Get the exclusive backstage tour into the minds and lives of our actors! 

We asked the cast of Peter And The Starcatcher a few questions, and they were happy to share these tidbits about themselves! 

Ryan Schisler

Why did you decide to go into the acting field?

-Acting was actually not even on my radar until I was a junior in college. I had a music professor (I was a music minor at the time) who took an interest in me and asked me to audition for the theatre departments production of Into The Woods. Well, to make a long story short: I auditioned, was cast as The Wolf/Cinderella's prince, and just like that got bitten by the bug. Ever since then I've been a working actor and can't imagine doing anything else with my life. Simple Answer - I just love it!

What was your first production?

-My first production was as a chorus member in the Opera Dido and Aeneas in college. 

What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you on stage?

-It was probably during a rehearsal for A Year With Frog and Toad. In the musical there is a song about cookies and during the song Frog and Toad are supposed to be ravenously eating these cookies. Well, we hadn't actually practiced with cookies up to this point and let me tell you it was a cookie explosion. Cookies were on the floor, crumbs were just flying out of our mouths, and also the cookies were so dry that singing was near impossible. Not to mention that neither of us could breathe because of how hard everyone was laughing. 

Where were you raised and where do you live now?

-I was raised in Owensboro, Kentucky and I currently live in Nappanee IN, were I work on and off at The Round Barn Theatre. RBT has become home for me and it's nice to be close to a place I love so much.

 

What is your ultimate goal as an actor?

-My ultimate goal as an actor is to continue to be a working actor. However, my ultimate goal as a theatre professional is to one day be an Artistic Director.

Why did you decide to come to Great Plains Theatre?

-I always love working for different companies and getting to create art with new theatre artists with different and creative prospectives.

Tyler Price

Why did you decide to go into the acting field?

-My mother passed away when I was 9 so, my therapist suggested that I enroll in the drama program based off of how animated I was in our sessions. I started class and instantly fell in love with acting. It was a great outlet for me to express myself.

What was your first production?

-My first production was Dear Edwina! It’s a musical about a young girl who gives advice to the other kids in her neighborhood. I played the character of Ziggy Montego!

 

What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you on stage?

-Final Dress Rehearsal of Into the Woods, I fell into the orchestra pit! I was fine and didn’t hit any instruments but, it was hilarious.
 

Where were you raised and where do you live now?

-I was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and that’s still my homebase when I’m not traveling for theatre!
 

What is your ultimate goal as an actor?

-My ultimate goal as an actor is to inspire as many people as I can through my work. Growing up, I didn’t see a lot of performers who looked like me. It was hard to find an actor on the Tony stage that I could relate to. Hopefully, I can be that person to other young aspiring actors.
 

Why did you decide to come to Great Plains Theatre?

-I have done a lot of musical theatre but, I have never done a play in my life, let alone professionally! So, I was surprised when I was offered this role and I’m excited to have to chance to do this show! 

Layne Roate

Why did you decide to go into the acting field?

-  As a kid I was always into television and movies. I’d love to imitate voices and sometimes would have entire scenes (or films) memorized word for word.

What was your first production?

- My first paid professional production was when I was 17. I played Ryan Evans in High School Musical Live. Yikes.

What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you on stage?

- I was in a production of Nice Work If You Can Get It at a summer stock theatre with a primarily older clientele. My character was supposed to run down the aisle for one of my opening entrances. Unbeknownst to me and my scene partner, a patron had thrown up all over the aisle as they were sitting in the front row. Needless to say, it made it pretty hard to keep focus on the scene while the stage management crew came out to clean up the mess mid song. 

Where were you raised and where do you live now?

- I was raised in Springfield, Illinois. Home of the Simpsons and Abe Lincoln (and not much else). Right now I live quite the Bohemian life and travel from town to town and gig to gig which is all dependent on where I am living at that moment.

What is your ultimate goal as an actor?

- I would love to do more film/television work. I also have a deep passion for creating and originating new theater works. 

Why did you decide to come to Great Plains Theatre?

- My friend, Travis Smith, told me that GPT needed a replacement actor for Ragtime (a show I’ve always loved and hadn’t had the chance to perform in) and gave me the information to submit an audition. Three shows later, I’m still loving working here! 

Sam Woods

Why did you decide to go into the acting field?

- When I was in the seventh grade, I went to my high school's production of Godspell and was completely blown away.  I remember thinking, "People can do this? People get to do this?!  I need to do this!" and I've been hooked ever since.

