Person of Interest: Ryan Landry
The actor and playwright wants to keep P-town freaky. —Lauren Barbagallo
It’s Monday night and Crown & Anchor, Provincetown’s famed performance venue, is packed. Onstage, wearing a hip-skimming blue smock (and nothing else), Ryan Landry is emceeing Showgirls, his legendary cabaret/open mike shtick, when the unmistakable glow of cell phones in the audience sends him into a mock fury: “Put down those fucking iPhones or I’m going to throw ’em away along with your goddamn Pottery Barn catalogs!” The audience roars with laughter. Landry is joking, sort of. Lately he’s been on a jag about the vanishing free-spirited and quirky Provincetown he loves, and the mainstream, “designer” Provincetown that’s edging it out.
Landry is partly to blame for this trend, actually. The allure of lurid performances like Showgirls is exactly what attracts the new money, but Landry fears that their tastes may forever alter P-town’s identity as a haven for artists, both rich and poor. So as a new member of the Provincetown Historic District Commission, Landry has taken up the battle to keep the chain stores out while ensuring affordability for all. If that means occasionally laying into his adoring audience, he’s happy to do it. “What I’m fighting against is not so much a group of people, but an attitude,” he says. “Provincetown doesn’t need to turn into a designer strip mall, and it won’t as long as I’m alive to fight it.”