5 Questions With Ryan Duncan
The 10glo editorial team recently caught up with prolific Broadway and Off-Broadway actor, Ryan Duncan, to find out about his new musical project, A Gander Family Christmas.
Ryan has been seen on Broadway in Gettin’ the Band Back Together and Shrek and Off-Broadway in Altar Boyz for which he was nominated for a Drama League award.
He is currently working on a new holiday musical A Gander Family Christmas, which is how and why the 10glo team finds itself sitting across from Ryan at a virtual coffee shop on Google Docs to chat.
1. Tell us about A Gander Family Christmas.
A Gander Family Christmas is an awkward and fun-filled holiday musical by the performing group, The Gander Family. The Ganders grew up in foster care together and their foster parents inspired them to start a performing group. So they did. The Ganders are very popular in about three counties in upstate New York and what they lack in professionalism, they more than make up for in talent and forced joy. The Ganders are now hoping to bring their Christmas show to New York City!
2. What was the inspiration for the show? Is it all auto-biographical?
My good friend Tad Wilson and I went to see Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard’s Christmas Show on Broadway and let’s just say I was inspired to write A Gander Family Christmas. The show has nothing to do with Clay and Ruben’s show except that we do also take inspiration from TV holiday specials from the 70s and 80s and things go wrong on stage. I wrote the show with fantastically funny and talented friends in mind. It’s an original piece with original twisted characters.
3. Dream world, what does the next two years look like for the show?
I would love to see the show get a sweet little run Off-Broadway and then be produced in theaters around the country. Who doesn’t like a funny holiday musical that’s under 90 minutes? (Editorial note: not us!)
4. Who was your biggest champion in the industry and how did their support impact your career?
There are many people whothat helped me, cast me, and believed in me throughout my career but I have to admit that I have been my own champion. I feel like I had to forge my own track in the business as I didn’t have many connections when I moved to NY and I didn’t have a school community to support me. I think I’m too stubborn and want to do this too much to not stick around. I have very supportive friends and family and I’m grateful for my music and theater teachers growing up who pushed a shy kid to have the confidence to not only get out onstage but to love it. I’m also grateful for those folks in our industry for whom I come to mind when projects land in front of them, and those that invite me to be a part of their work. We don’t cut our paths alone, but most often we hold the machete.
5. If you could change only one thing about how we conduct the business of Broadway post Coronavirus, what would it be?
I think that what has happened in this pandemic is that we are going to see a “Broadway depression” in that the large-scale very expensive shows will likely make way for smaller-budget, original, story-led work and I think that’s great. I understand and enjoy the appeal of spectacle but I hope that this giant pause will allow other voices and narratives to have a seat at the table. I think we should put faith in diversity and great story-telling.
Bonus question: what are your top three horror movies of all time?
I love Children of the Corn, 28 Days Later, and I am a huge fan of the Friday the 13th franchise.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Ryan. We can’t wait to see more from the Ganders live on stage soon enough.
You can check out Ryan’s videos on 10glo at https://10glo.com/user/RunyonCAL.
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