Community theaters cannot survive on ticket sales alone. The Lewiston Civic Theatre’s annual fundraising gala helps bridge the gaps so the show can reach new generations.Saturday, March 2, the “Putting on the Glitz Gala” will celebrate the Lewiston institution’s past and present by featuring performances by theater alum Isaac Ryckeghem with guest Amy Baker Stout, a current civic theater performer.
Ryckeghem, 25, was a University of Idaho student living in Moscow when he got involved with the theater, playing Marius in “Les Miserables” and performing in other musicals. He’s now working as an actor in New York City and recently finished touring the U.S. and Canada in a production of “The Sound of Music.” Inland 360 caught up with him by email to ask a few questions about what working with a community theater taught him.
How did you get involved with the Lewiston Civic Theatre?
I started seeing a girl at the University of Idaho who was involved with the civic in a production of “Legally Blonde.” When I went to see the show, I saw that “Les Miserables” (one of my favorite shows) was going to play the following season — I jumped on the opportunity to get involved.
What did your stint at the civic theater teach you?
I really hadn’t performed as a community before. Too often, there’s a competitive focus to performing, that can make a show process feel really lonely at times. The civic taught me that a cast/crew is not only a community and team, but a family as well. Everyone involved wants to create the most beautiful show they can, and that passion is exactly what brings everyone together.
What did you do after you left the area in order to pursue a career in theater?
My last performance at the civic was a benefit concert that helped me immensely in my ability to move to New York. I left to join the inaugural class at The Institute for American Musical Theater. During all of this, I was finishing my final year of studies online to receive my bachelor’s in psychology from the UI. The same week I came back to walk for commencement, I was notified that I had booked the national tour of “The Sound of Music.” Since then, I had my off-Broadway debut with an original show called “Medicine the Musical,” and worked on four not-yet-announced re-enactment episodes with the Travel Channel.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to move to New York and be a part of the theater scene?
Utilize your resources and STUDY! New York is a country of its own, as far as I’m concerned, and I felt sort of unprepared when I moved here because I didn’t really know anyone or know how to budge myself into the Broadway community. There are so many ways in, and New York is a city full of opportunity and resources.
What will you be doing at the civic theater gala?
I’m here to give back! This theater community has changed lives and given me a freedom and platform in which to find myself as a performer, and I want to show how. I love the Lewiston Civic Theatre, and I’m performing to reconnect with it and the community that energizes it.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Putting on the Glitz Gala” Lewiston Civic Theater annual fundraiser
WHEN: 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday, March 2
WHERE: Lindsay Creek Vineyards, 3107 Powers Ave., Lewiston
COST: $75, (208) 746-3401, lctheatre.org
OF NOTE: Admission includes two drink tickets, a 6:30 p.m. buffet dinner by Happy Day Catering, silent and live auctions and raffles.