Graduating senior plans to open theater company

By Jacqueline Dautel |

Ryan Antony Nicotra, a Flagler College theater major, is still pursuing knowledge after graduating this spring.

“I feel ready,” he said, “but I know there’s so much more that I need to learn for myself that no school can really teach me.”

Nicotra has acted in numerous productions at Flagler. Some of them include the works of “Fat Pig,” “Carousel,” “Sure Thing,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Medea.” He is currently featured in “Dark of the Moon” which is playing in the Flagler Auditorium from March 3 to March 13.

Prompted by a phone call placed by his mother to his high school theater teacher, Nicotra began ripping tickets, ushering and building sets for school productions. Once he caught the bug, he knew he wanted to be on stage.

“I had to cry and sing a cappella my first show,” he said. “I probably butchered the role, but the feeling I got by being on stage was a tremendous release.”

After receiving a pamphlet about the program from his grandparents, who were vacationing in St. Augustine, Nicotra said he decided to attend Flagler College. He made the move from Bel Air, Md. to Florida in hopes of getting a job with Disney. He said he auditioned for them last semester, but measured 5 feet 10 inches, an inch below their height requirement to be a character performer.

Since then, he said attending Flagler has opened his eyes to more than just acting. As part of his curriculum, he was required to take courses in design and directing, he said. He said the faculty and instruction has solidified his interest in all things theater.

“The faculty is great. They have impressive resumes and they all know what they’re talking about,” he said. “Andrea McCook is a very difficult grader, but it makes it that much better when you do well in her class because you feel like you really earned it.”

Following his return to Maryland, Nicotra plans to start up a theater company of his own. His goal is to support himself by bringing great theater to audiences in his area. Bel Air is located directly in the center of big cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York City, but they have no source of professional theater.

“The only thing that people are really exposed to is cheesy musicals,” he said. “I want to start producing important contemporary works and draw upon international and avant garde influences.”

He plans to hit the ground running this summer by directing “Reasons to be Pretty” by contemporary playwright Neil LaBute. He is in the process of researching venues but he is not opposed to the idea of holding his productions in a church basement.

“It could be anywhere and I love that. I want to take people out of their comfort zone and shake them up,” he said. “I’m more than happy to ruffle a few feathers.”

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