARDS.
Ray made his New York theatrical debut with the Shakespeare in the Park production of "Two Gentlemen of Verona." His other theatrical credits include Broadway's "Mamma Mia!" (Eddie), "Applause" at City Center's Encore Series, the title role in the New York Fringe Festival production of "Victor Woo: Average Asian American", and various readings and workshops, including "Shrek" and "Honeymoon in Vegas." He has also produced and directed several "Mamma Mia" Easter Bonnet and Gypsy of the Year presentations. He has worked regionally in the United States, as well as for Disney Cruise Lines. In the summer of 2003, Ray was a reality star as he competed with 11 other finalists on the NBC show "Fame." Ray's film work includes "Ghost Town," starring Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear, and the independent feature "The Mikado Project."
Currently, Ray can be found in a variety of mischievous moments 8-times a week in the Tony Award Winning Revival of Roundabout Theatre Company's "Anything Goes" starring two-time Tony Award Winner Sutton Foster at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre (124 West 43rd Street, between 6th Avenue & Broadway). Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I had always grown up loving music and really connecting with it. I was taught to play the violin at an early age (I'm Korean...) but it wasn't until I learned to sing when I really appreciated music. I think it was the love of singing that inspired me to become a performer.
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? I would give anything to work with Julie Andrews. "The Sound of Music" was the first movie musical that I saw and I remember falling in love with it. The music is timeless, the cast is amazing, and it was my first introduction to the world of musicals. Plus she's just so friggin' cool! I mean, who DOESN'T like the amazing Julie Andrews!
3. What attracted you to "Anything Goes" and what is your favorite part of the show? Believe it or not, I actually did not know the story of the show until our first read through! I had heard the songs before because they're everywhere. Cole Porter is a genius and I find his songs to be extremely witty, funny, and addictive. My favorite part of the show has to be the big Anything Goes tap number that closes Act 1. Performing it is an absolute rush and it is so rewarding to see the audience enjoying themselves during it.
4. What have you learned about yourself from being an actor? I have really gotten to know myself by being an actor. Growing up in a typical Korean household, we were taught to follow our parents wishes and I never really accessed my feelings. Being an actor requires you to be in the moment and to conjure up the feelings necessary for a scene. Acting has really forced me to know myself, love myself, and to respect myself.
5. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? My favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period is actually sitting in the audience and watching what I can. We have one TALENTED cast and if I had a spare moment, I would get my butt into a seat and just watch.
6. Favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? I sing and practice all my songs in my bedroom or in the shower. If I have to belt a high note, I usually cover my mouth with my pillow so I don't annoy the neighbors!
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Ben and Jerry's or Haagen Dazs.
8. Boxers or Briefs? DEFINITELY boxer briefs! Gotta love the hybrid.
9. Favorite website? Thanks to Colin Donnell who plays "Billy Crocker" in our show, my current favorite website is gilt.com. Other websites that are always loaded on my browser are facebook, twitter, and angryasianman.com.
10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman! He's just freakin' awesome!
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? To be myself at auditions and to sing songs I love at auditions. Also humility goes a long way in this business, as does kindness.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? The entire X-men team! I have always wanted to have mutant superpowers =)