Call Redialed: NEW Joan Ryan Interview: "Joan Ryan Live" at Birdland Theater
I feel so blessed to be able to interview Joan Ryan again! This is our fourth or fifth interview together and we always find new things to talk about. This time around we are talking about her upcoming Birdland Theater concert Joan Ryan Live. When Joan takes the stage, everyone pays attention. With a four-octave range, Joan’s talent is remarkable. Have you seen her closing performance from Shane’s Inspiration benefit last year at Carnegie Hall? If not, click here.
Then purchase your tickets to Joan Ryan Live, which will be coming to Birdland Theater on May 16. After several performances in California & around the country, Joan is finally bringing this show to New York City! Featuring special guest star, Tony Award Winner Joanna Gleason (Into The Woods), Joan Ryan Live will feature funny & poignant stories from Joan’s life, told through the music Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Schwartz, Lady Gaga, Joni Mitchell and Barbra Streisand.
Joan Ryan Live will play Birdland Theater (315 West 44th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue), on Thursday, May 16 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!
1. This May you are bringing your acclaimed show Joan Ryan Live to Birdland Theater. What are you looking forward to most about bringing this show to Birdland Theater? I love this show, and although we have done it around the country, we haven’t done it in New York. I’m excited to share it with New York audiences.
2. We have done two previous interviews about this concert in 2014 & 2015, when you were performing in California. How has the show evolved over these past 4-5 years? The show is somewhat autobiographical, so as my life changes, so has my show. We’ve added many new songs, new ideas and new stories.
When I first started performing this show, it was all about jumping off and reinventing a life. This show is about the next step. Also, Joel Paley, the writer of Ruthless! has written some special material for me for the show, so I’m excited to revisit that role! (I originated the dual roles of Judy Denmark and Ginger Del Marco in the Los Angeles cast of Ruthless! and am on the first cast album).
3. How have you adapted this concert for NY audiences? We have replaced a number of the songs that work in Los Angeles and around the country but might not work as well in New York. Also, what I talk about is different. It’s very personal, both for the audience and for me.
4. Your special guest at this concert will be Tony Award winner Joanna Gleason. How did you come to ask Joanna to join you? Joanna and I met many years ago when we were doing an evening in Los Angeles. We bonded that night over conversations about our children, and have stayed in touch. When I was producing and performing at Carnegie Hall last October, I asked her to join us and she was not available, so she was my first call when I knew I would be appearing at Birdland Theater. So excited to have her with me. She is an amazing talent and I love working with her.
5. What is it about Joanna's performing you feel works well with your performance style? Joanna is an extraordinary actress as well as a wonderful singer. We both work very similarly, starting with the lyric, the story and what we want to say. We are doing a beautiful duet arrangement that includes a song from Into The Woods, the show for which she won the Tony.
6. Which song are you most excited to perform? That’s like asking which of my children are my favorite! My wonderful musical director, Ron Abel, has put together a very exciting new opener…we’ve not done it before and it’s very exciting and challenging.
7. What other projects do you have coming up that you can tell us about? I am part of a new television show that I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but I’m excited because I get to sing!
8. Last year, we did an interview together in advance of Shane's Inspiration Benefit at Carnegie Hall. You brought the house down at that concert! Can you give us an update on the progression of Shane's Inspiration playground that is scheduled to be built here in NYC? Yes. thank you for asking! That evening was one of the highlights of my career. At this very moment, Shane’s Inspiration is working with the New York Parks department to finalize the location for the first Shane’s Inspiration Inclusive playground! We are on our way!
9. You are very well known for playing Tina Pallodrino, the crazy music and arts teacher on the long-running series, Saved By the Bell. What is the craziest thing about Joan Ryan that you have yet to reveal in an interview? I have the worst sense of direction of anyone you have ever met! I can go to the same place twenty times and still need Google maps to get me there the next time. I love New York so much, but I cannot tell you how many times a day I walk in the wrong direction. And, of course, it’s always the long blocks!
More on Joan:
Joan Ryan is the winner of BroadwayWorld’s Top Female Cabaret Artist. Her four-octave range led to a recent appearance at famed Carnegie Hall followed by a performance at Lincoln Center. Starring roles include LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, FOOTLOOSE, LES MISERABLES, NUNSENSE, TRIUMPH OF LOVE, ANGRY HOUSEWIVES, NITE CLUB CONFIDENTIAL. Joan originated the role of Judy Denmark/Ginger Del Marco in RUTHLESS! for which she was costumed by fashion icon Bob Mackie. Joan’s self-titled debut solo recording remains a best-selling CD. Her other recordings include the cast albums of RUTHLESS!, SONDHEIM: A CELEBRATION, STROUSE, SCHWARTZ AND SCHWARTZ, LERNER-LOEWE AND LANE, DREAM: THE MUSIC OF JOHNNY MERCER and JEROME KERN: LIFE UPON THE WICKED STAGE. Television audiences know Joan from her long-running role as Tina Pallodrino, on SAVED BY THE BELL. She spent two years in the role of Kathleen Houghton, everyone’s favorite psychiatrist, on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS. Joan has also been featured on THE TODAY SHOW, THE TONIGHT SHOW and numerous guest starring TV roles. Variety shows include FOREVER YOUNG with Jason Alexander and ONE NIGHT ONLY with Steve Carell, Forest Whitaker and Eric McCormack. Her recent return to New York City has been met with both critical and public acclaim and she also continues to sell out concerts around the country. Her newest show BRAVA BROADWAY Celebrating The Great Ladies Of Musical Theatre premiered in Las Vegas in February, 2019.