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Young actor ready to shine on Prizery stage

Beginner’s luck.  By definition it’s good fortune that befalls an individual who has just begun a new pursuit.

For Ryan Patrick Crawford, the title character in The Prizery’s Summer Theatre Celebration’s production of “Oliver,” call it what you will — but he’ll take all the breaks he can get.

Ryan, a Danville native, is having many firsts in headlining the cast of “Oliver!,” based on Charles Dickens’ classic tale, “Oliver Twist.”  Auditioning for the first time, he was cast for the first time to participate in his first theatrical production.  In addition, this will be his first foray into singing as he has not had any previous vocal lessons.

Crawford said, “I auditioned to be in ‘Oliver’ because I thought it would be fun. Hannah Breen (also in the production) goes to Sacred Heart School with me. Hannah told me about the audition, and I knew right away that I wanted to be Oliver.”         

Chris Jones, who is directing “Oliver!” and the other Summer Theatre Celebration shows, said of Crawford, “Ryan, has great confidence.  I was surprised to see how comfortable he was at the piano with Jon Latane at his vocal audition and then with Brad Bass at the dance audition.  Ginny Bogart, our costumer, cried when he sang ‘Where is Love.’  That was the moment that I knew, Ryan would be Oliver Twist!”

Though Crawford is not a trained singer or dancer, he’s certainly musical — having taken piano lessons for some time.

 “I have never taken vocal lessons but my piano teacher, Mike Bennington, is a former vocal coach. When Mr. ‘B’ [Bennington] found out that I got the role of Oliver, he started helping me practice,” Crawford said.

Though young, Crawford is very eager to show the community his many abilities.

 “I am most looking forward to performing on stage in front of my family, friends and the community,” he said.

When not studying lines or learning lyrics to the many songs in the show, Crawford enjoys reading, tennis and golfing with his dad.

While certainly the character of Oliver and Crawford are similar in age, Crawford does not believe they share many commonalities.  

He said, “I think I am very different from Oliver. I feel very loved by all of my family. I am lucky that I have never felt hungry or alone.  In ‘Oliver!’, there are children who are hungry and feel unloved. I don’t think anyone should ever feel this way; no matter how old they are.”

Come and see stage newbie Ryan Crawford in the beloved “Oliver” on the Chastain Theatre stage at The Prizery in downtown South Boston. 

The Prizery’s 2013 Summer Theatre Celebration opens Thursday with “Oliver” and will be followed by a musical revue titled “Red, White, & Broadway” and “Legally Blonde.”