Lexington native Colton Ryan talks about Tony nomination

He is being hailed as Broadway’s “it” actor right now. Lexington native Colton Ryan is taking the Big Apple by storm.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 6:14 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - He is being hailed as Broadway’s “it” actor right now. Lexington native Colton Ryan is taking the Big Apple by storm.

Ryan is starring in a new hit musical, and this weekend, he will learn if he picks up his first-ever Tony award.

Recently WKYT’s Amber Philpott sat down with Ryan to talk about his success and why he credits so much of it to his roots here in the Bluegrass.

Colton Ryan is living out his dream on Broadway and starring in one of the hottest musicals in “New York, New York.”

“It is a big, big musical. It’s got no apologies about it, and it’s written like the best of them. It’s written by the best of them. It’s by John Kander and the late Fred Ebb, who made Chicago, Cabaret and the list goes on,” said Colton Ryan.

“New York, New York” is set in 1946 after World War II, Ryan plays Jimmy, a struggling musician who meets his match in a singer who is shooting for the stars, but Ryan says this musical is about so much more.

“We all did it with the intention we were trying to write a love letter to this city. This city which I think is more of a state of mind and is a point of pride for people all around this country,” said Ryan.

It is a role of a lifetime and one that brought about Ryan’s first-ever Tony nomination at the age of just 27.

Ryan admits he never dreamed it was possible and was actually at home when the news came.

“I just kept trying to fain being asleep while my fiancé watched pretty anxiously, and then she screamed at me, and I went ‘no,’ and she went ‘yes,’ and I was like ‘no, you are messing with me’ and then my dogs jumped on top of me, and then I called my mom and my sister,” said Ryan.

The show itself is nominated for nine Tony Awards this year, something Ryan was happy to share with the people who he says make it all possible, the audience.

“Today we are full of oodles and doodles of joy because it was a very special day. We were nominated for 9 Tony Awards,” said Ryan.

For Ryan, who got his start at the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) in Lexington, it is not lost on him that the success he is seeing today came from those in his beloved hometown who supported him along the way.

If it wasn’t for SCAPA, if it wasn’t for GSA, if it wasn’t for my college if it wasn’t for arts education in general, I would not be the man that I am today, I wouldn’t love myself the way I do,” said Ryan.

And just as a song says in the musical, so many are cheering for Colton Ryan.

Ever so humble, he says no matter if he hears his name called Sunday, he is already a winner.

“This recognition, I think, was hard fought, and I’m so terribly proud of it, so win, lose or draw, I’m sure I’ll lose, and I’ll be very happy still,” said Ryan.

Colton Ryan got his start on Broadway when he was 21 years old to be a part of the cast of Dear Evan Hanson.

WKYT asked Ryan what is next, and he basically said, “New York, New York,” meaning he is focused only on his current show. That could all change for Ryan, though, if he wins this weekend.

The 76th Tony Awards air Sunday night on WKYT at 8 p.m.