Patron review of my direction of The Last Five Years


As a director, before I begin work with designers or actors, it is important to me that I have a strong vision of how the story we are telling will be told.  I read, read, read.  I put myself in the performance space.  I research, listen to music, daydream and imagine.  This is critical to my process because I value the time of my designers and actors too much to waste it.  When I meet with designers and actors for the first time, I am able to describe the world of the play, the kinds of relationships that exist, and the shape of the story.  I have dynamic blocking actors can motivate, aesthetic designers can attach to, and a story that constantly engages.

Yet play is always involved in our process.  The vision I offer (as thoughtful, prepared, and specific as it is) is a framework upon which we all collaborate.  I am a strong believer of freedom within structure.  Our process is an incubator which encourages actors and designers to experiment and bring forth their best work and strongest choices in the pursuit of our best production.

I set clear and high expectations of my team.  I establish a culture that values work, play, and collaboration in which everyone contributes something significant and within their expertise.

After setting expectations and initially creating our culture, my job is that of a servant.  As colleagues of mine will strongly agree, I am highly responsive to the needs and challenges of our team throughout the process.  Always with appreciation for everyone's work, I never ignore the audience and constantly push everyone to the next level of clarity and strength in design, performance, and overall storytelling. 


* MUSICAL THEATRE      + World Premiere
She kills monsters
Oedipus Rex
Silent Sky
Ring and Run  +
Loras College, The Musical  *  +
Putnam County Spelling Bee  *
Hedda Gabler
No Mud, No Lotus  +
Around the World in 80 Days
The Royale
Hand to God
Avenue Q  *

The Drowsy Chaperone  *
Miracle on 34th Street
Shackles 'N' Milk  +
  (First place Winning Play)
Reefer Madness  *

The Amazing Hi-Lows  *  +
Taming of the Shrew
The Last Five Years  *
The Importance of Being
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Drugs Are Bad
Alice in the Underground  +
Close to the Flame  +
Godless  +
Can this Marriage Be Saved

Airline Highway (Reg. Premiere)
South Pacific in Concert  *
George & Gracie, Now & Then *+

A Christmas Carol (Radio Play)
One-Day Play 2019
The Joke's On US! (improv)
It's A Wonderful Life (radio play)
One-Day Plays 2018
10-Minute Play Festival 2012
First Stage Series (Readings)
The Yellow Boat
Loras College
Trainwreck Productions




Asst. Dir.
Stage Dir.
Asst. Dir.

Dir. of Theatre
  Artistic Dir.
Artistic Dir.
Loras Players, 2020
LOras Players, 2019
Loras Players, 2019
DBQ Fine Arts Players, 2019
Loras Faculty/Staff Play, 2019
Loras Players, 2019
Loras Players, 2019
Theatre Performance Wkshp, 2019
Loras Players, 2018
Theatre UNO/One Acts, 2018
Theatre UNO, 2017-18

Trainwreck Productions, 2017
Theatre UNO, 2017
Trainwreck Productions, 2015

Grand Opera House, 2015
Grand Opera House, 2014
DBQ Fine ArtS Players, 2014

Trainwreck Productions, 2014

Loras College, 2013
Trainwreck Productions, 2013
University of Dubuque, 2012
Trainwreck Productions, 2012

Bard-in-the-Yard/UNISTA, 2012
UNI Directing Course,  2010
UNISTA, 2010
10-Minute Play Festival V, 2010
10-Minute play Festival iV, 2009
Closer than they appear, 2008

Southern Rep Theatre, 2016
grand opera House, 2014
Grand Opera House, 2014

Guild of St. Genesius, 2019
Guild of St. Genesius, 2019
Duprov, 2019
Guild of St. Genesius, 2018
Guild of St. Genesius, 2018
UNISTA, 2012
UNISTA, 2011-2012
UNISTA, 2011


Striking Out  (short)
  (Best Acting, Madison-48 HR.)
Doo-Doo Unto Others  (short)
The Arbor Ate 'Em
Asst. Dir.

Asst. Dir.
2nd A.D.

Great River Films, 2009

Creative Maxims, LLC, 2009
Great River Films, 2009

Collaborator TESTIMonials

"It's great working with a director with such good 'eyes and ears!'" - Rob Shepherd, music director

"[Ryan brings] vision, relatability, honesty, and outlines wants and expectations." - Melanie Pickard, actress

"He knows what he wants you to do, which really helps." - Lizzie White, actress

"Developing a schedule for such a quick turn-around.  I was impressed with how few hitches the short rehearsal period presented." - Tori Rezek, costume designer/technical dir.

