ryan h kerr portrait
Photo by Christie Baugher

Ryan H Kerr (he/him) proudly uses his intersectional background as a multiracial queer artist to inspire his interdisciplinary approach to the fusion of literary, musical, theatrical, technological, and even culinary arts.

Born in 1987 in a predominantly Japanese-American suburb of Los Angeles, on land originally taken from the Kizh Nation, he grew up with a passion for math and engineering before discovering his love for the arts in high school. Ryan served there as musical director, conductor, and synthesizer programmer for for three productions, including Poppy, his first original, full-length musical, in 2005.

He graduated from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2009 with a BA in music composition after studying with Dr. Leslie Hogan, Dr. Jeremy Haladyna, and Dr. Earl Stewart. During that time, Ryan joined Shrunken Head Productions, with whom he continued his work as music director for seven full-length musicals and two cabaret concerts. He continued to play in pit orchestras even after passing the baton.

Following a year in Florida, Ryan moved to New York City, where he has lived since. In 2012, he received his MFA in musical theater writing from New York University, where he met many of his primary collaborators. He and his thesis partner, Nick Myers, have continued to collaborate on musicals and standalone choral pieces, including "Jenny," which received its Carnegie Hall debut in 2016.

In addition to his work as a composer and lyricist/librettist, Ryan reconnected with his nerdy roots and has lent his skills as a full-stack software engineer to craft interactive image processing and sharing solutions for a boutique photo booth company in Brooklyn and, more recently, a competitive marketing intelligence platform with an AI/machine learning startup. A favorite pastime is turning frustrations with bugs and missing features into open-source contributions, including for projects like Ruby on Rails with hundreds of millions of users.

Ryan still enjoys playing woodwinds and keyboards in pit orchestras whenever he can. His spare time is filled with ingesting stories any way he can, to better create his own: playing RPGs, watching movies, reading novels, and of course catching as many new musicals as possible. He still lives in NYC with his partner and three cats, Catsudon, Gomadare, and Ponzu.

© 2024 Ryan Kerr and Manuka Music. All rights reserved.
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