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Here you’ll find news and information about me, Brett Ryback –  the actor, composer, and playwright – in addition to my irregular blog.  Find me on facebook and twitter, and subscribe to my mailing list.

Thanks for coming!

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Finishing the Draft!

It’s a difficult thing to balance two “careers” at once. For me, acting has always taken precedence because it’s my “bread-and-butter,” which I say while making a very ironic face.

But I love writing with the same passion as I love acting, so I can’t just do one and not the other. It just means I’ve had to accept that sometimes the writing is just gonna take longer. A looooot longer.
But this week I was able to finish the first draft of my musical Joe Shmoe Saves the World. Which thrills me to itty bitty little pieces.
Granted – it’s incomplete. That’s right. It’s an incomplete first draft. But it’s cohesive! And now that the first draft is written it means that the rewriting can begin. And so the cycle never ends.
Here’s a paragraph I’m particularly proud of. This comes from my own personal inspiration for writing this piece:
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Burying Daruma

This is my Daruma Doll.

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He was given to me by my friends Tony and Rob who often bring them back from their frequent trips to Japan.

A Daruma doll is a traditional handmade Japanese wishing doll. He is modeled after Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk and creator of Zen Buddhism. The dolls are used to help grant wishes or achieve goals.

Here’s how he works. When the doll arrives, he is eye-less. You first decide on a goal or a wish, and then color in the left eye. Then you place him in a visible place so while he works on your goal, you remember to do the same.

Here’s this guy still at work on his goal.

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Once the goal is achieved, you fill in the other eye as a means of giving thanks.

IMG_3492And then, according to my friends, the doll is burned or buried as an offering. My Daruma dolls final resting place will be under this tree in my garden.

I received this doll for Christmas last year and set my goal, which I achieved this past month, so this morning I buried him.

Well done, pal!
Sleep well!IMG_3491

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Meet The Peepers

A snap shot of a script in progress. Meet the Peepers!

Peepers Work

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MURDER Receives OCC Nomination

2014-awards-season1MURDER FOR TWO was honored yesterday with a nomination for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical Off-Broadway.  This is in addition to my co-star Jeff Blumenkrantz’s recent Lucille Lortel nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.

I’m very proud of our little show, and if you haven’t yet seen it - then what are you waiting for?

Yesterday was also an exciting day because we participated in the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids Easter Bonnet Competition.  I was selected as the member of our cast to wear our bonnet.  Go figure.

photo 1Note: this is NOT the bonnet I wore, and also this is not how I felt wearing it.

photo 2 photo 3 Jeff and I had a fun time hanging around the Minskoff theatre with the, um, cast members of The Lion King.

But the really cool part of the evening was when I unexpectedly ended up on stage with Bryan Cranston, Idina Menzel, Fran Drescher, and Denzel Washington.

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And I just have to thank the cast of After Midnight, who was so nice to allow me to get into a pic with Bryan Cranston after they won some award for something or other.

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The Best 3-for-1 Deal in NYC

2F6B1BB02-A0BC-EA96-0BF8CE001A137B36.jpg.pagespeed.ce.GtMymtHlpJ If you’re looking for an excuse to see MURDER FOR TWO – there ain’t a better one than this.

Next Monday, April 7th, following our performance you’ll get to see work from 2 emerging musical theatre composers.  Alexander Sage Oyen and ME!  I will be presenting a condensed concert of my musical comedy THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER.

For the price of one ticket – you get 3 shows.  Frankly, it’s criminal.

And a portion of all ticket sales goes to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Use code MRMUSMON20 to get $37 tickets (normally $87) and join  Alexander and myself and a cast of massive Broadway talent (i.e. Lesli Margherita, Taylor Trensch, Todd Buonopane, Julia Mattison, Preston Sadleir, Leo Ash Evans, and so on) for a GREAT Monday night out.

