Kevin Ray Johnson
I would like you to meet Frank Ruiz! This recent of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) graduate is currently performing in the International Tour of The Wizard of Oz where he is performing in the Ensemble and the Lollipop Guild. Mr. Ruiz has also performed with Prather Productions at The Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, and The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. It was such a treat to have a chance to interview this bright young spirit!
How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a performer?
I think I was about 10 years old. I remember watching Gene Kelly films with my dad and being absolutely mesmerized. Looking back though, it was the original West Side Story that inspired me. As the youngest boy in an immigrant family, I saw myself in those characters. Their dreams were my parents dreams, and I wanted to do something incredible with the life they gave me.
Where did you study? Are there any mentors that truly helped make you the performer you are today?
I studied musical theatre at AMDA’s two-year conservatory program in New York. There are so many wonderful people who’ve changed my life for the better: Andrew Garner, Mark Mann, Christopher Stephens, and Diane Ciesla are a few who I absolutely have to mention.
Congratulations on being cast in the international tour of The Wizard of Oz! With being a part of such a timeless classic, what can you say you are most excited about this show?
Thank you! I’m in Bahrain at the moment, and it still feels unreal! I’m so excited for the children who come see this show. Dean Sobon and Amy Marie McCleary, our director and choreographer respectively, have done a beautiful job of honoring the iconic film while also elevating it for the stage. My hope is that we inspire these kids the same way the original has for generations.
Are there any shows that you have done in your career that will always be near and dear to your heart?
My first professional job out of college was Saturday Night Fever at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. I was so nervous to be there, but I was surrounded by a talented company of actors who really made me feel welcome. Antoinette DiPietropolo gave me one of the best summers of my life, and for that I’m grateful.
What advice would you give young performers who want a career in this business?
Never Settle. I’m still at the beginning of my career, but I’ve been very fortunate. There’s no such thing as good enough. If you take the time to grow every day, then you will always be better than you were the day before. Keep taking class, know your theatre history, and be the kindest person you can be.
To learn more about Frank make sure you visit his official website at – www.frankruizactor.com and to learn more about the international tour of The Wizard of Oz make sure you visit – www.wizardofoztour.com