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Articles by Ryan Mikita

Ryan Mikita
About Ryan Mikita (70 Articles)
Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Ryan has been an advocate for the performing arts since childhood. In 2009, Ryan moved straight to NYC after receiving a BFA in Music Theatre from the Hartt School. Ryan not only loves acting, but is passionate about the process as well. In his time here, Ryan has acted as a producer, director, or script editor on multiple occasions and gladly accepts any opportunity to be involved in a new project.
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The Big Broadcast on East 53RD

February 14, 2017

Rounding out the cast are Alexis Bronkovic as Ruth--Penny’s best friend--and Bill Tatum, who plays Ray’s boss. Once again, the driving motivation behind nearly every character is nowhere to be found. It seems that simply for the sake of creating a play about fake news, Brukenfeld opted to fill his script with lifeless characters that don’t question anything and are content to believe that Ray is dead. The performances across the board are unsympathetic and played mind-bogglingly straightforward. For what it’s worth, the actors do all that they can with the material at hand, turning in acceptable performances given the circumstances. [more]

Made in China

February 5, 2017

The ensuing journey is a bizarre and sometimes hilarious exploration of China and the culture within, even if it doesn’t always make the most sense. "Made in China" makes the most of the liberties that puppetry allows, and features some very impressive techniques and performances from the actors behind the scenes. Though the two main characters are both interesting, they are both made all the more entertaining by their canine companions. The two dogs, Lily and Yo-Yo (Dorothy James and Andy Manjuck among others) are completely lovable, and every single scene they are a part of is instantly heartwarming. [more]

Incident at Hidden Temple

February 2, 2017

Behind the theme of war," Incident at Hidden Temple" is a thriller of sorts. Sisters Ava (Ying Ying Li) and Lucy (Briana Sakamoto), first seen in China travelling on a train littered with American soldiers, are separated when a disturbing road block forces their train to a halt. With some time to kill, the sisters exit the train and are introduced to a mysterious stranger--Dinh James Doan as a blind man with a penchant for speaking in riddles--who tells them about a Hidden Temple located just a short ways away. The temple, the blind man cryptically tells them, is filled with lost treasures but will only be revealed to those of pure heart. [more]

Lucky Penny

January 16, 2017

The stories included are equal parts humorous, stirring or sobering but always meaningful and intimately personal. Deblinger is a natural storyteller, and every tale is polished and fully developed, and--more importantly--consistent with the show’s overall theme. Further, Deblinger is a fantastic impressionist, and the show contains no less than 15-20 fully realized character impersonations. The versatility he displays is a testament to both his natural abilities as well as his dedication to his craft. [more]

The Portal

December 12, 2016

While the visual aid is being projected in the background, a rock concert/spectacle is taking place on stage in front of the screen, and this is--thankfully--more interesting that the latter content. Billy Lewis Jr. is the physical manifestation of Kelly’s Dante; a rock star whose belting is a metaphorical echo of his counterpart’s internal strife. Lewis Jr. is a natural at singing rock music, and his vocal prowess is a saving grace for the production. [more]

A Taste of Things to Come

November 25, 2016

During the first half of the 20th century, the perception of women and their place in society was archaic and harmful to say the least. In fact, it wasn’t until the late 1950’s that the widely accepted oversimplification of the role of women was truly called into question and brought under scrutiny. Documenting the influential and crucial decade between the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, Debra Barsha and Hollye Levin’s new musical "A Taste of Things to Come" is a very pointed yet enjoyable exploration of these transformative years for the housewife, told through the eyes of four women who have a common interest in cooking. [more]

Don’t You F**king Say a Word

November 19, 2016

Though the premise is an interesting device for dissecting the friendship between two men--for surely many men are curious how they are perceived by their better halves (self included), the play doesn’t aim to say much otherwise. Acting choices, pacing and thematics are all appropriate thanks to Lee Sunday Evans' seamless direction, but it’s the script itself which is the production’s biggest hurdle. Though there are some interesting and engaging ideas presented regarding the mind of the male, the untidy and nondescript ending make no attempt to make any significant statement about any of it, ultimately shrouding the entire production in a veil of murky, middle-ground mediocrity. [more]

Roughly Speaking

November 9, 2016

Focusing on a group of roughly fifteen regulars that attend the homeless shelter in question, the play is a series of intimate and telling conversations between homeless people of all different walks of life--and their myriad ways of ending up in their current position. Playwright Zeiger, who is also founder and artistic director of producing company The Platform Group, plays Diana, a recovering addict and recent widow who is constantly struggling with staying clean. Playing a woman who is broken and beaten down, Zeiger’s familiarity with the script gives her performance an authenticity which is truly garnering of sympathy. Joanie Anderson plays a community college student named Melissa, who sleeps on the subway and desperately wants to better herself but just can’t seem to break the cycle. [more]

