Leavenworth senior transforms stage into a space of his creation

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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- His gift is crafting something out of nothing; taking a blank stage and creating characters. Ryan Pangracs has won a myriad of awards, including being named as one of six international thespian officers in the country. He's also one of five state thespian officers in Kansas, and is the Leavenworth High School Stella president.

“I was one of two selected in that state for that scholarship as a future theater educator,” Pangracs told FOX 4's Dhomonique Ricks.

You can call him the “Real Deal.” He picks up the notes, wasting no time making a transformation.

“We just put on ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ the musical that was our last performance, and we had a huge set that spanned from back here and it was made up of cogs and wheels,” Pangracs described.

Only 30 seconds into the interview, it was showtime.

“First of all you need to be in character, so you have to choose your character. Maybe your character is a beleaguered old woman who's injured, or maybe your character is a confident, snooty kind of 'I got lots of money in my pockets' so I take big bold steps. I have my hands raised, I take as much space as possible with my body because I own this space" Pangracs showed.

You may be surprised to learn he found his calling in theater just four years ago.

“The first time I walked on stage my knees were shaking,” Pangracs recalled.

Today, nothing could be further from the truth, as he exhibits an undeniable confidence.

“It was the whole being on stage, and that felt really cool," he said.

Ryan has received a handful of accolades this academic school year alone -- which includes winning a $1,000 scholarship to further his acting education.

His range of theater is impressive. He's performed everything from “Hairspray” to “Our Town” to “Dear America Letters Home from Vietnam.”

“I'll never be ashamed of what I do up here.”

Pangracs says he hopes to attend Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas this fall, and ultimately wants to become a theatre teacher, helping students reach their highest potential.