Mr. Rick

Middle School drama teacher Rick Westerkamp has joined the cast of the Olney Theatre’s production of Beauty and the Beast. A double-major in Dance and Theatre from George Washington University, Mr. Rick has performed for most of his life. Since he was four years old, competing in dance competitions across his home state of New Jersey. Through dance, Mr. Rick found other opportunities to perform on stage, appearing in many school productions, and once he started voice lessons, he added musical theater to his forté as well.

In college, Mr. Rick’s passions grew. He juggled his studies with his life as a burgeoning actor performing in plays, musicals, repertory. Throughout his professional career as an actor and performer, Mr. Rick has graced stages across the DMV region, including performing in modern dance companies and making appearances in the DC Fringe Festival. As theaters reopen and the effects of the pandemic wanes, becoming a part of the cast for Beauty and the Beast was a special moment for Mr. Rick. “I have missed live performances for so long, both as an actor and as an audience member, since the performing arts have been how I have processed nearly every life event I’ve lived,” he says.

Mr. Rick looks forward to energizing moments in each performance, like hearing the audience’s excitement as they filter into the theater while the cast prepares backstage. “I cannot wait to hear the moments that get a rise out of the kids in the audience,” says Mr. Rick. After months of preparation and practice, receiving such live audience reactions is exhilarating for the actors. Mr. Rick will savor the experience up until closing night—which he describes as “bittersweet”—performing each number one last time, the actors experience a revival of inspiration, “there’s an energy on closing night that is unique unto itself,” he says.

Beauty and the Beast is open now through January 2. To show your support for Mr. Rick and the cast, purchase tickets online or call 301.924.4485.