On The Stage: Ryan-Ashleigh Reid | 23 | New York | Children’s Acting Coach/Performer
With the entertainment business expanding on a seemingly daily basis, it’s getting harder to pick out the true talents from an over-processed crowd. With shows like “American Idol” finding musical talents and “America’s Best Dance Crew” covering popular styles of dance, there seems to be a cry for attention coming from the theatre industry and thankfully, someone has come to the rescue. This shining star, who is set on bringing new and fresh life to the set, is here to remind us that with a “can do” attitude, anything is possible. After seeing the passion behind her art, it’s clear that her path to the stage has been paved and it’s only UP from here on!
H: First off, what made you get into acting?
RR: Oh man, well I remember going to “Def Poetry Jam” and being moved by what I saw. I’m not sure how to explain it, but the best way is to say I literally got a high from it. On the car ride home, I remember passing the “ABC” building and it just clicked—I wanted to act. I had always danced as a child and I lived for the moment I could perform on stage.
H: Who are some of the people who have inspired you, both in life and as an actor?
RR: I’m really inspired by people who are spiritual and I don’t necessarily mean in a religious way—just in the way you live your life. Maya Angelou is one of them, Oprah and Will Smith. I know those sound cliche but these people, I feel, have something about them that separated them from the sea of other people. They have a certain mentaility that inspires me to be the best in anything that I do. H: What plays have you been in so far?
RR: I’ve mostly done musicals and 5 of them are: “Rabbit Sense,” “Sleepover,” “The Gift of Winter,” “They Chose Me,” and “Everything About Camp (Almost).” I’ve also done staged readings like “Documentary.” I’m currently working on a show called “Sign Me.”
H: What is “Sign Me” about?
RR: It’s inadvertently about zodiac signs, but more directly about this young woman who is building a dating website similar to what we have today like match.com and eharmony.com. She dates these different guys to give her website a try and they are each representations of different zodiac signs. She meets them at a bar all the time and she has a friend there—Alex (my character). Alex is a friend but later reveals that she wants more than just a friendship. It’s a comedy!
H: What roles do you like to play?
RR: I love to play comedic characters. I like to make people laugh and any witty character with quick retorts is always fun for me. I also like the challenge of playing a character who is the complete opposite of me.
H: What is your dream role?
RR: I feel like such a geek saying this, but I want to be in the remake of “Pollyanna,” it’s called “Polly.” Phylicia Rashad is in it and it was directed by her sister, Debbie Allen. I always wanted to play the character Polly, so badly!
H: Who would you love to work with?
RR: Phylicia Rashad, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Rosario Dawson, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Steven Speilburg and Tyler Perry.
H: What have you learned from your experiences as an actor?
RR: So much goodness. Aside from technical aspects, I’ve learned a lot about myself, what I can do, and why I can do a certain role so well. I still feel that there’s so much more to learn. We are never done learning. If you think you are, then what’s the point in living? We live to learn. I guess what I’ve learned now is that I am a character onstage and the world I create is false, but my job is to make you, the audience, believe it.
H: Where do you hope to be in your career in 10 years?
RR: 10 years? Let’s hope in the next 2 years (laughs). I want to be successful and by that I mean I want to be able to say that I’m getting paid for doing what I love to do. I never want to have to “work” a day in my life. In ten years I want to have established myself as an actor, be married, and I have 3 kids.
H: Do you ever see yourself doing something besides acting, maybe producing or directing?
RR: Yes. I do see myself, in the distant future, as a casting agent for children.
H: Why children?
RR: Adults are scary and phoney. Children have this raw and honest energy about them that often gets lost as we get older.
H: Do you have any advice for future actors?
RR: Be patient and what you are trying to do in life is really opening a door. If the door is locked, you naturally get the key butsometimes the key doesnt fit. If it doesnt, then try another key. Keep trying keys until the door opens. You can do that..or just go find another door (laughs). But you must be persistant and be prepared to be in for the long haul.
H: Lastly, where can we see your new show?
RR: At the Looking Glass Theatre,422 West 57th Street (downstairs) New York, New York. June 23rd-26th, every night at 8pm and on Sunday at 5pm.
For more information, show dates, times and tickets, visit: The Looking Glass Theatre