Today’s Five Question Friday- Riley Dunn!
Riley is a singer, actor and dancer from St. Louis., Missouri. Most recently he performed as Ishmael in the workshop production of the new musical “The Gringo” by Colin Healy at COCA. Riley is an avid performer with a heavy emphasis in musical theatre. His favorite roles include Enjolras in “Les Miserables” and Joseph in “Joseph and… Dreamcoat.” He is the frontman of local band, The Major Arcana. Riley has studied music theory and theatre at East Central College in Union, Missouri under Grace Austin and Tim Sexton.
Q: What was your first experience in theatre?
My first experience in theatre was as a Junior in High School. I had been in choir all the years prior, but had never entertained the idea of dancing or singing in front of people. I used to play football in high school and I remember our team held the record for most consecutive games without a single win… four years I think it was. My choir teacher approached me and asked if I’d be interested and I said, it’s got to have a better outcome than football! I played Eli Whitney in “Anything Goes” and I remember the glasses they had me wear made me basically blind and I almost fell down the stairs on our set quite a few times.
Q: What is the best piece of career advice anyone has ever given you?
“Go out there, and just do your thing. You won’t dwell on it in a year from now so it doesn’t really matter. Have fun with what you’re doing.” It was in regards to auditioning. I always used to get so flustered thinking about me vs. them when it came to auditions. I learned to let that go and have fun while you sing your songs, read your sides and dance your combinations. That’s what people want to see anyway I think. You having fun and telling your stories.
Q: Tell us about a backstage or onstage mishap you lived through.
During a run of “Crazy for You” a friend of mine and I were supposed to strike a bench from the stage. At the time, we had a table in place of a bench for rehearsal purposes. We had just made the transition to cowboy boots so the grips weren’t the same as our tennis shoes. The time comes, we both grab a side of the table, and I start back-peddling as my friend begins running forward only to lose his footing and eat it during the tag of a song. Instead of checking to see if he’s okay, I booked it off with the table in tow and he crawled off after me. (Disclaimer from Grace- I directed this show…and I was filming rehearsal when this happened- you can view the moment in all its glory here. Skip to :18)
Q: What is your dream role/show?
Right now, it’s probably a toss-up between Shakespeare (Something Rotten), Eddie (Dogfight) or Elder Price (Book of Mormon)
Q: What is your current guilty TV Pleasure?
Definitely Shameless. Hands down. I had never even heard of that show before a month ago and I am HOOKED. I want to be Lip Gallagher when I grow up.
Thank you Riley!!
Grace Austin is an STL area director and educator.
See her work at gracemaustin.com