The Filament Theatre Ensemble is pleased to present singer and songwriter Ryan Westwood in a special concert appearance on Saturday, February 22, starting at 7:30pm at the Filament Theatre at 4041 North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. Tickets are on sale now for $10, and can be purchased at the door or on the Filament website, www.filamenttheatre.org.
At twenty-two years old, Ryan set off for the bar district in Davenport, IA with a guitar in his hand and a sign that said “Tips Please” in his case. Three hours and 140 dollars later he had discovered one of his callings as a performer – busking.
Today, Ryan can be found performing for impromptu audiences, be it as a musician, juggler, unicyclist, or animal balloon-maker, from the Red Line subway to the sidewalks of Michigan Avenue to cities and towns all across the Midwest. It’s these audiences, in turn, that have helped inspire his music. His dream, he says, is that eventually “my stories and songs will circle back to the folks they’re written about; to the people I’ve met on the street that inspired them.”
Ryan’s style, a classic coffeehouse folk/country “with a bit of the blues and a bit of the ’90s “, has its origins in the rich musical traditions of the Mississippi River communities that he comes from. The concert will feature many of his recent original compositions, along with a handful of covers. But, as Ryan will be quick to point out, it’s about much more than just the music. “It will be a concert full of stories,” he says. “Stories, mainly about what’s happened to me busking around the Midwest over the last seven years, about my life, my choices, my family, and about my undying belief in optimism, and the good that’s inherent in human beings. There will be just as much banter as there will be music.”
An actor as well, Ryan can currently be seen with the Filament Theatre Ensemble in their critically acclaimed production of The Snow Queen. He has appeared in The Christmas Schooner and Barnum at the Mercury Theatre Chicago, and played Puck, Bottom, and Phillostrate in the same production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Oregon Adventure Theatre. Ryan was also the 2013 recipient of Filament’s Allie’s Gift. Named in honor of Allison Powell, a Filament member who passed in 2011, Allie’s Gift awards a stipend to an artist living and working in the Chicago area who demonstrates commitment and potential as well as financial need.