In The Spotlight
May 3, 2023

Rylee Johnson

Rylee Johnson has been involved in theater since she was in 5th grade, when she debuted in a school reading of ‘A Christmas Carol’. She became a regular attendee of summer Acting Camps with Peter Daniels.
Header image

Starting in 2005 she began appearing very regularly in Island Players’ productions. That year she was in ‘An Evening of Laughter with David Ives’, followed by ‘Diary of Anne Frank’, a powerful play that she felt was very special to be part of.

2008 brought the musical ‘Oliver!’, one of the most popular of Island Players’ productions. Rylee portrayed ‘Artful Dodger’, perhaps her all-time favorite role.

In 2009 she was in three IP plays: ‘I Hate Hamlet’ (“a lot of fun.”); ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (a staged reading); and ‘Salute to Musical Comedy II’, in which she sang on stage for the first time. The next few years brought her performances in ‘Of Mice and Men’, 'The Dining Room’, in which she only had to play 8 different characters and  ‘Moon Over Buffalo’, a fun romp for everyone but Rylee: her character was unexpectedly pregnant and not happy about it.

2016: Rylee was the lead in ‘Dear Rhoda’, written by Donna Russell and Dave Ranney. This was a big role, another singing role, and Rhoda gets TB.

Rylee and Cindra in 'I Hate Hamlet'

As much as her time on stage, Rylee is very proud of her involvement in Children’s Acting Camp, which she has led for the last 5-6 years. “I like Acting Camp. I like creating space for children to be creative and gain confidence. to see a child go from being very shy and hesitant to wanting to be on stage, insisting on being on stage, is very rewarding.” In addition to acting, children get experience with making things- props, costumes, sets. Island Players feels very fortunate to have Rylee’s ongoing leadership in Acting Camp.

When asked what has kept her so involved with Island Players, she cited several things. “When you are in a play you make beautiful connections with people. You are working together to make something special. Getting feedback about doing a good performance is always nice.”

She was also motivated by the encouragement of Joyce Morehouse and Dave Ranney, who encouraged her to try out for roles and had confidence in her. Another favorite thing about being in a play with Joyce was having a ‘line rehearsal’ over a potluck dinner. Good food and theater: what could be better?