What was your first production?

-My first production was Seussical, in which I played a "Who" from Whoville.

What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you on stage?

-Improvising to cover is always fun, and it lets the audience know your with them and everything is okay. So, last year during a production of The Heart of Robin Hood, I, as Robin Hood was disguised as Gisborne, Prince John's Henchman. I was talking to John while puppeting Gisborne's head.  There is a point where we decided to have me drop the head then scramble to pick it up while John was looking away.  BUT, this time, I slipped and dropped it twice, so Prince John saw my head roll, so I said, "Sorry, sir, I recently went to the chiropractor, so my neck's a bit loose." While not period, it worked and got a laugh.

Where were you raised and where do you live now?

-Born, raised, and currently living in Omaha, Nebraska with plans to move to Chicago this spring.

What is your ultimate goal as an actor?

-To make a living performing and writing all sorts of comedy, whether improv, sketch, stand-up, plays, and television and film. Anything. All comedy.

Why did you decide to come to Great Plains Theatre?

-I'm a huge fan of Peter And The Starcatcher, and have heard great things about this theatre... and when given the opportunity to not do A Christmas Carol during Christmas, you take it.
 

Sarah Wussow

Why did you decide to go into the acting field?

In my case, I found myself music directing productions in college, while pursuing a music education degree. Even though I loved teaching in Wisconsin for five years, I missed the theatre. I switched to music directing full time, because I love the community that theatre creates. I love meeting new people, I love telling stories, and I love connecting with people through the stories we tell.

 

What was your first production?

Oh boy...my first "production" on-stage was probably a 4-H drama skit of some sort. My first music directing gig was back in college, where I music directed and played for a Rodgers and Hart music review called "Sing for your Supper." 

 

What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you on stage?

I was on stage, playing for a production of "Musical of Musicals, the Musical!" when one of the actors (unfortunately!) got ill and had to leave the stage in the middle of a duet. Her scene partner continued to sing, walked over to the piano, and sang to me. I ended up singing the other part, in third person, and the actor ended up lounged on top of the piano. The audience was very forgiving, and the other actor was able to return before her next number. It sure got my heart racing, but we were all able to laugh about it afterwards.  Live theatre!

 

Where were you raised and where do you live now?

I was raised in Black Creek, Wisconsin. It is about 30 minutes from Green Bay. I currently am completely freelance and travel from theatre to theatre. In between gigs I find my self visiting friends and family all over the county. 

 

What is your ultimate goal as an actor?

My ultimate goal is to continue to create live theatre experiences for audiences across the country. 

 

Why did you decide to come to the Great Plains Theatre?

Great Plains Theatre has a reputation that reaches far and wide in the theatre community. When you work with enough people that say "you HAVE to work there!," you eventually send your resume and hope it works out!

Matthew Willingham

Why did you decide to go into the acting field?

Ever since I was little I was putting on shows for my family, usually with me playing all the characters (there are videos of my one-man productions of The Wizard of Oz, Rent, and Hairspray floating around my house somewhere). When I learned I could do it for a living, I knew that was the life for me.

 

What was your first production?

My first production was Peter Pan in the seventh grade where I played a pirate 

 

What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you on stage?

It didn’t exactly happen onstage but during the last show of a production of The Producers, just a few minutes before I was supposed to go on for the song “Keep It Gay”, I was goofing off with a cast member in the wings and ended up splitting my pants all the way from the top to the bottom of the seat. We had to frantically run to the green room and try our best to safety pin it together in time to get onstage. Luckily I never turned my back to the audience, if I did they would have gotten a very different kind of show! 

 

Where were you raised and where do you live now?

I was born and raised in Florence, South Carolina. I now live in Charleston, South Carolina where I just graduated from the College of Charleston. 

 

What is your ultimate goal as an actor?

My ultimate goal as an actor is to be able to support myself doing what I love to do full time and to be able to take my mom to the Tony Awards one day. 

 

Why did you decide to come to the Great Plains Theatre?

I decided to come to Great Plains Theatre because I heard great things from friends who have worked here in the past. Also the chance to do Peter and the Starcatcher again is an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up on!

ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Click on the picture to learn more about the amazing talent of our 2017 Season!

Great Plains Theatre

215 N Campbell St

Abilene, KS  67410

785-263-4574

info@greatplainstheatre.com

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