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Don’t Be the Dope

Songs I Wrote Title Bar02-in-piano

I’m THRILLED to announce my first non-Murder for Two-related appearance in New York City!

On Saturday April 19th at 11pm, join me for a late-night party at 54 Below as I share SONGS i WROTE – an evening of highlights from my songbook.

Here’s what you’ll get to see:

Alex Brightman, Janet Krupin, George Salazar, and Mary Kate Morrissey.

JSSW CastThis sexy foursome singing songs from my latest musical-in-progress JOE SCHMOE SAVES THE WORLD – including 4 Brand-new never-before-heard songs!

Melissa van der Schyff, Claybourne Elder, Lesli Margherita, Julia Mattison, and Justin Matthew Sargent.

TKD CastThis foxy fivesome rocking tunes from my musical THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER.

Dakin MatthewsAnd a guest appearance by the guy from True Grit, Gilmore Girls, ROCKY Broadway, and pretty much every other TV show you’ve ever seen: Dakin Matthews.

Don’t be the dope who missed outGRAB YOUR TICKETS HERE!

 

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The Host With the Most

“It’s a wonderful night for Oscar (Oscar, Oscar!) who will win?”

Thus began every Oscar monologue given by the master Billy Crystal.  The first time I ever seriously watched the Oscars (I was super invested in “Good Will Hunting” winning) it was hosted by Billy.  He worked his ass off to entertain - a true performer and just plain silly.  He came out 3/4 of the way through the show at crouched behind the glass podium exclaiming: “Look!  I’m a present!”  7998822

His songs during the opening monologues, pointing out the (at the time) 5 Best Picture nominees were the precursor in many ways to what Neil Patrick Harris has accomplished many times at the Emmy’s and Tony’s.  To Matt Damon and Ben Affleck he crooned to the tune of “Night and Day”: “Matt and Ben – you are the ones.  Your script was tight and, damnit – so are your buns.”

images-1This Sunday, however, will be hosted once again by Ellen Degeneres.  Ellen did a great job the last time she hosted with her signature folks-y, meandering comic style with surprise zingers.  She last hosted when Helen Mirren would win for “The Queen.”  Ellen quipped: “Lots of British nominees.  Would I say ‘too many’?  Not here.  Alone at home in my pajamas with a box of chardonnay in me? who knows what I’d say!”

The good thing about Ellen is that she never gets too overtly political, which is bad for the air on Oscar night.  Chris Rock went very far in that direction, holding his mic like a true stand-up, with this joke that didn’t even have anything to do with the Oscars: “Bush did some stuff you could neeeever get away with at your job, man.  You know when Bush got into office they had a surplus of money.  Now there’s like a 70 trillion dollar deficit.  Now just imagine you worked at the GAP…”

Whoopi got political the first time she hosted (the first time ANY woman hosted), but she condensed it to one “political soapbox rant” that ended with: “Let Frank Sinatra finish!”

Jon Stewart, who I love on Daily Show, was also a bit political, but less so.  He just seemed ill-at-ease while not behind his desk.  He didn’t know what to do with his hands.  But he did have some great lines such as: “Diablo Coldy used to be an exotic dancer and now she’s an Oscar-nominated screenwriter…I hope you’re enjoying the paycut.” And my favorite of his:  “This year’s theme is “Bringing Back the Glamor” and let me just say — thank god.  Because for too long Hollywood has been without.”

Second to Billy as my favorite host is definitely Steve Martin:  “When they asked me back in January if I wanted to host the Oscars my first thought was: “Would there be enough time for my facelift to heal.”

What they both do so well is poke fun at Hollywood, which I think is so necessary on a night where super rich celebrities give each other statues made of gold.  And when he joined forces with Alec Baldwin (the first DUO to host the Oscars) it was pure magic.

Unfortunately it lead the way to one of the WORST Oscar duos – James Franco and Anne Hathaway.

So here’s to Ellen and a great night at the Oscars!

 

 

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