by Lorie Lewis Ham
Fresno Lexus Broadway in Fresno’s next show coming to the Saroyan Theatre will be Hairspray. The performances will be next week on March 21 and 22. KRL had the chance to chat with one of the actors in the show recently, Ryahn Evers, who plays Amber Von Tussle.
KRL: Where are you from?
Ryahn: I’m from a little suburb just outside Denver, Colorado called Brighton!
KRL: When did you first become interested in acting?
Ryahn: I was a cheerleader and gymnast growing up, which is how I got into performing in general. Then in middle school I began singing in my school’s choir. I really loved singing, and since my dad actually grew up doing theatre, he encouraged me to audition for the school plays and musicals too. I found that I loved being on the stage and it was actually where I felt the most myself. It just felt right! So, I never stopped!
KRL: What was the first role that you ever played?
Ryahn: The first real musical I was in was Children of Eden, in the ensemble (more specifically a bird on Noah’s Ark!) I think I was 14 in that show. My first lead role however, was Roxie in Chicago in a community production in Denver when I was 16 or 17 years old.
KRL: What are some of the roles you have played professionally?
Ryahn: Hairspray is actually my first big professional job, however I spent many of my summers in college working for my school’s summer stock theatre, Little Theatre of the Rockies. There I played Kira in Xanadu in 2018 and Casey in First Date in 2019.
KRL: Why did you want to play this role?
Ryahn: I feel like everyone wants to play the villain at least once! I think Amber is just one of those iconic “queen bee” roles that everyone musical theatre girl secretly wants to play! She’s not the nicest kid in town, but I really wanted to take on the challenge of being the bad guy.
Ryahn: I’ve always been a fan! I remember watching the 2007 musical movie adaptation and being so enamored by the music and the dancing and Zac Efron… haha. I feel like everyone has such a nostalgia for this show and the music. My 9-year-old self wanted to be Velma Von Tussle so badly, but don’t worry, Amber was a close second!
KRL: Were you a fan of Hairspray before this?
KRL: What do you like best about playing this role?
Ryahn: I really love that I get to come to work and just be a little ditzy and dance and have fun with my friends onstage. Being the blonde bimbo is kinda my thing!
KRL: What has been the biggest challenge in playing this role?
Ryahn: I think it’s a bit daunting playing someone who is infamous for being mean and ignorant. But I wanted to find and shed light on the humanity in this young girl who has simply been led astray by her mother, as well as an oppressive society. I wanted to help in making the audience see, even if it’s hard, that she’s still just a kid who’s made mistakes. And more importantly, that it’s not too late to learn from them.
KRL: What have you done to prepare for this role?
Ryahn: Actually, last year I had the pleasure of playing Lou Ann in the first season of Hairspray! So, I haven’t always played Amber full time, but I did understudy her! Last year I had lots of time to watch and shadow our previous Amber and even got to go on for her a handful of times. Stepping into the role has slightly changed how I warm up and physically and mentally prep for each show. But thankfully, I feel like I was kind of prepping to step into this role all last season.
KRL: What do you like best about this show?
Ryahn: Ultimately, I love to witness the joy and unity that this show brings to people all across the country. I love that I get to help teach the important lessons that Hairspray imparts on people. Every single night, by the end of the show the audience is on their feet and singing and dancing “You Can’t Stop the Beat” with us. There’s no better feeling than that!
KRL: What is a typical day like for you while in this touring show?
Ryahn: Well, if we’re not traveling, I personally love to sleep in. I really prioritize my sleep and naps if I need them because when the work day starts at 7-8 PM I can’t be groggy! Ideally, I go to the gym and get my body moving and stretched at some point. But mostly, I am always itching to sightsee in all the beautiful cities we get to visit. I love visiting the local cafes, restaurants, museums, and all that jazz. It’s one of the best parts of touring!
KRL: Anything else you would like to share?
Ryahn: Can’t wait to shake and shimmy it with all of you March 21st and 22nd!
Tickets are available at BroadwayinFresno.com, in person at the Fresno Entertainment and Convention Center Box Office, or by calling 800.745.3000.
Check out more local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. And don’t miss out on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast where we feature mystery stories read by local actors!