24 May 2014 by Linda Ann Watt
RYAN KNOWLES plays “Buddy” in WE WILL ROCK YOU the smash hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton featuring legendary songs including “We Will Rock You,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We are the Champions,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
WE WILL ROCK YOU will be at Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, May 27-June 1. Tickets are on sale at Blumenthal Performing Arts Box Office: 704-372-1000 and BlumenthalArts.org.
Ryan who enjoys an actor’s life starting his day at noon, was in full gear when we spoke.
LiINDA ANN WATT: Where are you now?
RYAN KNOWLES: I’m in Tampa Florida. I’ve been here since Tuesday.
LAW: How long have you been acting?
RK: Ever since I was speaking. [Pause] I did community theater back home in Orange County, California. I couldn’t wait to go to New York.
LAW: What was your first professional job?
RK: Paid, professional job? [Laughs] I was hired for the rink-dinkiest puppet show to teach health. I did all the voices for the puppets and I manipulated the puppets. It was a very small show.
LAW: How did you get the role of “Buddy”?
RK: The audition for “Buddy” was single handedly the worst… [Laughs] I ran into my agent on the street as I was heading to another audition. Much to my chagrin, I found out I had the date wrong. I thought the audition was for the next day. I ran there totally unprepared and just did what I thought of at the moment. They asked me to come back prepared, which I did. The callback was fun. Ben Elton [writer] enlarged my character’s role as the comedy relief.
LAW: What was your most memorable experience in your profession?
RK: It changes… I like each new experience. It would have to be the opening in Baltimore with Brian May [Queen’s guitarist] and Roger Taylor [Queen’s drummer] on stage. That was the greatest!
LAW: Tell me about your character?
RK: I love this guy. He’s the most likable, least threatening, large, comic relief. ‘Kind of a Han Solo and Willie Nelson mix. He’s a stoner guy who lost some brain cells. He’s slow, but he’s not stupid. He has a mystery to unravel. He’s the first one on stage and the last one on stage.
LAW: Tell me about an average day for you while you’re on tour.
RK: I’ve been on tour six months. A normal, typical day,… I wake up late, noon and I’m slow to start. I’m in Tampa now, so I hit the pool, wander and explore. At five o’clock, I warm up vocally, as it’s a very demanding show. I don’t get out of the theater until eleven o’clock. Depending on what town I’m in, I might have to think about food before the performance to get my Jimmy Johns early before restaurants close.
LAW: What’s the worst experience you’ve had on the road?
RK: The worst I put out of my head. Travel nightmares, schlepping stuff… Travel is tedious, but so is office work. It’s all relative.
LAW: Do you find there’s a difference in the audience reaction depending on what city you are in?
RK: I like to look and study the audience as they listen and respond to “Are You Ready to Rock?” That’s when I know what kind of an audience it is. My experience, the blue-collar towns go nuts for this show.
LAW: What should the audience expect?
RK: Come to this show if you’re looking for a party. This is pure unadulterated fun. You’ll have a blast!