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Lexington native goes from Broadway to the big screen

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 4:10 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - For Colton Ryan, the Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen, will always have a special place in his heart.

“I have been so connected to the show. It was my first professional job ever. At least at that magnitude,” Colton said.

The 26-year-old thought he had left the show, which won six Tonys in 2017, in his past. That was until a feature film version was announced.

“I thought, ‘Well, it just won’t work out that way. We won’t meet again in this lifetime,’” Colton said.

The film opens this weekend, with Colton as one of the stars.

His teachers at Lexington’s School for Creative and Performing Arts told us they couldn’t be happier for his success.

“I can picture him from when I had him in my class to now, and just how he’s grown,” said Beth Randolph, Colton’s 5th-grade teacher and speech team coach.

“I just about every year play a recording of him singing Bring Him Home for my students. Because I want them to know you know this could be you. And they are in awe,” drama teacher Alberta Labrillazo said.

His mom, Kathryn Ryan, said that support helped Colton stay on track in an industry where so many fall by the wayside.

“We’re very fortunate that we’ve had so many great people here in Lexington, in the arts community and teaching community, and I just called them our village. We have a lot of villagers,” said Kathryn.

Talking to us from a hotel room the morning after the film’s premier, Colton said he was excited for those villagers to watch the finished product.

“I can’t emphasize enough how much that arts education, and sort of like really thriving art scene in Lexington, is what essentially instilled a real hunger and passion for me at least to want to really pursue this,” Colton said.

“The thing I love about him, and I mean this sincerely, is he is so humble today,” Randolph said.

Ryan’s next role is in the HULU series The Girl from Plainville, where he’ll be starring with Elle Fanning.

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