Multi-Tasker Ryan M. Dyke Lands In Western Reserve Playhouse’s ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ Before Entering Millennial Theatre Project’s ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

Ryan M. Dyke (Photo credit: Shane Wynn)

If you don’t see much of Ryan M. Dyke the next few months, don’t worry — he’s just going to be spending a lot of time at a mental hospital and a flower shop. From May 11-26, Ryan will be portraying Billy Bibbit in Western Reserve Playhouse’s upcoming production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Then he will be joining Millennial Theatre Project at the Akron Civic Theatre from August 8-10 as The Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — written by Dale Wasserman and based on the book by Ken Kesey — is being helmed by WRP Co-Artistic Director Brian Westerley. The classic play will be presented at the venue, located at 3326 Everett Road in Bath. To reserve tickets, visit the website atwww.westernreserveplayhouse.org.

The production will run during Mental Health Awareness Month. As part of their commitment to community awareness, WRP is partnering with Portage Path Behavioral Health to bring you this show. In doing so, WRP & PPBH will be holding talkbacks after the performances on May 12th, 20th and 25th. These talkbacks will include the ability to talk with the cast and director, as well as different clinicians who specialize in mental illness.

The Cuckoo’s Nest cast also features April Deming, Ryan Rasnick, Joe Turner, Dennis Burby, Andrew Gordon, Marc Dusini, Craig A. Webb, Irv Korman, Abby Morris, Vince Sarowatz, Bradley Haramis, David Wagar, Mikhayla Wilkins and Annette Fernandez.

Ryan M. Dyke (fourth from left) with castmates from 
Western Reserve Payhouse’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

 


LandOfCleve: Describe yourself in 25 words or less.
Ryan: I like to stay busy — like really busy! I do community theatre, perform with my improv troupe, play in a band, and co-host a podcast!
LandOfCleve: Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
Ryan: #justakidfromakron
LandOfCleve: Where do you live now, and where do you work?
Ryan: I live with two roommates, two cats, and one crazy puppy in Norton, and work at The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
LandOfCleve: What are your other Northeast Ohio connections?
Ryan: I’ve lived in this area my whole life. I love this city, and the eccentric people in it. There’s always something to do and something to see, so I try my best to stay busy and meet as many new people as possible.
LandOfCleve: How did your background and education prepare you for a career in the theatre?
Ryan: It really didn’t — I started college, but I didn’t graduate. I got my trade school degree in CNC machining, and worked in factories and machine shops for seven years. I didn’t do theatre in high school, and had no interest until about six years ago. Eventually, I got dragged into theatre by a friend, and fell in love with it. I’ve been performing ever since!
LandOfCleve: Tell us about a few of your favorite past local stage and/or screen experiences.
Ryan: I’ve had the great fortune to be part of many fantastic shows over my short career so far, and I’ve learned something from all of them! One of my favorite roles was Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast. It was my first musical, and I had so much fun with it! I also recently performed as Rod in the sold-out run ofAvenue Q at the Akron Civic Theatre, and again in the revival of it a year later. Following that, I got to do the “Time Warp” in The Rocky Horror Show as everyone’s favorite faithful handyman, Riff-Raff, which was part of the Millennial Theatre Project –the same with Avenue Q. A few other favorite parts I’ve played are Juror #10 in 12 Angry Jurors, Peter in Diary of Anne Frank, and Mr Hilltop in Young Frankenstein.


LandOfCleve: Tell us about your past involvement with Western Reserve Playhouse.

Ryan: I was previously part of the Ensemble in Dogfight, so this is just my second production with WRP. I got to dance, sing and dress in drag — it was a lot of fun! Dogfight was different then anything I had ever done before… I told friends coming to see that it was “heavy.” The production was a fantastic experience, and I’m glad I was able to take part in it!
LandOfCleve: What character do you play in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and what is your approach to your role?
Ryan: I play Billy Bibbit: the lovable, stuttering young man who has had a hard life. Without giving too much away, I’ll say that Billy goes on a journey in this story that has consequences for all involved. My approach to playing this complex character is to keep him as fun as I can for as long as I can!
LandOfCleve: How have the director, cast and crew collaborated to bring this show to life?
Ryan: The cast of this show is filled with amazing actors, both young and younger, who are a joy to watch! Each and every one of them brings life and love to their character, and I’m honored to join them. Brian Westerley, our director, and Jeff Bixby, our stage manager, have done a fantastic job researching this show and helping us find the moments that’ll really connect with the audience.
LandOfCleve: What can audiences expect when they come see the show?
Ryan: A fantastic rollercoaster of emotion — filled with laughter as well as moments of sheer panic, you don’t want to miss this one!
LandOfCleve: What are your dream roles or types of characters you’d like to play in the future?
Ryan: I’ve only recently started doing musicals and it’s been a challenging experience. I would love the chance to play more characters that stretch me as an actor and makes me try new things.

As for future roles, I would love the opportunity to be in the musical Once. In it, the actors play their instruments, dance, and sing, all at the same time, so it’s a multi-tasker’s dream role!

LandOfCleve: What other upcoming projects and productions are you working on?
Ryan: My comedy troupe, Just Go With It Improv, has an upcoming tour in July. We will be performing at various public libraries, bringing our Ankle Biters short-form Improv show and workshop. It’s kid-friendly and a great time for the whole family! For more information on that, check out our Facebook and website: www.justgowithitimprov.com for more details.
I also have another upcoming production with Millennial Theatre Project at the Akron Civic Theatre in August. I will be portraying The Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors. I’m really excited for this show and can’t wait to bring that crazy sadist to life — get your tickets now for August 8th, 9th and 10th!
LandOfCleve: What advice do you have for aspiring actors and actresses?
Ryan: Get out there and make friends, meet new people! They don’t even have to be specifically in the theatre world.

Everyone has experiences and stories, and you can learn so much about what makes everyone unique. I think that has helped me understand some of the characters I’ve been.

I also think it has made me a better actor, because it taught me that what we do matters to people — we’re not not just playing characters when we act, we are playing people (or a puppet, or a candlestick, or a murderous alien)!

One more piece of advice — take an improv class! It’ll help your stage presence and give you more confidence on stage.

LandOfCleve: Anything else you would like to add or promote?
Ryan: Like previously mentioned, come check out Just Go With It Improv! We have plenty of upcoming shows. Also, my band, Copper Pennies, has a couple of gigs this summer that you can find on our Facebook page. And finally, don’t forget to come see Little Shop of Horrors at the Akron Civic Theatre on August 8th, 9th and 10th — tickets are on sale now!

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