Duat

October 28, 2016

Constructed in three parts, the first part of Jones’ memoir-meets-manifest-destiny is an enchanting origin story that takes place in a mystical library that holds an archive of Jones’ life (set design by Arnulfo Maldonado). Though this portion of the story is filled with tidbits of information from his childhood and adolescence, the focus is on the story of the creation of his famous and renowned alter ego, Jomama Jones, and the book he discovered as a teen that aided in her creation (more on that later). [more]

90210! The Musical!

October 6, 2016

At certain points during "90210! The Musical!," references are made pertaining to actors or other people who were involved in the original TV series, and none is more self-referential or satirical than Caleb Dehne’s gratifyingly over-the-top portrayal of actress and Beverly Hills darling Tori Spelling. Dressed in drag and sporting a disheveled blonde wig and smeared lipstick, Dehne’s mannerisms are surprisingly spot-on, and his speech patterns are hilariously over-exaggerated. [more]

About Clarence and Me

September 4, 2016

To call "About Clarence and Me" simply a play is misleading, as the project features an entirely original score by co-writer Scott Hiltzik. A classical musician, Hiltzik’s music is technically striking but carries a modern flare. In additional to their finely tuned performances, both DeMone and Roll impress as musicians as well. Roll proves himself to be quite the accomplished classical pianist, demonstrating mastery of the keys by way of precision and constraint. DeMone, ever his opposite, produces from the piano a sound descendent of a ragtime piano roll, at times accompanied by the veteran singer’s sonorous growl. Directed by Hiltzik’s co-writer Jones, the duo’s intimacy with the material is plain to see in the final product. Full of nuanced moments both thematically and in performance, the writing team’s hands-on approach is responsible for this well-rounded and solid production. [more]

Implications of Cohabitation

August 16, 2016

Directed by Leni Mendez, "Implications of Cohabitation" is a smooth running machine, albeit some undeveloped moments in the script. The staging is fluid and the story is clear, but some exchanges between characters are borderline inauthentic. The set design by Anna Grigo is effective, but slightly repetitive. The main set piece is an empty apartment, and the decorum of the apartment is changed to reflect the change in location. Unfortunately, these changes are minimal and don’t do much to enhance or differentiate one scene from the next. [more]

A Man Like You

July 26, 2016

Stannah, who gives a wrenching and emotionally present turn as the diplomat in distress, rarely leaves the stage for more than thirty seconds out of the entire 100 minute production with no intermission. Whether he is being choked, thrown to the ground, or wrestling with his captors, Stannah’s performance is as impressive physically as it is emotionally. His performance is certainly enhanced by that of his scene partner Abdi, the Somali interrogator and captor played by Jeffrey Marc. Marc’s Abdi is an intelligent man--or rather a “child” if one were to ask Patrick North’s opinion--whose political motivations are complex and unflinching, but inevitably puzzling to any outsider. Stannah and Marc’s duologue is concise and briskly paced, and the intensity at the heart of the production is as a result of the palatable on-stage chemistry between the pair. [more]

Here I Sit, Brokenhearted

July 7, 2016

Bathroom humor is an art of its own kind, but Seth Panitch’s musical parody "Here I Sit, Brokenhearted: A Bathroom Odyssey" takes this particular blend of humor and exploits it entirely. The moment the stage lights rise to full, marking the beginning of the production, a monstrous flush of a toilet rings through the audience, and that’s about as sophisticated a moment as any to be expected from the rest of the evening. [more]

Michael C. Bernardi: An Actor and His Legacy

June 29, 2016

I’ve always felt my father (Herschel) very present in my life, and I think because in a lot of ways he left behind a pretty wonderful legacy--and there were a lot of people who adored him--I grew up with a lot of different people telling me stories of how great he was. And so I think I always had such a positive vision of him that I always felt like he was looking out for me. [more]

The Block

June 9, 2016

An all-around tour-de-force, Dan Hoyle’s "The Block" is a stark portrayal of the times at hand in the Bronx. Though things have changed somewhat since the dangerous days of the 1960’s, the borough is still going through a major shift which has yet to be completed. Filled with interesting, thoughtful and sympathetic characters, this is a play that offers a harsh glimpse of some people’s realities, and that in itself inspires very real self-reflection. Complemented by excellent direction and seamless production design, the characters of "The Block" leave one with the sense that though the struggle seems--at times--absolutely insurmountable, every day is a new opportunity to escape the past as long as one holds onto that most sacred trait: hope. [more]

