"Beetlejuice" Star Presley Ryan, 17, Looks Back on Her Final Show: "The Gravity of It All Is Hitting Me Now"
“I definitely miss the whole schedule of it all. I miss going to school, and seeing my friends, and walking all the time,” she told Inside Edition Digital one year later.
It’s been a year since Presley Ryan, 17, has stepped on stage in a leading role on Broadway. No one had any idea it would mark a larger moment in history as well. Not only was it her last bow as Lydia Deetz in the musical adaptation of the 1988 cult classic film, but it was also the very last performance of the show on Broadway.
“It's so crazy. That whole day was a very significant day,” Ryan said, reflecting on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. That typical-turned-significant day for Presley started at 7:30 a.m. with a stop at Starbucks; followed by school, dance class, physical therapy, a warm up and a 7 p.m. curtain time at the Winter Garden Theatre, where “Beetlejuice” was playing.
Just two weeks earlier, it was announced Presley would be permanently taking over the role of Lydia until March 31. Her chance had come after spending nearly two years as an understudy for the part. Finally, Presley would get the bigger dressing room closer to the stage and her name would get top billing on the marquee and in the playbill. Most importantly, she was getting the chance to shine.
No show was scheduled to go on Wednesday, March 11, and then, on Thursday, March 12, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered Broadway shows to close their doors at 5 p.m. to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. New York City’s public schools closed shortly thereafter. Presley had nowhere to be but home.
“I definitely miss the whole schedule of it all. I miss going to school, and seeing my friends, and walking all the time,” she told Inside Edition Digital one year later. With more time at home, Presley’s found ways to stay in the game with virtual singing and dancing lessons. She also picked up tennis, something she normally wouldn’t have the time to do. “I learned that it's important to just continue to practice, learn as much as I can and to take advantage of this time," she said.
- <strong><em>For more on Presley's former routine, check out <a href="https://www.insideedition.com/media/videos/how-16-year-old-presley-ryan-spent-her-last-day-starring-in-beetlejuice-58975" target="_blank">the video </a>at the bottom of the page!</em></strong>
She also meticulously studied for the SATs. Presley had taken the PSATs not long before she sat down with Inside Edition Digital last year. “You’re supposed to take it cold, so you don't really prepare,” Presley said at the time. “It’s to see where you're at with everything. So I took the test and then I had to leave early for my matinee and so I bubbled in a bunch of answers and left.”
But now, the high school junior is going in more prepared. “I know what I'm doing now. I've taken this time to study and perfect everything, so now, hopefully, no, I will not bubble any random answers. I will know what the answer is and hopefully get a good score,” Presley said confidently.
“Beetlejuice’s” final performance at the Winter Garden Theatre was set for June 6. Since Broadway was still shut down, “Beetlejuice” never got to play its final show and Presley never got the chance to say goodbye or take her final bow.
“The gravity of it all is hitting me now,” she recalled, looking back at footage Inside Edition Digital shot of her day-in-the-life. In her dressing room, she had showed off a bag of letters and art from fans she said she needed to respond to. A year later, they sit in her bedroom closet unanswered, perhaps because of the loss the fan mail now in part represents.
“It was definitely heartbreaking,” Presley said of the difficulty of having to pack up her dressing room. “There's been so many memories I've had in the theater. So it was really hard. There was never really an end or closure to it all.”
When Broadway does reopen, the first thing Presley wants to do is see a Broadway show.
“The magic when you sit in the theater, the show starts and the orchestra starts playing -- It's this amazing feeling. To finally have shows open again and to be able to go back and see them or perform in them -- I can't wait for that day.”
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