Ryan Bauer-Walsh is another rising actor to keep your eyes on! Ryan recently starred in the International Tour of "Zorro" the musical and the 10-time TONY award winning Broadway hit, "Billy Elliot." His other theatrical credits include "Miss Saigon," "Bye Bye Birdie," "Side Show," "Pirates of Penzance," "Girl Crazy," "Measure for Measure," and "7 Brides for 7 Brothers."
As a proud member of the Actor's Union and Actor's Equity, Ryan has performed in such venues as The Kennedy Center, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Shanghai Oriental Arts Center,Joe's Pub,and the internationally celebrated BIRDLAND jazz club. Ryan has sung the Star Spangled Banner at the White Sox home field, and at the internationally televised Chicago Marathon in front of an audience of 50,000. He can be heard on numerous recordings including "Tess the Musical," "Believe," and "Brother Russia."
In addition to performing Ryan is also an author, artist, and community activist. His illustration work and paintings have been used as set projections at The New York City Opera, the Coterie Opera and are also in private collections.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Well, When I was a kid, I would go to the park and sit on the swings and sing to myself for hours. It was my favorite thing to do. Then, when I was in 5th grade, my mom took me to see the touring production of the Harold Prince revival of SHOW BOAT. It was this revelation to me that people actually sang for a job, and I immediately started pursuing it in a whole new way. I still have the Playbill from that show.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? There are so many amazing people I would love to work with in this business. I tend to gravitate towards actors and writers who really get into the story telling of a song. I think it would be amazing to work with Bill Finn. He writes such beautiful music in such an honest way. As far as performers, I have always wanted to work with Carolee Carmello. Just listen to her sing "Someone Else's Story" from "Chess." She is indestructible and at the same time incredibly vulnerable. I would like to work with someone like that. Not to mention, I think her voice is absolutely amazing.
3. What made you want to audition for the Silver Sea Cruises? There were a few things. After I finished doing BILLY ELLIOT in Chicago I found myself really wanting an adventure, and I had this incredible urge to travel and see the world. I wanted to do something that would allow me the chance to travel before I was really settled down. Most of my friends know that I am a big fan of the Law of Attraction - so I turned myself into a divining rod for adventure. Two weeks later I was on a plane to Israel to start rehearsals for the International production of ZORRO that was set to tour 25 cities in China. Unfortunately, the show ended up closing due some unfortunate problems within the first month of opening. So, with my yearlong adventure stunted, I turned myself back to searching for an adventure. A friend had told me about the amazing time his friend was having working with CHOOZI Entertainment, a production company that has a completely new take on cruise ship entertainment. It is very personal, and really creates a unique experience for each ship. The Silver Cloud ship travels all over Europe in the summer, and then from September to November, I will be circling South America and then heading back to Europe through the Panama Canal. It is the perfect combination of working and traveling the globe. I feel incredibly blessed, and extremely thankful that I have this opportunity.
4. What excites you most about setting sail on the Silver Cloud Ship? Honestly, everything! I will start the cruise in Copenhagen, and continue to destinations I have never been to, or even heard of. Because the Silver Cloud is a smaller luxury liner, it can pull right into smaller ports, giving the passengers a much more intimate connection with each city the ship visits. I am also able to go on excursions with passengers, so this really is going to be an adventure -- and while China would have been really amazing, I am going to circle an entire continent and see a lot of Europe. All the while, I get to sing some amazing music, and dig back into Opera for a while.
5. While on the cruise, you were given the opportunity to create your own cabaret show. How did this come about? Part of this new adventure is creating my own show. On longer excursions there is a need for more shows on the ship. So the entertainers are given the opportunity to create their own Cabaret. It is an amazing opportunity, but a completely new venture for me.
6. How did you decide that the theme would be dedicated to Broadway? How did you decide which songs to include? Since the entertainers have been given so much freedom with their shows, they have the responsibility of creating an evening that showcases what they do best. This is where I decided to put out a general S.O.S to friends in the business, and they helped me with deciding just what that might be. It became clear within a day or two that since I was a New York musical theatre actor it only made sense to create a Broadway standards show. The cabaret chronologically goes from the 1920's to today, showcasing music from each decade along the way. My music director, Mark Hartman, has been an amazing guide in helping me decide what would really work for this kind of venue, and I think we have built something that is really going to be unique, exciting, and a great representation of some of the best loved songs of Broadway.
7. What is your favorite part about putting together a cabaret show? Where is your favorite place to practice on your own? This might sound funny, but honestly; picking out the right keys for the songs. Since some of the songs in my show are originally sung by women ("Easy to be Hard," "Cabaret," etc..) I had to figure out with Mark just where the song would sit best without being abrasively high, or unattractively low. This would often lead to some ridiculous belting that I would only wish on the worst Karaoke Bar. But it was great to find where the money notes could really fly, and personalize the song.
My favorite place to rehearse is always anyone's living room piano. It's always the right temperature, usually there is a cat around for a nice distraction, and it often comes with a nice glass of wine.
8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That's a tough question to answer for a lot of reasons. As actors we are forced to expand and diversify what we do to learn about who we can be and what we can portray, and the industry will tell us what we can't. It is this strange lesson in expansions and contractions. Coloring within the lines of an archetype is a difficult thing to do sometimes because you work so hard to create characters and tell the story right - but sometimes you are just not the right channel for that character's experiences. But if performing has taught me anything, it has taught me this; Always be grateful, even when things aren't going well. Always be vulnerable, even when your skin has to be 10 feet thick- And always be persistent and keep trying, no matter how much easier it would be to sit on the sofa with a carton of ice cream.
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? My voice teacher at The Hartt School, Marishka Wierzbicki, told me "Ryan, just be still, it's okay to be still sometimes". I had a terrible habit of trying too hard in the wrong ways, and was wondering why I wasn't able to really be conveying ideas the way I wanted. She had me stand on a 1 square foot tile for an entire semester of voice lessons, and I wasn't allowed to go outside of that tile till each lesson was over. I learned more in that semester about performing, and life than in the 6 years of performing I had done prior to it.
10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I think it would have to be my Grandmother, Grace Bauer. I have so much to ask her, and so much to tell her. I was only 10 when she passed away, and I never knew her as an adult, and I think about her a lot. I wonder if she is proud of me. I wonder what stories she had to tell me that I will never get to hear. A grandmother's perspective on things is always invaluable.
11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Painting! I love to get out my easel and spend hours painting in front of my big sunny windows in Hamilton Heights. I turn on some Eva Cassidy and, and just get to play and spend a few hours imagining new worlds and landscapes in color and light.
12. Favorite way to stay in shape? I recently became "One of THOSE people" -- I am in my 3rd month of being Gluten free. Honestly, it has changed my life in such a wonderful way. I have more energy, and my body is naturally more in shape than it ever has been. Beyond that - Dance classes! You have all these exercise programs targeting 'muscle confusion' on the market...Just take Tap, Jazz and Ballet a few times a week and your body will be in amazing shape.
13. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs. Always. Have you seen my jeans? Boxers wouldn't stand a chance. Ha!
14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Telepathy; the power to communicate thoughts and read minds. Isn't real empathy every actor's goal?