Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ryan Raftery is HILARIOUS!

Ryan Raftery is not your ordinary solo performer, he is an actor/singer with something to say. Instead of watching a singer put a song over and then stumble through perfunctory patter in between, with Ryan you get someone who can tell stories well - sometimes it’s a song and sometimes it’s between songs. He got his training from one of the best drama programs on the planet, and uses it to hook his audiences and sustain their attention. And he’s funny as hell. And he’s bringing his show to LA!

Let me be the first to tell you that Ryan is the classic class clown. This is the guy who will do whatever it takes to get a laugh, much to the chagrin of his teachers. He remembers the rabbi at his Hebrew school telling him that “he never wanted to hit someone in his entire life they way he wanted to hit me.” WHAT??!! Ryan, of course, took this as a compliment.

Ryan grew up in Brooklyn and went to college at NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, but came out to LA a few years ago to do a small role on What I Like About You on the WB. Things were going so well for him here that he stayed in LA far longer than he thinks he should have. Ryan always felt that he belonged back in New York. Many of the roles he was cast in seemed very theatrical – remember him as “Dick-the-way-too-serious-dancer” on Malcolm in the Middle? After doing a well-received revue at the Hudson Theatre, Ryan was cast in the workshop of the Catch Me if You Can musical (with Nathan Lane and Christine Ebersole, natch!), directed by Jack O’Brien. After getting a note in rehearsal from the famed director/multi-hyphenate, Ryan excitedly told his friends the story and they asked him who Jack O’Brien was! He knew he needed to move back to New York immediately.

When he got back to New York, he was at one of those quintessential New York parties in an apartment overlooking Central Park where he was asked to sing and he did. (when you’re at a party in an apartment overlooking Central Park and somebody asks you to sing, you sing. PERIOD.) One of the investors in the West Village restaurant Paris Commune was there and asked Ryan if he’s be interested in performing regularly at his restaurant! After doing his first show in the classic cabaret format he quickly realized that he wanted to do more, he wanted to give his audience a SHOW! He threw out the majority of his setlist and started from scratch with songs he could craft stories around. During that time, he kept seeing advertisements for cabarets with titles like : "John Smith & Friends" or "Jane Doe with Special Guest Mary McBoring" and decided to goof on those and call his show “Ryan Raftery & Friends: A SOLO ACT.”

See? I told you he was funny.

After throwing out the setlist, Ryan decided to write his show from the context of an audience member, constantly gauging the flow of the songs and considering their placement, lengths and genre. He cites Bette Midler’s Divine Madness as his biggest inspiration for this show, having been amazed at how she balanced being a comic and a singer. Lucky for us Angelenos, he just added a second show on Friday October 24th! Ryan’s show is playing at Upright Cabaret at Mark’s Restaurant on La Cienega. (For more information, go to www.uprightcabaret.com.) Best of all, Ryan in adding a full band for us! I strongly suggest checking out Ryan’s show, you’ll be able to say “you were there then!”

Oh, before I forget: If you happen to be a New Yorker, he’s extended his stay at Paris Commune through the end of the year!

No comments: