Alamo-raised Bryce Ryness spent most of 2006 starring as Roger in Rent, during the Pulitzer Prize–winning musical’s 10th anniversary national tour. Diablo caught up with the 25-year-old Monte Vista High School alum toward the end of his recent gig at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco.
Have you had the chance to come out to the East Bay during your run in San Francisco? I’m actually staying in Alamo, in the house in which I grew up, and commuting into the city. Since it’s a free place to stay—thanks Mom and Dad—I’ve invited a few of the other cast members to stay here with me. We’re soaking in the beauty of the East Bay all day and taking BART into the city at night. Not having to drive, fight traffic, or find parking in the city is great!
Do you remember the first show you saw at the Golden Gate Theatre? I think the first show I saw at the Golden Gate was Evita when I was about 15. It was a touring cast, and it was phenomenal. To be honest, when I lived in Alamo, my family and I didn’t get into the city much to support the arts—big regret—because most of my time was spent on the baseball field or in the pool playing water polo.
Did your friends from Alamo come to see the show? A few friends from high school have come to see the show. However, by far the person I’m most excited to have come is my high school choir director, Mr. Bruce Koliha. I credit him with teaching me pretty much everything I know about singing. Moreover, his commitment to the artistry of his choirs was contagious and stuck with me beyond high school.
How many different cities will you play during the tour? My contract ends September 17th, and I’m heading back home to Los Angeles to be with my wife and pursue projects there. When all is said and done, I think I’ll have hit 37 cities.