Sam Harris Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Film His “Ham: A Musical Memoir”

June 1, 2016

Sam Harris--the American actor and Broadway Alumni--recently launched a kickstarter.com campaign to fund the professional filming of his acclaimed one-man show, "Ham: A Musical Memoir." Best known for his Drama League Award winning performance in the Original Broadway Cast of Cy Coleman’s "The Life" (he was also nominated for the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award in the same role), Harris’s previous Broadway credits include Mel Brook’s "The Producers" and the Tommy Tune-directed revival of "Grease," for which he made his Broadway debut. Aside from his theatrical achievements, Harris has sold millions of records over the course of a recording career which has seen the release of nine studio albums filled with both fan favorites and original compositions. [more]

City Stories: Tales of Love and Magic in London

May 25, 2016

A seamless production in many ways, James Phillips’ latest is nothing short of ambitious, and Rosabella Gregory’s music is the perfect companion. Thoughtful and engaging, the enchanting collection of English fairy tales known as City Stories is a serendipitous affair. [more]

Strays

May 12, 2016

"Strays" is a challenge to describe as it is such a mash-up of traditional theatrical conventions that it doesn’t easily fall into any one category. Directed by Cion, Strays moves as through a haze, scenes folding one into the other, transitions covered by bizarre song and dance breaks (revolving around cats), characters speaking on top of each other almost constantly. The scenic design by Kerry Chipman is straight forward and aided largely by a projector, which displays videos by Maia Cruz Palileo throughout the production. The media element adds to the bizarre tone of the show, and though some of the videos played are designed to help advance the plot, others are simply trippy displays of superimposed kitties floating through the air. [more]

Fully Committed

May 10, 2016

Meet Sam, a struggling New York actor whose day job is as the reservationist for a popular albeit fictional Manhattan restaurant. Seemingly surrounded by phones at every turn, Ferguson’s Sam has devices that connects him to the chef, the hostess, his manager, as well as to the outside World and those looking for a much sought after reservation. Demonstrating a full spectrum of physical and vocal capabilities, Ferguson manipulates his body and voice to bring to life the many characters that Sam interacts with over the phone. [more]

A Pregnant Pause

April 22, 2016

In theory, the material that "A Pregnant Pause" attempts to provide commentary on is thought-provoking. However, this production is one which unfortunately stumbles and falls within its very first minutes and never recovers. Calvin Knie and Carla Duval play the lovers Bob and Susan, respectively. Though the duo deserve some credit for their efforts, there is hardly any chemistry to be found on stage, and thus the entire premise on which the play is founded is hardly believable. Knie turns in an absolutely enigmatic performance as Bob, one which is confusing and muddled, lacking clear intentions and any kind of subtlety. He constantly resorts to screaming and yelling, a confusing choice which is often unfounded and simply out of character. [more]

Mike Birbiglia: Thank God For Jokes

April 17, 2016

On stage, Birbiglia’s presence differs significantly from that of his fellow comics. It is no exaggeration in referring to Birbiglia as a soft-spoken individual, a term not often associated with a stand-up comedian. Birbiglia embraces his subtlety as his calling card, and this unique quality is the trait that differentiates his style from that of others. Further, because of the way he controls his onstage presence, when he does raise his voice or get particularly physical, it is even more effective as a result. This style paves the way for many different forms of comedy and jokes along the way, thus keeping the show free of any break in pace or monotony. [more]

The New York Pops: The Music of John Williams

April 15, 2016

Though the evening was studded with some of the more famous and mainstream orchestral pieces of William’s career—namely the March from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" or the Theme from "Jurassic Park," the evening also highlighted some of the more experimental pieces that came with Spielberg’s influential works of science fiction. A series of excerpts from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," as well as a suite from "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," shed light on the fact that, though Williams is gifted at the art of creating a catchy melody, he is also an expert at concocting complex, ethereal music that makes the world of science fiction seem wholly believable. [more]

House Rules

April 10, 2016

Featuring a talented and engaging cast as well as an inventively designed set that adds tremendous production value, "House Rules" would seem to have all the necessary elements of a successful production. However, though the technical and theatrical aspects of this production are undoubtedly successful, the message of this story is somehow lost along the way. Somewhere down the line, this heartfelt family story devolves into a set of characters with clichéd motivations and almost no character growth; characters who are far too often put into storylines which never receive that oh-so-satisfying payoff that differentiates an exceptional theatrical experience from the ordinary. [more]

