||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (August 2014)|
December 12, 1978
Whittier, California, USA
|Occupation||Actor, Singer, Playwright, Comedian|
Ryan Knowles (born December 12, 1978 in California) is an American actor, singer, comedian, writer, and television host.
Knowles was born and grew up in Orange County, California. In addition to acting, Knowles is a speech and performance coach for students, politicians and business leaders.
New York Theatre
Knowles just finished a year on the North American leg of the World Tour 2013/2014 of We Will Rock You!. the world-wide smash-hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton. Knowles originated the role of "Buddy," a lovable stoner in the vein of Cheech & Chong; a cross between Hans Solo and Willie Nelson, a Bohemian Rebel Leader, for the wonderfully silly, futuristic rock saga. Ben Elton, the book writer and director of the production, wrote the part in rehearsals to be tailor made for Knowles.
Off-Broadway, Knowles was last seen in the award-winning off-Broadway topical revue NEWSical:The Musical at Theatre Row's Kirk Theatre, alongside stars Christine Pedi, Michael West, Christina Bianco, Tommy Walker and guest stars Perez Hilton, Andrea McArdle, Cheri Oteri and Carson Kressley.
In spring 2010, he starred as the perverted and tyrannical Roman Emperor Caligula in Randy Weiner's (The Donkey Show) and Alfred Preisser's Caligula Maximus, a new circus/musical/extravaganza at La MaMa ETC in the Ellen Stewart Theatre, to great critical acclaim.
In 2006, Knowles starred as "Prospero" in the new musical, Tempest at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. He adapted the text from Shakespeare's original and co-wrote the book with Daniel Neiden, working from a concept by Tony-winning book writer Thomas Meehan.
Knowles appeared in the New York premiere of the new mystery Hound portraying Sherlock Holmes, a role which won him the award for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity.
Knowles performed in the North American tours of the Broadway production of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! in 2011 and 2010, playing the role of "Grandpa Who" and "Grinch u/s."
In winter 2009, Knowles toured the country in Todrick Hall's Oz the Musical as "Brenda," the "Wicked Witch of the West Side," alongside Vonzell Solomon of American Idol, Aundrea Fimbres of Danity Kane, and Orlando Brown of Disney's That's So Raven.
In 2006 and 2007, Knowles starred as "The Genie" is Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular at Disney California Adventure Park, the multi-million dollar stage production based on the Disney animated film and directed by Francesca Zambello (Broadway's "The Little Mermaid").
The author of several plays and musicals, Knowles completed a workshop production of his solo show, DIG AND BE DUG: The Gospel of Lord Buckley, based on the life and work of the pioneering jazz comedian Lord Buckley. The show had its World Premiere run as part of the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity in June 2010 at the Gene Frankel Theatre in New York City. The production, written and performed by Knowles, directed by David Kraft and presented by Jenny Cook and INTERprod Theatre, received five Planet Award nominations and was honored with two wins for Best Overall Production of a Solo Show and Best Performance in a Solo Show.
In 2006, Knowles was brought on as a Host of Nickelodeon's daily live show ME:TV, entertaining millions of children nationwide every week day.
In 2008, Knowles filmed his first feature, Camp Hell, a supernatural thriller from Holedigger Films. The film also stars Academy Award-nominee Bruce Davison and Emmy-winner Dana Delany. The film had a 2011 theatrical release.
In addition to performing, Knowles is a speech coach and political consultant. He has worked as a speech writer and debate/vocal coach for numerous local and state candidates nationwide. Also, Knowles is one of the country's foremost consultants in Speech and Interpretive Performance for competitive high school students. He is employed by a number of top high school programs, both public and private, on both coasts. Knowles is the co-founder (with David Kraft) of Interprod Performance Studies Institute in Boston, Massachusetts; a summer intensive program for gifted young performers. This line of work was inspired by Knowles' success as a high school and collegiate speech and debate competitor, during which time he won numerous State and National Championships, as well as becoming the first American in history to win a World Championship at the 2000 World Universities Debate Association Championship Tournament at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Clifford Johnson III wrote in Back Stage on March 22, 2010, "[The Producers] wisest decision is in the casting of Ryan Knowles. He carries the entire production on his slim shoulders, imbuing [it] with charisma, intelligence, tenderness, and a sense of irony."
Dan Bacalzo wrote on TheatreMania.com on March 21, 2010, "Knowles takes control of the stage...[he] has a dynamic presence and an appropriately seedy charisma. He also has a deep baritone which he utilizes to good effect."
Mark Roberson writes on NYTheatre.com on March 19, 2010, "Ryan Knowles is perfect. Made up as a Jagger-Hedwig hybrid, Knowles moves between his songs and speeches with ease, hitting all the right moments. We are enthalled..with him, and always interested."
Jason Clark writes in Slant Magazine on March 23, 2010, "Playing the titular self-created deity with a cheeky, pervy, party-boy hauteur, not unlike Cabaret's furtive Emcee, the brave, highly attention-catching Ryan Knowles lords over a most unruly evening."
Lauren Wissot writes on TheatreOnline.com on March 22, 2010, "The Mick Jagger-resembling Ryan Knowles [is] a charismatic performer who has both played villains and done time as a Nickelodeon TV show host...[He] is one big, punk rock smackdown answer to sissy hippie 'Hair.'"
Mark Blankenship wrote in Variety on July 18, 2005: "For sheer solo star power, however, no one tops Ryan Knowles as Bottom. The dexterity in his voice is astonishing, gliding from a twitter to wall-shattering thunder. His body contorts into countless postures of clownish arrogance without signs of effort. His fluidity and precision make him captivating to watch, suggesting he has a major career in the making."
The New Yorker proclaimed on July 11, 2005: “Ryan Knowles steals the show with his braying, rubber-limbed portrayal of the vainglorious Bottom. His thundering voice, relentless moue-making, and mammoth charisma are a cartoony cocktail of Jim Carrey and Snagglepuss, with a little speed thrown in.”
Barbara and Scott Siegel wrote Theatermania.com on August 2, 2005: "Ryan Knowles is simply a dynamo of talent as Bottom; a combination of a young Peter O'Toole and Jim Carrey, he can seemingly do anything with his voice and his body...[A performer] so electric that you know you are catching [a] future star early in [his] career."
Mark Dundas Wood wrote in Back Stage on March 31, 2005: “You’ll have to stop to applaud the gifted Ryan Knowles, perhaps the lankiest actor ever to play the role of Bottom. Knowles has a voice that fairly booms and a face that stretches like Dubble Bubble. He seems to have stepped out of lost footage from cartoonist Tex Avery.”
- Lortel Archives-The Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Ryan Knowles at the Internet Movie Database
- Jason Clark. "Sex and Violence in Downtown NYC: Caligula Maximus and Alice in Slasherland". Slant.
- Blankenship, Mark (July 18, 2005). "Fools in Love". Variety.
- Crazy For You: The Siegel Column on TheaterMania.com
External Links and Further Reading
- Ryan Knowles at the Internet Movie Database
- Full Review: Variety, "Fools In Love"
- Full Review: Theatremania, "Fools In Love"
- Theatre footage of Ryan Knowles as The Genie on YouTube
- "Burning Bridges with Nick Bottom" Blog
- Planet Connections Theatre Festivity Awards
- "Caligula Maximus" Website
- "DIG & BE DUG: The Gospel of Lord Buckley" Show Web Site