Berry Ayers Inspires Young Artists With Her Vulnerability, And Unlimited Talents, Throughout Her 30+ Years In Theater
Please introduce yourself, what you do, why you do it, and what you want people to know about you.
Berry Ayers is a transgender musical theatre artist, musical director, director, choreographer, writer, and model, and the creative mind behind the character Beneva Fruitville. Regional credits include ZaZa/Albin in La Cage Aux Folles, Miss Deep South, and Miss Bible Belt for three years in the musical Pageant and Edna in Hairspray.
Her recent comedic tour of the famed Ringling Museum as part of their Ringling After Dark series made national publications including The New York Times and she was the entertainment for the 2020 American Theatre Critics Association annual conference where she was lauded by Frank Rizzo, theatre critic for Variety, as “…such great fun!”
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I am uniquely intermingled between the LGBTQ+ and mainstream cultures. I am an educator and an activist and have done almost every job there is to do in a 30+ Year show business career.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you wanted to do what you do now. Who did you tell first? What has it been like since that moment?
I saw a production of the musical A Chorus Line when I was 13 years old and it changed the course of my life. Until that point, I didn’t realize that people could make their living in the arts. I also had never seen an LGBTQ+ person displayed in a positive light. It was a magical experience.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge has been releasing my personal demons; self-doubt, anxiety, fear of success, and allowing myself to freely and openly be the person that I am, and exposing that vulnerability to the world.
If you had to pick the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could take your career (or business) to the next level…who would those 3 people be?
- Dolly Parton – she is a goddess
- Bette Midler – she began in humble Gay Bath Houses and became a star, she transcended a niche audience to become marketable to the masses.
- Queen Latifa – she has also been able to negotiate from a niche audience to an all-around star, all the while maintaining privacy and advocacy.