The Baldwin Wallace University music theatre graduating class

As he and his classmates prepped for showcase, Colton Ryan learned he would go on in the title role of the Broadway hit musical "Dear Evan Hansen."

BW Music Theatre Senior Showcase Includes Surprise Broadway Debut for One Classmate

April 12, 2017

The Baldwin Wallace University music theatre graduating class

Senior Showcase week for the BW music theatre graduating class is always high drama as the seniors strut their stuff for packed houses of New York agents and producers at New World Stages, along with a performance at 54 Below and more. Most, if not all, of the BW Class of 2017, will end up signing with agents. Such is the caliber and track record of BW music theatre.

A notice in Sunday's Playbill announces Colton Ryan is playing Evan HansenBut this year’s showcase added an unexpected and exciting twist to an already dramatic showcase script. Colton Ryan '17, who’s been finishing his degree working at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre as the standby for lead (and two other roles) in the critically acclaimed, Tony-frontrunner, "Dear Evan Hansen," got the call on Sunday that he would go on in the title role. The timing gave his BW professors and classmates (who could wrangle a ticket) the chance to witness and celebrate his Broadway debut!

Teacher in Tears

BW music theatre director Victoria Bussert was bursting with pride and welling up with tears as she witnessed another BW performer take his place on The Great White Way. "I’m a mess," she reported on social media. "The women sitting next to me are very understanding."

May 2017 BW music theatre graduate Colton RyanRyan told his hometown Lexington, Kentucky newspaper earlier this year that working with and understudying "Dear Evan Hansen" star Ben Platt, "is like having a master class every day."

Before he left for Broadway, BW audiences got a chance to see Ryan in BW’s fall 2016 production of "West Side Story" and he made sure to ask "Dear Evan Hansen" for the opportunity to participate in his senior showcase with his classmates this week.

BW Music Theatre grads and undergrads on stage

Ryan is the latest, but by no means the only, BW grad to grace the stages of Broadway and beyond. Check out this Buzzfeed list of 19 recent shows, from New York to London, featuring BW music theatre talent.

As part of showcase week, some of those successful BW alumni and the 2017 graduating seniors will come together for a "Broadway Sessions" performance, on Thursday, April 13 at the Laurie Beechman Theater inside The West Bank Café.

Participating alumni include include Broadway favorite and Legends of Tomorrow (on the CW) star Ciara Renee.