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TAAP CLASS 2017: Kayla Ryan Walsh, Performance Apprentice

July 12, 2017

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There comes a time (or multiple instances, really) that you feel the stars aligning for you for whatever reason; you try to look back and see everything you could’ve possibly done to lead you to this moment in time, but you draw a complete blank and suppose it must be fate or some otherworldly moving mechanism in this giant machine called ‘life’; but in reality, it’s because it was meant to happen.

This opportunity with Theatre Aspen has been the most ‘stars aligning’ moment I’ve had thus far in the beginning stages of my career as a performer, and I can’t help but think everyday, “I’m here. I was chosen for a reason. There must be a reason why I’m here in this gorgeous place working with fantastic people. It must be fate or destiny, or both!” I find myself constantly pinching various parts of my body in hopes of waking myself up from this dream, and I’m always completely elated to realize this is no dream, I just happen to be in OZ 24/7.

My audition for Theatre Aspen has been my most memorable yet: I auditioned in New York and naturally in ‘Important Audition Day Fashion” I had a dress malfunction and my dress zipper imploded, exploded, and practically disintegrated literally minutes before my audition, so I whip on my Nancy Drew thinking cap together and fashion the most absurd, hilarious and poorly constructed dress clasper known to mankind. The lovely girl behind the desk at Pearl Studios offered her sweater to me, and I walked into the room hoping for the absolute best because clearly it was ‘all up from here!’

Flash forward to a few days later having my callback, and I’ll never forget hearing the wonderful Mark Martino say “Ewwwww” on one of my bizarre acting choices, and Paige Price remembering my Apprentice audition video and telling me in the room, “OH MY GOD YOU’RE HIRED!” Little did I know that a job offer would truly be sent my way (just as Paige had said!) in just two short weeks. Is that destiny, or what? Yes there was crying. Yes there was jumping up and down. Yes there was the ‘They like me. They really really like me’ moment.  This was supposed to happen.

The rest is history!

Each day has little hidden joys: from waking up and hearing birds chirping outside my window, to chatting it up with our fantastic staff behind the scenes, to having the most wonderful time in a dream show of mine and having the most hysterical partner in crime, Michael Gorman, who always puts the biggest smile on my face, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with joy on the daily. How lucky am I to say that?

I truly feel overwhelmed with joy every single day. Each and every member of this team and community have opened their arms, hearts, and homes to us, and I truly can’t think of a more welcoming place for young artists to feel safe to explore, grow, fail, and learn. Magic is made here. Maybe it’s in the water, or maybe, just maybe… it’s Theatre Aspen. 

To each and every person who has made Theatre Aspen magic over the years, and will continue doing so, I can’t help but thank you for including me in your legacy. It means more than you know.

All my love and then some,

Kayla Ryan Walsh


“Just remember you had an ‘and,’ when you’re back to ‘or,’
Makes the ‘or’ mean more than it did before.
Now I understand—
And it’s time to leave the woods” - Stephen Sondheim