MSO: Mash-Up

MSO Mash-up Singing Finalist -Ryan Shreve

Ryan Shreve

Last but certainly not least in our MSO Mash-up singing competition is Ryan Shreve. Here is a little bit about him in his own words.

I’m originally from Ashland, Ohio. I grew up there for the first 20 years of my life and then shortly after attending Baldwin-Wallace College for a year, I heard the Renaissance was auditioning for Avenue Q. I had a special connection to Avenue Q because it was the first musical theatre show introduced to me by my high school drama teacher Rich Wazowski. Having done a number of musicals at Ashland High School, I decided to audition at the Renaissance. I thought it was a long shot, the theater was so grand and beautiful, and I certainly did not feel like I could possibly be cast.

Funny story – I was actually super late for my audition. I happened to be at the Ren the day of my audition because it was tech week for The Nutcracker, being put on by Ashland Regional Ballet. I was warming up before we rehearsed the show and one of my instructors asked me how my audition went. I paused in fear and disbelief because I was certain that my audition was the following day!

I ran down to the new basement in my ballet shoes and tights (no time to change, this was an emergency) where Michael Thomas was holding auditions. I apologized for being late and he could tell I was panicking. He calmly told me not to worry

and asked if I knew any songs from the show. I sang “Purpose” and a few weeks later I got an email asking if I would accept the lead role of Princeton! I was incredibly shocked and extremely grateful. I performed in Avenue Q in 2014 and I’ve done almost every Broadway series show since.

Here’s a little look at some of my roles:

(Photos courtesy of Jeff Sprang Photography)

I’m such a nerd. I listen obsessively to musical theatre soundtracks, classical music, and film scores. Among my favorite composers: John Williams, Michael Giacchino, Alan Menken, Sondheim, Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky, Hayao Miyazaki, John Powell, Harry Gregson-Williams, Hans Zimmer, James Newton Noward, Alexandre Desplat, and Alan Silvestri…I’ll stop now. There are lots more, haha!

I entered the MSO Singing Competition for one reason. I wanted to sing with the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra. Orchestra music is so incredibly powerful to me. When I was a kid, I used to think conductors were like wizards, making music from just a sheet of paper. I know that’s nerdy, and I won’t deny it. I’m a huge, big, ridiculous nerd. And I’m happy with that.

There are a couple of different great moments I’ve felt from certain music…here are a few examples…

Woof. Okay I know that’s a lot of instrumental music and it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I promise I listen to music with words. It just happens to be a lot of musical theatre music. Some of my favorite shows? Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Last 5 Years, Dear Evan Hansen, Mean Girls, Sunday in the Park with George, Newsies, Sweeney Todd, Daddy Long Legs, Frozen, A Light in the Piazza, Hamilton, Pippin, The Witches of Eastwick, Hairspray, Curtains, and more…I could keep going but you get the gist. 

BEST AND WORST MOMENTS ON STAGE?

My best moment on stage…that’s tough. Every show is different, but if I had to narrow it down to my best it would probably be my first time flying in Peter Pan on opening night. You could hear the awe of the audience and I could see it on their faces. Creating magic like that for people is what makes me the happiest. I could never give that up. 

Other notable mentions are probably any time I’ve been able to belt for a show, anytime I’ve been able to dance and tap on stage or any time I get to look a fellow castmate in the eye when something unexpected and funny happens on stage. 

Worst moment on stage? Ha! There are a few. I’m pretty certain I have a mild form of dyslexia. It’s undiagnosed but something is going on for sure because I’ve sung the wrong lyrics to multiple songs. Most notably the beginning of “Don’t Stop Believing.” EVERYONE knows that song and so do I! It definitely doesn’t start off with “Workin’ hard to get my fill…” Lyric mess-ups have definitely been the death of my confidence while on stage. But it’s important to keep going, and so I do!

If I were able to go back in time and tell myself something it would be a few simple points:

  • Start going to dance NOW (not when you’re a junior in high school)
  • Audition for everything
  • Say no to some stuff

And most importantly: Don’t refrain from doing something because of fear. You are more than likely capable of accomplishing whatever that something is, and learning more about yourself in the process. 

My goals are always ever-changing. I used to gauge success by whether or not I made a lot of money. Then I gauged it by whether or not I was on broadway. Success is relative and I don’t need extreme wealth or a broadway contract to be happy. It’d certainly be amazing and I’d be eternally grateful, but I know that whatever path I take, it’ll be the right one – because I chose it and it led me to where I am today. Of course, I’d love to do musical theatre across seas or on the sea on a cruise line! That’d be cool. 

WHAT SONG ARE YOU SINGING AT THE COMPETITION?

It’s difficult to explain why I chose my song. In January, I lost a good friend and daily inspiration. His name is Andrew Prezioso and he inspired me to continue performing and doing musical theatre after high school. When I was a senior performing Willy Wonka, his mother Pam came up to me after a show to tell me I inspired Andrew to do musical theatre. If I was able to do that for one person, I wasn’t about to stop. 

A few years later, Andrew was starring in musicals himself, soon becoming the Phantom of the Opera at Ashland High School. It was truly a magnificent thing to experience. Not only was the show so incredibly good, but Andrew was absolutely shining. I could tell the role and the show were giving him joy and inspiring people. I felt like I was a small part of that and it brought me immense happiness. 

Phantom of the Opera was the last show I saw Andrew perform. So when I was given a few options to sing at this concert – Bring Him Home, The Music of the Night, The Impossible Dream, and You Raise Me Up – the choice was obvious. I’ll be singing “The Music of the Night” in memory of Andrew Prezioso. I miss you buddy, this one’s for you. Hope I do you proud.

To see Ryan and all of the other amazing singers, be sure to get your tickets to Mash-up on October 17!