Brian Vaughn is an actor, director, and producer with over 30 years of professional experience. He spent 28 seasons - 11 as artistic director - at the Tony Award Winning Utah Shakespeare Festival. During his tenure he acted in, directed, and produced numerous musicals, classical, and contemporary plays (as well as multiple regional and world premieres). Over the course of his leadership Vaughn helped expand the Festival's annual operating budget from $6 million to nearly $10 million, and he ushered in the Festival's $40 million expansion into the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts - a vibrant arts complex housing three unique theatres and multiple support facilities.
Vaughn has been a guest artist, actor, and director at numerous universities and regional theatres across the country, including: Arizona Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Denver Center Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, PCPA Theatre, and South Coast Repertory. He also spent 13 years as a Resident Company Member with The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, where he appeared in over 40 productions - including world premiere productions and adaptations by Itamar Moses, Steven Dietz, Jeffrey Hatcher, Eric Simonson, Joseph Hanreddy, and Roger Bean.
In his free time, Vaughn enjoys hiking national parks, drinking a solid bourbon Manhattan, and keeping up with his three spunky, blonde, beautiful daughters.
"Mr. Vaughn, a handsome, light-footed leading man with a strong voice and a sweet, honorable, earnest air, reminiscent of Jimmy Stewart, shines bright in the title song, “She Loves Me,” channeling a nimble Gene Kelly in a leapfrogging explosion of joy, and setting the house ablaze in Act II. His other angst-ridden solo, “Tonight at Eight,” oozes with trepidation, butterflies, and then incredulous triumph that makes it all his own."
-Chris Daniels, The Show Report
Resume & Headshot
"The object of art is to give LIFE a shape."
-Is it Shakespeare...or is it Anouilh?
"Brian Vaughn's direction is sheer brilliance (...) Vaughn's insight into the characters and his keen ability to translate their psychology onto the stage made Ragtime an engrossing human drama.
Vaughn’s staging is not just evocative, though. He is a virtuoso of creating three-dimensional, moving art with his actors on the stage."
-Russell Warne, Utah Theatre Bloggers
My favorite quote about the theatre (and life, really) is from Shakespeare's Hamlet...
"If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come -the readiness is all. Since no man, of aught he leaves knows, what is't to leave betimes. Let be."
The very heart of this speech is to live life within the moment, to be receptive to what is in front of you, right then and there, IN THE MOMENT. This is the core of life, and it is the very core of acting. To be present. To not think about the moment in front of you. To not think about the moment that just passed. To be truly present to the NOW.
And in Hamlet's case... this is the moment when art and life merge.
I believe the foundation of really great theatre is collaboration - assembling the right mix of people with assorted temperaments, talents, and convictions, who bring their mind, body, and soul to the work with a vulnerability and a bold conviction toward elevating the play and the playwright's intent with truth and grace. I aim to help the play's theme resonate with bold, beautiful design and swift, honest storytelling inside a collaborative process that has a pinpoint focus on language, intention, connectivity, and purpose.
I believe my goal as a director is to provide a framework for this exploration, and for the overall production to be built within a context so that the artists can explore each given moment with purpose, freedom, and an honest truth without sacrificing the overarching thematic demands that the play presents. The play itself, and its overarching themes, will always be intact (based on the movement of the piece... its flow, its design, its structure) if the director has provided a framework for the play to exist and a canvas for the artists to create. My goal is to provide an avenue for the play to resonate in ways one didn't expect - as long as each moment is honest and truthful within the context of any given circumstance, one can never really be wrong. This can only be achieved through great trust, genial collaboration, and a fearless artistic spirit. My ultimate philosophy is to uplift the playwrights intention in order to make the play simply BE.
Resume & CV
"Vaughn is nigh superhuman in his role as The Poet. - Any actor would be daunted by carrying an entire show on his own, but Vaughn succeeds in doing just that with this highly complex story."
-Front Row Reviewers
"Vaughn is nigh superhuman in his role as The Poet..."
"...there were clear directorial choices made by Vaughn that refreshed ideas and themes in the show that this reviewer had never seen before. This show is no small feat, and the designers, directors and those on the production team do a wonderful job making this show one you will never forget.
-Front Row Reviewers
"Please do not miss this rare treat of a musical and go see Ragtime this summer..."
"Vaughn’s Iago was a master manipulator... The sliminess,
cunning, and deceptions were both riveting and revolting, and Vaughn was
accomplished in portraying Shakespeare’s most evil character."
-Utah Theatre Bloggers
"Vaughn’s Iago was a master manipulator..."
"(This) new production of 'Hamlet' might just be the best version of the Bard’s beloved play you’ll ever see..."
"Vaughn's artistic vision is spot-on throughout the play, from the balance of humor and heartbreak to some of the surprising twists not found in Shakespeare's text, but entirely possible within the subtext."
- Front Row Reviewers
"...Masterfully directed by J.R. Sullivan, Stones In His Pockets is a tour de force
of acting by David Ivers and Brian Vaughn. Watching these two create a
multitude of characters is an exercise in the how actors must trust one another
on the stage. The commradory between the two are infectious and is a study in
technique for those who want to see the craft of acting at its most prominent."
"Stones In His Pockets is a tour de force
"Director Brian Vaughn, together with his talented and committed cast and production team, have done wonders in bringing the genius of this story to life. In a celebration of what makes a theatre
production a truly unique artistic medium, as well as incorporating the original childlike nature of the tale, the cast and creative team work together to create a world on stage that invites the audience to use their imagination, as the entire theatre starts off on this adventure."
-Utah Theatre Bloggers
"Director Brian Vaughn, together with his talented and committed cast and production team, have done wonders in bringing the genius of this story to life..."