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Q. and A. with Ryan Landry

April 18th, 2011

With spring comes the return of Provincetown’s creative folks from their winter venues. Back from a fabulous season in Boston, Ryan Landry graciously accepted my invitation to chat about his upcoming season with the Gold Dust Orphans.

''My plays are simply the great works of the past reflected in the funhouse mirror that is my mind.''

Q: I hear rumors that you are bringing “Peter Pansy” to the Crown and Anchor’s stage this season. Is it true? Tell us something titillating about this summer’s production.

A: Well, the show is based on "Peter Pan", of course, and, per usual, the audience can expect to have a swell time! I'm very excited that Jackie Beat is returning to Provincetown this year and joining the Gold Dust Orphans. Ms. Beat is playing the role of Mrs. Darling. There will be other celebrity surprises, but no news on that until it's confirmed. The costumes, sets and props are very "Sid and Marty Kroft", totally fun and top notch. In short, people are sure to have a ball and that's all we really care about. After all, the audience is King and The Gold Dust Orphans NEVER disappoint!

Q: Ryan, you have elevated female impersonators from lip-synch "artists" to talented ingénues of the stage. What inspired you to create gender bending parodies like “The Gulls”?

A: The fact that the films were already made and I knew that I would never, ever be in them! When I was a kid, I always dreamed that one day I would actually be able to walk onto the screen at the movies or into the TV set at home. I thought that if I concentrated hard enough, I could live "inside" this world that I longed for. So, it naturally followed that as I got older, I realized that entering this magical world would never be possible. I had no choice but to create my own "Homemade Hollywood". My plays are simply the great works of the past reflected in the funhouse mirror that is my mind.

Q: The Gold Dust Orphans have won numerous awards in Boston, including two Elliot Norton Awards last season, one for Larry Coen’s directorial work and the other for Varla Jean Merman’s musical performance in “Phantom of the Oprah”. How fantastic. Is this the first time that you have worked with Varla Jean?

A: No. Jeff and I have been friends for many years. In fact, about twelve years ago, I was riding my motorcycle on Route 6 in Truro and was hit (on the 4th of July, mind you) by a drunk driver. I landed in the hospital for over a week. At the time, I was doing my country western musical, "Joan of Arkansas". Jeff (Varla) was kind enough to step into the lead. He learned the entire part of Joan and all the songs in just a few days. I will never forget his kindness to me. Jeff, (Varla) always has a place with The Orphans and in my heart. Not to mention we have an absolute ball together! This fall, Jeff will join the Orphans in our production on "The Rocky Horror Show" in Boston.

Q: Showgirls, your Monday night talent show, is hilarious! Tell me one of your favorite stories.

A: One of the happiest memories was when the pregnant lady went into labor and had to be rushed to the hospital. The baby arrived just fine I am told.

I really can't tell you which memories are my favorites just as there have been by now literally hundreds of fantastic nights at "SHOWGIRLS". It is the longest running show in Provincetown history, after all. My advice to anyone who has never seen it is: "You just have to go." That's why I insist on keeping the prices low so that people can come back every week and "collect 'em all".

This year Dina and I are planning all sorts of she-nanigans that I may not discuss at this time. However, I do promise that 2011 will be the best year ever at "SHOWGIRLS".

Q: You recently bought a very old house with your equally talented husband Scott Martino on Baker Street. Are there ghosts?

A: Without a doubt. And, they're all old friends.

Peter Pansy opens Friday, May 6th in Boston and Tuesdays at the Crown and Anchor starting June 28th. Join their Facebook page!

Artistic bon vivant Laura Shabott loves to pen “Notes from Lands End”, a weekly vignette about the events, people and places that make Provincetown so special.

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