‘Phantom’ Star Brings Broadway to the Blue Ridge

| May 17, 2011

Sean MacLaughlin

Sweet Briar College’s resident Endstation Theatre Company is bringing a sampling of big-time musical theater to Central Virginia with a fundraising event featuring Broadway performer Sean MacLaughlin.

MacLaughlin, who is Raoul in the Broadway production of “Phantom of the Opera,” will perform in a benefit concert to raise money in support of Endstation’s fourth-annual Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival. The event, titled “Broadway in the Blue Ridge,” will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 22 in Murchison Lane Auditorium at Sweet Briar College.

Chad Larabee will direct the concert, which will feature Broadway hits from “West Side Story,” “Hair,” “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” “Anything Goes” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Performers will include cast members from Endstation’s upcoming festival musical production, “Assassins,” and the recent E. C. Glass High School production of “Phantom of the Opera,” as well as MacLaughlin’s fellow Virginia Tech alumni.

MacLaughlin has performed across the United States and Canada. His past Broadway credits include “The Woman in White,” “Lestat” and “Bombay Dreams.” He has performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and Ford’s Theatre, and regionally at Flat Rock Playhouse and Signature Theatre.

Endstation Theatre Company was founded in 2006 by Florida State University School of Theatre M.F.A. graduates Geoffrey Kershner and Krista Franco. Kershner and Franco immediately sought artists to join and today the strong visual and conceptual aesthetics of the productions are led by a core artistic team of five directors and designers, including Amherst natives Kershner and Dan Gallagher.

Endstation took up residency at Sweet Briar College upon its establishment in 2006. The company produced the first Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival on Sweet Briar’s grounds in 2008, and has expanded the festival with each season.

Sweet Briar’s grounds are an ideal setting for outdoor summer theater, and Endstation has so far made a staple of producing Shakespeare as part of the festival. Each year, the company explores the rural campus for venues perfectly suited for theater under the stars.

“I am really excited to return to my home state of Virginia to perform,” MacLaughlin said. “Geoff Kershner and I have been friends since we attended the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts in 1995, and I performed with Endstation board member Jeff Price when we attended Virginia Tech together.

“It is exciting to see the work my friends are doing with Endstation in Central Virginia. The opportunity to support this company, to support theater in my home state, and to reunite with old friends could not be passed up.”

Tickets for “Broadway in the Blue Ridge” are $15, $7 with a student ID. For more information on the benefit concert or Endstation Theatre Company, contact the box office at (434) 826-0391 or visit endstationtheatre.org.

Category: Performing Arts, Theatre Arts, Uncategorized