Chat with Broadway veteran RYAN MCCARTAN

Ryan McCartan is known for playing Jason “JD Dean” in the original off-broadway production of Heathers. Brad Majors in the 2016 Fox musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Ryan also played Diggie Smalls in the Disney Channel sitcom Live and Maddie. Fiyero in Wicked, and more recently Hans in Frozen.

Ryan is also from Minnesota. Thank you so much, Ryan, it’s wonderful chatting with you!

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in theatre?

My sister has always been a performer and I looked up to her a lot when I was a kid (always!) She started taking dance lessons, so I started taking dance lessons; she started taking singing lessons, so I started taking singing lessons. She started working a lot in the Twin Cities, so I wanted to work too! Eventually, I got the opportunity to perform in a show at the History Theater in St. Paul, my first professional gig at age 8. Doing professional theater at such an impressionable age was hook, line and sinker. The theater carried me away and I could never detach myself from it.

How does it feel to see live theater return and perform in front of a live audience again?

Wrong interview answer, but it’s indescribable. It’s hard to put into words the sinkhole you feel in your soul when you lose something of ultimate value to you. I know many people have felt these feelings of extreme loss as a result of the pandemic; so accepting this epic absence of theater left a deep, hungry void inside of me that could only be filled by one thing. That theater comes back, that it performs again for people, and that the magic of live theater comes rushing in and finally fills that void by surprise and all at once? I’m not sure words can ever describe how healing this is or how overwhelming it feels. Very beautiful, very moving. I’m so happy to be back.

What is your favorite musical?

The awakening of spring. It was my album “Finally someone understands me. I’m listening to this to finish high school”.

What’s your favorite musical song to sing?

Maria – West Side History

What other dream role would you like to play?

I always say that I don’t think my dream role is written yet. I love new work, collaborating in the room and creating characters from scratch. I especially enjoy playing characters who have a 180 degree alignment shift: characters who start the series as bad guys but end up joining the good guys; or of course, vice versa.

What were your musical influences?

Jamie CullumMichael Buble, Norbert Leo Butz, Bobby McFerrin and of course the one and only Miss Patti LuPone

What is your favorite role that you have played?

Brad Majors in the FOX remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The talent of this cast and creative team was second to none, having Lou Adler and Tim Curry lending himself to the project after being so instrumental in creating the original, led by Kenny Ortega…a confluence of miracles brought me to this project and it remains both the work I’m most proud of and the gig I’ve had the most fun doing.

What was the first show you saw on Broadway?

Mary Poppins!

What’s your favorite place in Minnesota?

Downtown Excelsior, Lake Minnetonka. I grew up there, I got kissed there, I threw rocks there, I did my homework there, I watched fireworks there, I made friends there. So many of my most treasured childhood memories happened in or around the Excelsior Commons and the lake.

Thank you very much Ryan for your time! We greatly appreciate it and can’t wait to see the theatrical journey continue!

Photo courtesy of Ryan McCartan