Ryan Townsend – portraying Matthew Shepard

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Ryan Townsend was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It was there that he developed a passion for music and telling stories. This led him to study at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University where he earned his BFA in voice performance while taking classes at the elite drama school. In school he performed L’Incoronazione di Poppea(Valetto), Street Scene (Daniel Buchanan), Dialogues of the Carmelites (Le Chevalier), The Mikado (Nanki-Poo). After graduating from University, Ryan moved back to Philadelphia where he enjoyed being on the operatic and musical theater stage. His professional debut was with OperaDelaware in their production of La Traviata (Gastone). He continued working with OperaDelaware in The Merry Widow (St. Brioche) and The Magic Flute (Monostatos). He also performed Falstaff (Fenton), A Little Night Music (Henrik), the world premiere of Coming: A Rock Musical of Biblical Proportions (Death/Israfil), as well as a national tour of Ellis Island (Hjordis).

Ryan has spent many summers with The Broadway Dreams Foundation, most notably in the inaugural summer intensive in Los Angeles, at which he was directed by Emmy nominated choreographer, Spencer Liff, as the Duke in a stage adaptation of Moulin Rouge. Through Broadway Dreams, he has had the pleasure to work with industry greats such as Tituss Burgess, Richard Jay Alexander, Alice Ripley, Tony Vincent, and Eden Espinoza, to name a few.

Ryan gained an interest in learning more about the singing voice and moved to Miami to study at the Frost School of Music at The University of Miami where he graduated with an MM in voice performance in 2015. While at school, Ryan performed Gianni Schicchi (Rinuccio),Jackie O (JFK), Nicky (Avenue Q), as well as scenes from La Boheme (Rodolfo) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lysander). His professional South Florida credits includeCharlotte’s Web (Avery), Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Peter) Actor’s Playhouse and[title of show] (Jeff) Area Stage Company.

Ryan is the Educational Program Coordinator and maintains a busy voice studio at the Area Stage Company. He is also an adjunct faculty at the New World School of the Arts teaching music theory.

He is thrilled to be premiering this role, to sing this beautiful music, and to tell this important story. Thank you to Birgit, Michael, Gordon and everyone at Opera Fusion for this opportunity. Shout out to Ana, Tony, and Chris: the best mentors and teachers a guy could ask for!

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