Sunday, November 8, 2015

5 Questions with Ryan Bauer-Walsh

Ryan Bauer-Walsh (BFA ‘o6), studied Music Theatre at Hartt from 2002 to 2006.  He is currently living in New York City. 

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?

After Graduating in 2006 from the Theatre Division at Hartt I moved straight to NYC. I had worked with Goodspeed’s Festival of New Artists through the Music Theatre divisions relationship with their theatre company and it helped them get to know me. After a few auditions in NYC, Goodspeed cast me in Nell Benjamin’s PIRATES! It was a new take on Pirates of Penzance and I got my Equity card.  Getting my card helped me make the transition from school to performing professionally. I went on tour after that with Theatre Works USA for my first national touring experience with Paul Revere. It was a great way to see the country and it really developed my work ethic.

After that I realized the only way to work in NYC was to audition constantly. I did about 260 auditions in one year back when you could go to four a day. I was running between audition studios and getting to know all the casting directors in town and finally I booked my first Production Contract. Lonny Price, who I had met at the American Theatre Wing’s SPRINGBOARD boot camp two years prior, cast me in BROADWAY: 3 GENERATIONS at The Kennedy Center. It was my birthday that day and he called me personally to let me know I was going to be part of the show. It was life changing to work with that team of creatives. After that, I did the First National Tour of BILLY ELLIOT, the International tour of ZORRO, toured Europe with Silver Sea, ENCORES Most Happy Fella, and I’ve worked regionally in theater around the country.

I also have built a career as a Voice Over actor, as an illustration artist, commissioned painter and I recently published my first book; Rusty The Rescue- which proceeds from the sales go to help shelter dogs. 

What are you involved with right now and is there a specific career highlight?

I was recently invited back to reprise my role as Pietro, with the Prospect Theatre Company in their production of Death For Five Voices. We will be doing a developmental residency to workshop the production in Gesualdo, Italy- which is where the story in the musical takes place.  We will be performing in the castle where the protagonist lived. I also just made my debut as Jean Valjean in the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s production of Les Miserables— which to date was one of the most thrilling experiences I have had on stage.

But I think one of the best experiences I have had as a performer in a while was actually just this last month. I was invited by The New York Special Olympics to perform at their opening ceremony on October 16th. Over 1000 athletes gathered with supporters and fans at the Glenn Falls Civic Center for the event. Meeting such an amazing group of people and being able to be a part of that evening was incredible! The event is completely built on the strength of volunteers. We had less than 20 minutes to tech the performance, but in that time we were able to create a flash mob of 60 dancers who took to the floor while I sang a version of Katy Perry’s FIREWORK— for which Hartt Professor Michael Morris created an amazing orchestration for the evening. Thank you again, Mike!!

What is one of your most memorable moments from your time at Hartt?

As a Music Theatre student in the Theatre Division we had a lot of wonderful performance opportunities. Sometimes we worked with the Actor Training students and were cast in their shows. It was always a great opportunity to focus purely on acting and really hone that aspect of your craft. I’ll never forget the day though, that Henry Fonte called me. I was leaving my masterclass with Marishka Wierzbicki walking to my car with a friend. I answered the phone and Henry said in the most Henry way possible “Ryan- we need you to do Measure for Measure. The student playing Claudio is very sick. Pick up your script with Joan, the show is on Friday.” —It was Sunday night. So, with help of the director Michael John McGann, I was excused from most of my classes that week and in 4 and a half days I learned all of Claudio. I didn’t sleep that first night from the adrenaline.  Surprisingly, panic is a great assistant in memorization! Michael John was, and still is, a huge hero to me. It is a rare thing to feel completely supported by someone. His calm, focused guidance is to this day in my mind as a reminder as to how to conduct oneself in a chaotic moment. He got me through it, and I just remember feeling incredibly proud- and relieved- when opening night was over! 

What did you learn during while at Hartt that you did not appreciate or recognize until after time passed and you had some time to reflect?

Conservatory study is a social microcosm that allows you, if you so choose, to focus entirely on your craft. It also teaches you the value of relationships. When I graduated I didn’t want to lose that social construct. New York City is a big place and it is easy to get lost in your day job, the village, on the subway, etc. You need to stay grounded and familiar faces help with that. So I created the Hartt School Theatre Alumni Association. It is a comprehensive database of Actor Training and Music Theatre alumni activities that is published online for prospective students to gain an understanding of what kind of family they will join upon graduation. It also creates an open forum for students, faculty and alumni to communicate and stay in touch. Maintaining my relationships and creating new ones with students who came after me has been an awesome experience in that it makes it feel like my degree isn’t something that disappears after graduation. Nearly 10 years out of school now, part of me wishes that I worked harder at creating that family while I was in school. It is four years of life with the same group of people, and when you are in school it seems like those people will always be around— but now we are everywhere but together. I hope that current students really value their time together, because you never know where life will lead you after graduation. 

What is next for you?

I leave 11/1 to start rehearsals in Italy for Death For Five Voices! Gesualdo is a town of about 5000 people, and I am excited to experience what life is like in the Italian countryside. I am also writing and illustrating my second book – April and the Animals. In my personal life, I work with and help run my neighborhood association in Hamilton Heights, West Harlem, and I look forward to doing some fun community building activities when I come home. I also hope to come back to Hartt soon. I have worked with Alison Franck Casting as an associate casting director on several projects and I think it would be a great opportunity for the current students to conduct a mock audition intensive with us and get to know Alison in the process. I also would love to see the new buildings on campus! It’s been a while since I have been in Hartford!

If people would like to get in touch with you, how can they do so?

I am always happy to chat with prospective students about Hartt, current students in the Theatre Division or Graduates bound for NYC.  They can contact me by sending a message to The Hartt School Theatre Alumni Association: or through my website:

As Pietro in Prospect Theatre Company's production of Death for Five Voices.
 With Cheyenne Jackson and Kathy Voytko backstage at ENCORES! Most Happy Fella.
 Students reading Rusty the Rescue with with shelter puppies at the North Shore Animal League.
 Performing at the New York Special Olympics Opening Ceremony.

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