Tuesday, February 16, 2016

First Stage Theater Academy alum Brett Ryback returns to First Stage!

Brett Ryback
Actor, composer, and writer BRETT RYBACK got his start at five years old playing Fudge in First Stage’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (1990). He has since originated the role of Marcus in the Off-Broadway production of Murder for Two, and made appearances on TV shows like Mom, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, and House, as well as the Coen Brother’s film, Hail, Caesar! Brett returns to First Stage as the Composer and Musical Director of the world premiere musical Just a Little Critter Musical by John Maclay. We recently had the chance to catch up with Brett.

What would you like audiences to know about Little Critter Musical?
It's a very colorful and playful show with live music and lots and lots of toys! It's a great show for young kids and their whole family!

What is some of your favorite music? What music influences and inspires you?
I like all kinds of music, and depending on the project I'm writing I am influenced and inspired by different things. For Little Critter I often turned to the work of Flaherty and Ahrens - musical theatre writers who wrote shows like Seussical and School House Rock.

What is your favorite memory about being an Academy Student at First Stage?
The teachers during the first few years of the Academy were big inspirations to me as a young actor, and I'll never forget the lessons they taught me. Ron Anderson, Jim Buchard, Tyne Turner, Ray Jivoff, Deanne Phillips, and Raeleen McMillion. The fact that these professionals gave the gift of their time and experience to us young people was generous and invaluable. I think of them often and fondly.

What is the most important skill you have learned as a professional actor/composer?
The most important skill I've learned is how to go with the flow. There's a lot in this career you can't control and you have to be willing to be flexible and change course, while keeping one eye on the big picture. Kinda like life.

What advice would you give a young person just starting out as a performer?
Discover, nurture, and then pursue your passion. This profession requires a lot of passion, but so does everything. So no matter what you're passionate about, let that be your guiding force.  

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