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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Ryan DeLuca finds his way in ‘Lost in Yonkers’

Maxx Carlisle-King, Kate Goehring and Ryan DeLuca in Arizona Theatre Companys Lost in Yonkers.
Maxx Carlisle-King, Kate Goehring and Ryan DeLuca in Arizona Theatre Company’s Lost in Yonkers.

What does the average UA student know about theater? Answer: nothing, pretty much. We’ve seen enough movies about a shy girl/boy who moves to LA and just happens to get noticed by an agent after weeks of rejections. There are auditions, dress rehearsals and whatever “”cold reading”” is.  Seems chilly, not to mention somewhat depressing and exhausting.

But that’s not t he case with Ryan DeLuca. Pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting at the UA, DeLuca explains the auditioning process as grueling, but extremely rewarding. However, it’s taken him far.

He’s landed a role in Neil Simon’s masterwork, “”Lost in Yonkers,”” staged by the Arizona Theatre Company at the Temple of Music and Art. The show officially opens tonight, and runs through March 19.  

“”I’ve always wanted to do a Neil Simon show,”” DeLuca said. Lucky for him, his chance came when the director of “”Lost in Yonkers,”” Samantha Wyer, remembered him from earlier interactions at the UA. After auditioning with a handful of other actors, he found himself hired.

DeLuca plays Jay, a 15-year-old who, along with his little brother, gets left in the care of a strong-willed grandmother in New York during World War II. The conflict of the play revolves around trying to keep a family functioning in a troubling time and fighting life’s struggles with love. DeLuca described Jay as a character with a full range of emotions, facing extreme, overwhelming grief, but possessing an incredible wit that springs up in the most unlikely of places.  

“”He (Jay) is on the brink of thinking he’s a grown-up,”” DeLuca said. Confident and self-assured, Jay still doesn’t possess the full sensor that accompanies adulthood.

“”I think his biggest attribute is his need to protect his brother. He needs to protect his family.””

According to DeLuca, the difficulty in playing Jay stems from having to return back to the youth and innocence of high school. Preparing for the role necessitates turning back the clock for seven years. A young, fresh face certainly helps.

While DeLuca has read the majority of Simon’s work, “”Lost in Yonkers”” is one of his favorites, especially the 1993 film adaptation.

“”It took a long time getting the movie out of my head,”” DeLuca said in response to how he embodies Jay’s character. However, forced to provide justification for all actions, he couldn’t rely upon the film’s interpretation. Between multiple readings in front of friends and professors, DeLuca’s portrayal evolved into something organic and original.

“”Now I can’t even remember the movie.””  

DeLuca lamented that theater has taken a backseat to movies and television. “”Young people experience something that can’t be matched here,”” he said. And he’s right. There’s no television screen separating the audience from the action. Each audience reacts differently to the performance, almost becoming one more character for the actor to interact with.  

“”It’s a chance to get away from the world and have a laugh,”” DeLuca said.

His role in “”Lost in Yonkers”” will definitely help him as he follows his aspirations of being a professional actor. Upon graduating in May, he’ll be leaving for New York City. Have no fear, he has a few prospects up his sleeve and is just gutsy enough to follow his passion. “”If you can push forward, want it enough, and are good, it’ll work out.””

If he pursues his aspirations with the same tenacity as Jay, the stage hasn’t seen the last of Deluca just yet.

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