Ironbound

March 22, 2016

Darja, the grounding force of the entire production, is played with rawness and vigor by Marin Ireland. Ms. Ireland—no stranger to the New York stage as of late—delivers an unnerving performance as a woman who has had no run of good luck in her time in America. Jumping in time between the early 1990’s, the year 2014, and stopping in the middle (2006) along the way, Ireland’s performance is riveting and heartfelt from beginning to end—no matter the decade. [more]

Connected

March 13, 2016

"Connected" is a series of short plays, each tackling our always-connected culture from a different angle. The first of four stories is about Meghan, a high schooler with a crush on one of the most popular guys in school. Midori Francis, the charming actress playing Meghan, decides to ask her crush to the prom and, after her theatrical prom proposal gets caught on camera and uploaded to YouTube, Francis’s timid teen reaches web celeb status, with her video collecting one million views in 24 hours. This story has a lot to say about what it means to be popular, and the juxtaposition of a down-to-earth girl rising to celebrity status opens the door to a thought-provoking conversation about the fickleness of fame, and the isolation that ironically comes with it. [more]

Buried Child

March 13, 2016

After a twenty year hiatus from the New York theater scene, Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning "Buried Child" is back in the Big Apple but in a more intimate setting. This latest iteration of the dramatic classic sees its return to the world of Off-Broadway, with a limited engagement at The Pershing Square Signature Center. Loaded with a powerhouse cast led by Ed Harris, the latest from the The New Group is a fresh take on an American classic. [more]

Rap Guide to Climate Chaos

March 7, 2016

For his latest production, Brinkman has assembled over 20 songs which, cohesively, tackle every aspect of the climate crisis. Starting with a background of the physics and chemistry behind what’s happening in the world, he begins the show with a crash course in climate science. Brinkman’s clever lyrics are both informative and comical, and the unique way in which the information is presented to the audience makes learning fun and entertaining. Not only that, the conversational approach in his rapping also helps to make the information more easily digestible. [more]

Dead Dog Park

March 3, 2016

At the onset of the production, each cast member is introduced by walking onto stage one by one. Starring intently out into the audience, there is a general sense of unrest to be found behind the eyes of each performer. The house lights of the theater are still on, and the piercing gazes coming from the actors scattered across the stage immediately destroys any notion of a fourth wall. The fourth wall, the theatrical device that the audience can usually hide safely behind, is taken away from the audience before the production even begins. There is no question: from the time the very first actor takes the stage, it is established that the audience is just as responsible for the events of Barry Malawer’s "Dead Dog Park" as any one of the fictional characters in the story [more]

Broadway by the Year: The 1930’s

February 25, 2016

Though most of the performances of the evening were solely from vocalists, some of the performers showed versatility by playing with various different instruments. This added a refreshing amount of variety, and led to a handful of outstanding performances. Pianist and singer Billy Stritch performed in the first act, and the combination of his smooth vocals and stride-style piano was a welcome treat. The highlight of the evening for Stritch was “Comes Love” (Yokel Boy), which earned mid-song applause from the audience. Also showing versatility was Nellie McKay, who—at different times—performed on both the piano and the ukulele. McKay, who possesses a voice with an almost calm quality, is to be thanked for some of the more subtle, quiet, moments of the evening. [more]

The White Stag Quadrilogy

February 20, 2016

An element of "The White Stag Quadrilogy" which cannot go overlooked is the amount of dancing incorporated into the production. In lieu of proper production techniques, Wolfert and company instead choose to depict stags parading across the desert, or eagles flying through the sky, by way of “interpretive” dancing. Enlisting the staff of the Plaza Michelle for this purpose, the dancing trio of Derek Smith, Michelle Uranowitz, and Jaime Wright are together a band of merry misfits who revel in their undulating, gyrating, style of dance (choreographed in hilariously gratuitous fashion by Chloe Kernaghan). Referred to on multiple occasions by Wolfert as “trained professionals,” the self-aware ensemble is a recurring aspect of the play which is, time and time again—and again, hilarious. [more]

Adults Only

February 12, 2016

Directed by Alex Correia, the seven different plays presented each serve a purpose. "The Heart Attack," which opens the show, is solemn yet silly. Taking place in a hospital, Nate Rollins is a patient who thinks he is having a heart attack, and Shane Allen is the Doctor assigned to his case. The premise is initially that of just a hypochondriac in action, but once the check-up has been completed, the tone changes to that of a more poignant and meaningful exchange between two grown men. While not all the plays are equally as funny, humor is present throughout the entire evening to keep the overall tone on the lighter side. [more]
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