"Knowledge!  Passion!" - Rachel Russell, actress

"Solid direction." - Alex McCarthy, managing director

"We're in love with a wonderful show.  Thank you, Ryan!" - Bruce JG Kotowich, actor

"I appreciate your time and your expertise.  It is fun working with you and I always learn something every rehearsal.  I love that." - Laura Bayless, actress

"The show has exceeded my expectations -- I am very happy with the production!" - Robert Dunn, playwright/composer

"You've done an excellent job... I certainly appreciate your good work in rehearsals and ideas..." - Vince Williams, playwright/actor

“You would think that after nearly eight years of doing this thing called theatre, I'd get over the nostalgia of after show blues, but that's just not the case.  Avenue Q was a great experience and one I'm so glad I went for.  It was a blast to work with so many wonderful and talented people, and I'm grateful that I had the chance to reunite with people who got me into this crazy world of theatre in the first place.  Congratulations on a job well done to the entire cast and crew of Avenue Q!” – Dakota Vaassen, actor

Audience Reactions / PRESS REVIEWS

The Royale

On Kevin Griffith's austere set in UNO's large theater, graduate student Ryan M. Decker's inventive direction and Diane K Baas' punchy lighting illuminated The Royale by Marco Ramirez... a powerful John Charles II, impressively supported by James Compton V and Shanda Quintal... The Royale provided an absorbing, invigorating theatrical experience." - Brian Sands, Ambush Magazine

Hand to God

Ryan Michael Decker does a fine job corralling a willing cast into a fabulous farce that achieves unexpected depth. - SM

“WOW. What an awesome night... hilarious and tragic...” – ER


“I feel bad for anyone who didn't get to see Trainwreck Productions' production of Avenue Q this weekend.  By the end of the first act my face was in pain from smiling and laughing so much... the entire cast did a terrific job...” – ER

“Congrats on a fun show!  I really enjoyed it!” – AR

“What you do with so few resources!  Congrats on Q.  Fun night.” – CG

“Such a great show!  So much fun!  I was guffawing the whole time!” – CH

The Drowsy Chaperone

"...an absolute delight with crackerjack timing, one of the most fabulous sets I have ever seen and a cast that is game for just about everything. Ryan Michael Decker did a fantastic job directing. Bravo everyone..." – SM

"... it was AMAZING. Fantastic sets and costumes and a very talented cast and crew made this an awesome show." – KL

Reefer Madness

“Trainwreck Productions' performance of Reefer Madness was the most inspired local theatre I've seen since [title of show]... Hey!  That was a Trainwreck project too!” – PN

“I’m giving this production of Reefer Madness really HIGH MARKS.” – DB

“Everyone brought their A game tonight with a great show.  If you haven’t seen them, go check the show out… You won’t regret it.” – AM

“Trainwreck Productions does it again! Great show last night. Had so much fun I’m going again on Saturday.  Lots o’ laughs and top-notch performances!” – MM

“FANTASTIC SHOW!!! We loved it!! Thanks for another great TRAINWRECK!!” – SK

“What a fun show! We did not know what to expect, which was just fine-very entertaining and very well done.” – MBV

“The show was funny and entertaining. Great acting.” – MV

“Encore? Encore?” – AB

“Great campy show… keep the good shows coming and thanks for the laughs.” – TK

“You all were so great! I loved this fun production!” - RB

“Awesome job to everyone! Enjoyed the show immensely and a very talented cast!” - CH

“It was great!  Can't wait to see it again on Saturday.  Everyone did a great job. Two thumbs up.” – SD

“Reefer Madness gave this non-toker a natural high.  Big fun!” – CG

“I saw, and loved, Trainwreck Productions’ production of Reefer Madness! It was hilarious, smart, a little bawdy (just enough), irreverent, and really, really fun. The house was packed, and the audience was great! Bravo, to the whole cast, and bravo to Eronel for giving a home to this kind of theater experience.” – PS

“Stunning. Yes. They fricking ROCK!!” – MC

“…the Old Guard let its guard down... troupes with more money and longer traditions do not touch the performances of Trainwreck.” – Anon.

THE Last Five Years

Saw the musical last night. Incredible! Everyone truly felt the emotion of the play. Great job Ryan, Lily and Kris! – LB

Ambitious and clever. – AJ

I was really impressed with Ryan Decker's directing... – MM

The Importance of Being Earnest

“…All I can say is BRAVO to the cast and crew.  It was an incredible performance by a group of talented young actors.  Entertainment at its best.” – CS

“A truly enjoyable evening of theatre provided by Trainwreck Productions... GO SEE The Importance of Being Earnest!” – CG