Magazine article The Sondheim Review

I Want to Do That

Magazine article The Sondheim Review

I Want to Do That

Article excerpt

Ron Loyd has built his career on "and" not "or"

As a boy in Texas, baritone Ron Loyd watched Stephen Sondheim's musicals on television, sparking a fascination that would lead to a career performing those same shows. "My first exposure," Loyd recalls, "was my mom giving me a VHS tape of the [Angela] Lans. bury/[George] Hearn Sweeney Todd. I looked at it and I thought, 'That's amazing.' Then Into the Woods came right after that, and watching Bernadette Peters, specifically when she's pleading with her daughter to stay and the transformation she goes through just with the way her expression changed, made me say, 'I want to do that!'"

Loyd has realized that youthful ambition: So far in his career he has played Sweeney Todd and the Baker in Woods as well as Fredrik Egerman in A Little Night Music, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Herbie in Gypsy and even the Captain in Candide. Non-Sondheim roles include Tevye, Henry Higgins and Harold Hill, but his repertory is not limited to American musicals. His operetta work encompasses Strauss and Lehar, Gilbert and Sullivan and even a zarzuela sung in the original Spanish, while his concert and opera appearances range from Bach, Handel and Mozart to Verdi and Puccini.

During high school and college, Loyd remained focused on a career in musical theatre. He made his initial foray into Sondheim at West Texas A&M University, playing Buddy Plummer in Follies. "It was an interesting first Sondheim exposure because it's so complex and has so many different layers and generations, but I was completely sold as to the whole magnificence of his creativity."

At this same time, however, opera presented itself as a possible calling. "When I originally started," Loyd explains, "I wanted to do musical theatre, but [the model then] was more of a Tommy Tune, tall, thin, lithe, dancer-y type, and I had this big voice that didn't always fit into an ensemble. I asked a few friends about career options, and it led to a position in the Fort Worth Opera chorus, which is where I fell in love with the opera." He subsequently made his professional debut with Amarillo Opera and began to perform at other regional companies. Nevertheless, musical theatre continued to beckon, with Sondheim again providing the spark: "I did [Count] Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music at Brevard [Music Center in North Carolina]. …

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