Occupation: Actor, Illustrator, Graphic Designer, and Legal Secretary
Location: Lakewood, OH
Status: In a Relationship
We asked Ray about his theatrical ambitions, his love affair with Wonder Woman, and which classic TV star will (hopefully) star in his life story.
HDJ: A silly question we always use to start these things -- what are you wearing as we do this?
RC: I'm in my Grey Gardens t-shirt from the Broadway show that is sooooo comfortable and a pair of shorts. This is my first chance to sit down, relax, and be totally comfortable in a week.
HDJ: Wow, what have you been up to?
RC: I opened a show! I'm currently in "The Boys Next Door" playing Barry Klemper. We started Tech Week last Sunday, had our preview Thursday, and opened Friday! Every night has been consumed by the show and I loved every minute of it. The work everyone put into it paid off. The cast is tremendously talented and we're working with a director who is open and generous. We're having a blast.
We have shows through May 16th and we're playing at The Little Theatre at Strongsville (OH) High School. The cast is made up of professionals who loved the script.
HDJ: Apart from the acting, you also do design as well?
RC: Yes. My degree's in illustration, but I also do graphic design when the opportunities pop-up. Basically, I love to express myself creatively as often and in as many ways as I can. That creative energy has to come out. I also dabble in photography, but that's just for fun.
- "If artistically you are able to do one thing, you are more than likely able to do them all." -- Kay Thompson
HDJ: Tell me about some of your favorite design work.
RC: I conceived, illustrated, and designed Cuyahoga Community College's Summer 2007 Transient Student ad campaign, so that was a lot of exposure (billboards, numerous ads both in print and web). I loved the work I did for the National Organization for Women's 2008 National NOW Conference because they're a group I believe in with all my heart. Most of my favorite stuff, though, I've done for myself: my illustration of Little Edie from Grey Gardens who has impacted my life in so many ways, and the Bewitched series of illustrations I've been working on. I love to depict characters that have influenced my life in some way. However, the stage is where I feel the most at home.
HDJ: One of them -- I've noticed.... is Wonder Woman.
RC: I could talk about Wonder Woman for days. She's been a part of my life since I was three years old (starting with the Lynda Carter TV show, which was the PERFECT depiction of WW) and I've done a few Wonder Woman illustrations for charity auctions, usually along with Kevenn T. Smith. I pencil and ink, he colors. In addition to the charity auctions, Kevenn and I did a piece that traced Wonder Woman's look from her 1941 creation through Terry Dodson's Wonder Woman. That took a long time to complete, but it was worth it. So, if DC ever needs a Wonder Woman cover artist, I'm available.
HDJ: What is it about WW that appeals to you so much?
RC: She's the embodiment of what we should strive to be. She believes in herself, she's intelligent, compassionate, loving, strong, independent, has convictions, a sense of humor, a fantastic gallery of weapons in her Lasso of Truth and bracelets, she can communicate with animals...she's a feminist icon! Her strength is in her love and beliefs in peace and equality, and sadly, I don't think every writer who has approached her understands, or is comfortable, with that. William Moulton Marston created something amazing when he created Diana.
HDJ: What's next for Wonder Woman, do you think?
RC: Gail Simone, who is currently writing the comic, has a great understanding of Diana's core, so I hope her stories continue. I would not, however, like to see another animated movie on the level of the one that was just released. I have no idea who that Wonder Woman was/is. I hope some good stories are coming her way, that's all. I don't care much about seeing her in a live action movie because you can't get much better than Lynda Carter (who I got to meet briefly at one of her Chicago concerts!).
HDJ: I bet that was a dream come true for ya!
RC: Oh, definitely. To be able to thank her for the impact she's had on my life was a dream come true. I hope every time I draw her in the Wonder Woman costume, I do her justice.
HDJ: With all these things on your plate, it seems like free time is a rarity.
RC: Lately, it has been a rarity, and I'm very glad about that. I like to keep busy when anything artistic is involved. I'm working toward an ultimate goal, so I need to keep my mind on that. Keep my focus and do the work that needs to be done to get me there.
HDJ: When you do have free time, what do you enjoy doing?
RC: In my free time I'm very good at wasting time. I love DVDs of classic TV shows and movies. I'm hoping to finally dig into the first season of "Rhoda" (Sidenote: Valerie Harper would be perfect to play my mother or grandmother in something) during my workouts this week.
I recently saw a brilliant film called "A Woman Under the Influence" starring Gena Rowlands. I was blown away by her performance.
But, yeah, doodling, DVDs, playing with/walking my two dogs, watching "Grey Gardens," hanging out with my husband, grabbing coffee with friends...and alone time. I need alone time to clear my mind and regenerate... and I'm working on writing myself two projects.
HDJ: What are those?
RC: One is still in the notes stage and I'm unsure on what form it will eventually take, but right now it's a one-man show. The other is a cabaret act. I have the songs selected, so I'm shaping that and am going to throw myself back into voice classes to get my voice precisely where it needs to be.
HDJ: What's on the DVR / iPod right now?
RC: Right now, my DVR is waiting for me to watch The Daily Show and Amores Perros. I don't watch series television that much anymore, outside of The Office. The iPod is full of Liza Minnelli (who, whether she knows it or not - I'm guessing not - has been my greatest teacher/influence when it comes to acting), Broadway cast recordings, Robbie Williams, Rufus Wainwright, Frank Sinatra, and a whole mix of other stuff that gets me through a day or inspires me creatively. A lot of my musical influence came from my grandma. She introduced me to Sinatra and Minnelli.
Also, Daniel Isengart -- He's a cabaret artist who I saw at The Cleveland Museum of Art a few months ago, and his act is brilliant. I was mesmerized by his work.
HDJ: Tell me a little about your pooches and your husband (in that order). ;-) How long have you had both?
RC: Lucy will be eight years old in July! I can't believe I've had her for almost eight years. She's a Sheltie-mix rescue dog. Humphrey is going to be five soon. He's also a rescue dog (Cavalier King Charles/Cocker Spaniel mix) who is the sweetest, most affectionate dog I've ever known. He and his sister are quite the contrasts, but they look a lot alike.
My husband Kevenn and I have been together for nine years this June and married for three, also this June. We were married in Canada and it's not recognized where we're currently living, which is one of the main reasons we plan on moving next year. I'm glad the tide seems to be turning in this country, though.
HDJ: what's Ray going to be doing in 5/10/15?
RC: By 5/10/15, Ray will be on Broadway performing in something. And it won't be the first time. I have three already-written dream roles: Tom in The Glass Menagerie, Felice in The Two-Character Play, and Rose in Gypsy.
HDJ: Just for fun -- boxers or briefs?
RC: I LOATHE BOXERS. Briefs. Everything needs to be contained.
HDJ: Can you think of anything we're missing?
RC: Go to my website -- RayCaspio.com. I'm going to be adding new work soon and will be working my theatrical work into the site somehow. I sell prints of my illustrations through the site. And I'm always on the lookout for acting, illustration, or design opportunities.
HDJ: Shameless plugs never hurt!
RC: Of course. I'd be rolling my eyes if it was someone else's interview, but hey, a boy's gotta do what a boy's gotta do!