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ARTIST PROFILE: For actor Tyler Nye, it’s about the quality of the work

September 1, 2017
By STEVE LESTER - Correspondent ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID-Recent productions at Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake - including "Death Trap," "Disgraced," "Mozart and Salieri," "Baskerville," "Around the World in 80 Days," "Shipwrecked," and "Tintypes" - all have one thing in common.

Tyler Nye.

The 30-year-old Keene native is a fixture on the Tri-Lakes area stage when he's not in New York City performing in off-Broadway productions. When given the opportunity to blow his own horn and explain why all the casting directors in the area seem to want him in their plays, he struggles to find the appropriate words.

Article Photos

Tyler Nye
(Provided photo — Steve Lester)

But the answer may lie in a simple question. Who else around here can play everybody from Teddy Roosevelt to Wolfgang Mozart to a hyperactive tail wagging dog as convincingly as this guy?

"That dog in 'Shipwrecked,'" he said referring to a 2012 Pendragon production, "I'll never live that down. People still approach me about that, but that's OK. I love it."

If nothing else, Nye brings versatility to the stage. He also brings, in his own words, openness, willingness, dedication and the desire to find the right people to work with.

"It's also about being kind and grateful," he said. "Actors are the kindest and most empathetic people I've ever met in a genuine way."

Leslie Dame, another fixture on the Pendragon stage, said, "He is a joy to work with because he is always so present and in the moment on stage allowing for the all-important give-and-take that makes working with him and watching him so much fun. He has a great blend of professionalism, respect and sense of humor."

And who else can do all this while being reliable enough to learn his lines, show up for rehearsal and check his ego at the door when it comes to taking direction?

"Tyler 'takes direction' very well," said Kim Bouchard in a text message. She recently directed him in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Disgraced."

"But it is HOW he does that is remarkable," she said. "To every role he commits to the specifics of that particular character. He does his work with intelligence, integrity and a deep understanding of the truths of human behavior. He is also fearless in his willingness to explore the craft of acting that requires the actor to reveal the most difficult of emotional and psychological states. Yes, he is awesome. I'll work with him any chance I get."

So with all this talent and desire to work well with directors, his agent must be pounding down doors all over New York to get him into big bucks productions.

Not so fast.

First of all, no agent.

Second, "If you're doing it for the money, then you're in the wrong business," he said.

For Nye, it's all about the quality of the work rather than its proximity to Broadway.

"I love New York, but I also love coming up here," he said. "New York is an exciting place to be, but I don't want to stay there all the time. I just want to continue to do good plays."

Nye said he would rather appear in a good quality play at Pendragon Theatre, such as "Disgraced" or "Death Trap" than do a so-so play on Broadway.

"It's more about the quality of the work," he said.

And there's one more thing, a concept that was stressed in New York during a six-week Shakespeare intensive that he describes as "incredible and immeasurable in terms of the experience and training I was looking for."


"Do it because it makes you happy," he said. "That's my lesson for a young person doing anything in the arts."

Nye got his first bug for acting in kindergarten when he played the wicked witch in a "Wizard of Oz" adaptation performed at a class graduation ceremony.

"I just had an imagination as a little kid that I've never grown out of, and I hope I never do," he said.

When asked for a big ah-ha moment when he suddenly decided he wanted to be an actor, Nye said it never happened because he doesn't remember ever wanting to do anything else. He never wanted to model himself after another actor either. Instead of wanting to be the second Robin Williams, to whom he has been compared along with Philip Seymour Hoffman, he just wanted to be the first Tyler Nye.

Concerning Hoffman, however, he said he does try to abide by a certain example he set.

"He played creeps, but he didn't play them creepily," he said.

Nye applied this approach to his character "Abe" in "Disgraced," a character he described as "a total a-hole," but not a one-dimensional character devoid of human qualities.

On the other end of the spectrum, he played Maj. Gen. Stanley in Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance" when he was in eighth grade. By the time he was out of high school, he had performed in "Grease," "The Crucible," "Diary of Anne Frank," "Chicago," "Cabaret," "West Side Story," "Anything Goes" and more.

"I was very active with the Essex theater company during high school," he explained.

While earning his degree in theater arts at SUNY Plattsburgh, Nye directed Edward Albee's "The Goat," collaborated on an original adaptation to "Alice In Wonderland" and performed in what he said was his most challenging role.

"Oddly enough, it was Sky Masterson in 'Guys and Dolls,'" he said.

Nye said "oddly enough" because his resume doesn't include many lead roles, but mostly character/supporting roles.

"I guess that was the height of my male lead days," he said with a laugh.

When asked if he intends to join the Actors Equity Association, the labor union representing American actors and stage managers, Nye said he's in no hurry.

"If the opportunity arose, and it was the right time, I'm sure I'd take it. But as of now I'm still non-union. I just want to do good quality work, union or non-union," he said.

This fall could find Nye in what may be his most unique role to date. Although he would hardly describe himself as anything remotely resembling a ballet dancer, he has nevertheless been approached to play "Drosselmeyer" in "The Nutcracker" at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Although he has had some dance instruction, he describes himself more as "an actor that moves well" and definitely not a ballet dancer.

But that shouldn't matter because the role is more designed for, well, an actor who moves well.

Nye said the particulars have not been finalized yet, but he still advises to "stay tuned. I'm excited!"

"The Nutcracker" directors seem excited as well. Tara Palen, who directed him most recently in the comedy whodunnit "Deathtrap," may feel they should well be excited to have him.

"I absolutely love Tyler Nye," Palen said. "He is the definition of a professional, a dream to work with. ... I can tell you that he shows up completely prepared and takes direction flawlessly. ... He simply melded his director's vision of the role seemlessly with his own and it just made the character leap to life in ways I could not have dreamed. ... He's an asset to any production, in any role."



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