A native of Central New York, Bryan Hoag joined Costumers with a Cause in 2016, inspired by friends such as T.J. McDonnell, Clair Davis, and Rebecca Vanderslice, who are also fellow actors and attendees of the Bay Area Renaissance Festival in Tampa.
BIO: I moved down to Florida with my family in the late summer of 1978, growing up in Daytona Beach, and moved to Tampa in early 1995 to complete my Schooling. With a Background in Engineering and a Love of all things creative in Movies and Theater, I am just as comfortable on stage and backstage. Growing up, the first and foremost lesson taught by my folks were Faith, Love, Compassion, Patience, and Forgiveness. These remain my guiding principles even to this day. In regards to Costuming, I have regularly built my own Halloween costumes since I was 7, each year being someone or something different. I have only attended a convention once, and would Love to go back when time and budgeting permit. In the meantime, I keep myself occupied working from home as a help desk support agent, performing seasonally at Busch gardens Howl O Scream and the bay Area Renaissance Festival, and volunteering with CwC, as well as my own personal volunteer ventures.
We asked Bryan a few questions to allow you to get to know him a little more like we do. We hope his responses place a warm place in your heart as they did when we read them. Thank you so very much Bryan for being you. For all you have done to help Costumers With A Cause be the best it can be in the eyes of the children we help and their families…and to us! Thank you!
How did you hear of and first get involved with CWC?
I first heard about CwC via T.J. McDonnell and the superhero appearances he and others would do around the Bay Area. At first, I was not sure how, or if I would fit, as my costume collection bears more super villains than heroes. When the opportunity to do an appearance at the All Children’s Museum came up, I researched the Toyman character from D.C. Comics, as I remembered a good version of him in Batman/Superman, Public Enemies. I found he had initially been a good person, and, deep down inside, wanted to be again. So, I adapted my persona from the Renaissance Festival who actually does make toys, into my version of Toyman, Once super villian, now reforming, and making the world a better place to play.
What was your most memorable CwC event, and why?
The Camp Rotary Holiday Party, and the Give Kids the World Marathon, being someplace that offers a Much more expansive perspective of the magic we bring.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering with CwC?
The people I get to work with, and the visitors we Interact with. We become a living, tangible bridge between the books, the movies, and the real world. We literally become the magic.
Do you have any strange or unique talents you would like someone who doesn’t know you to know about?
Besides my tinfoil skills ( You have GOT to see these!!!) ? I do have a penchant for puns and wordplay.
Who was the most inspirational person/people in your life? What was is they did that inspired you?
Caroline Jett-Donovan, local actor, whom I met at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival. At a time when my life felt spiraling downward, she helped ignite in me a new direction in life to do more with my skills. It is through her bringing me into the family of Renaissance Festival performers, that I met T.J., Clair, and many others who have inspired me further. Also, my parents and grandparents who raised me to be kind, compassionate, understanding, and to love unconditionally.
What is your favorite book, movie, play, or musical and what makes it your favorite?
Favorite books are “Starship Troopers” as it outlines the purpose and ideology of committing to a cause. “Phantom of the Opera” by Leroux, and “Phantom” by Susan Kay, how a physically distorted genius savant became legend through skill and discipline. Same with the musicals “Wicked” and “Phantom of the Opera.”
What is your favorite quote? What makes it meaningful to you?
“Do The Right Thing” (Motto on the desk of the late Ken Donovan) ,”You’re somebody, Why don’t You do Something?” (Caroline Jett-Donovan’ s response to her now late husband Ken, when he exclaimed “Someone should do something.” In the aftermath of a wheelchair-bound neighbor getting mugged.)
If you could go anywhere, and do anything you could imagine, where would you go and what would you do there?
Cancer, as it’s current cures bring about as many ravages as the disease itself does.
Do step in, but do not step into this lightly. You become the Hero, not just the facade. In so doing, the Hero becomes you. Understand some may mock and ridicule for your “dressing up silly.” Let those shallow comments bounce off, as they are someone else’s Kryptonite, not yours. Inspire others to take up our mantle, and remember, the few who keep will be drowned out thunderously by the many who cheer.