Recently, the entertainment industry lost several icons in a matter of just a few days. Those losses were widely felt and widely covered by the media.
We at YYT also lost two of our own icons, though Hollywood didn’t notice, nor did the media.
As many of you know, Leslie Cypert (along with O’Bryan Worley) was a founder of the Ypsilanti Youth Theatre. Leslie’s husband Ronny was a techie behind the scenes in those early years, and her son Alex acted in several of the early productions.
Tragically, we recently lost them both within a matter of days. Both left this earth much too soon.
Please take a moment to say a silent prayer or observe a moment of silence for the Cypert family.
O'Bryan Worley remembers Ronny and Alex below:
And all the men and women merely players:
And, when he shall die,
Alex and Ronny Cypert were shining stars on my stage. Their lives were celebrations of all that is best about the theatre. Alex reminded us to not take ourselves too seriously and Ronny showed us what can be done if you put your mind to it. They both played a significant role in my experience with YYT.
We were often short a boy actor, and Leslie would call on Alex. I always imagined him giving her a hard time, “Oh Mom, do I have to?” But he always did it, and he never complained.
Alex approached each new show the same way – with a fantastic attitude and a surprising commitment. Theatre was not Alex’s chosen profession, but he always made it look easy. It was that talent and easy-going way about him that made us feel that Alex could do anything.
My favorite quality in Alex was his positive influence on the other children. Alex was typically the oldest, by a couple of years, and the younger children adored him. He played rough with the boys and endured the love-sick girls. He was forever surrounded by adoring fans.
Finding a good, committed, techie can be as hard as finding a teenage boy to play Jesus. I can picture the conversation Leslie had with Ronny to get him involved with YYT. In his southern drawl, Ronnie would have just said, “All right.”
Ronny was a stereotypical techie. He could create magic out of nothing and was forever grumbling while he did it. I loved leaving on a Friday night before tech week. When I arrived at the theatre on Saturday morning, it was like an army of elves had converged on the theatre and left a set there. But it wasn’t an army, just one amazing man.
Ronny usually worked alone and was truly the power behind the show. Most of the children probably never knew he existed – but he made them shine.
Ronny Ray and Alex were as different as night and day, but they both wove a web of magic that ensnared us. Alex drew us in to his circle while Ronny conjured a circle out of thin air. I will remember and miss them both with equal sadness and joy that I was able to share a scene of my life with them.
-- O’Bryan B. Worley