Brian Vaughn was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the only child of Cherri Delgado and Robert Vaughn. He is married to Melinda Pfundstein, of Las Vegas, Nevada. Melinda and Brian met while acting together at the Utah Shakespearean Festival and both are proud alumni of Southern Utah University. Brian holds a bachelor of science in theatre arts and dance; Melinda holds bachelors degrees in both theatre arts and dance performance. Together they owned and operated their business Breathe Pilates and Wellness in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while both continued their successful careers as working actors. They are proud parents of a beautiful two-year-old daughter named Addelyn Grace.
For the past fifteen years Brian has split his time at two of the country’s top regional theatres: the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespearean Festival and the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. Brian began his history with the Utah Shakespearean Festival as a student at SUU. Starting as a journeyman actor in The Greenshow in 1991, he has since acted in over thirty-five roles in sixteen seasons, portraying a slew of diverse leading roles including Hamlet, Henry V, and Cyrano de Bergerac. He has also served as education assistant; director and actor for the National Endowment for the Arts Shakespeare in American Communities Tour, director and actor for the New American Playwrights Project; host of the Costume Cavalcade; instructor for various Festival classes; panelist and guest speaker for the Wooden O Symposium; and director for the upcoming 2010 fall production of Greater Tuna.
A member of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre’s resident acting company since 1997, he has appeared in leading and supporting roles in over forty productions. He has collaborated on numerous world and regional premiers by such notable playwrights as Steven Dietz, Jeffrey Hatcher, and Itamar Moses, as well as international directors Ben Barnes, former artistic director of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, and Laszlo Marton, artistic director of the Vigszinhaz Theatre in Budapest, Hungary.
Regional credits include American Folk Ballet, Arizona Theatre Company, Arts Center of Coast Carolina, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, PCPA Theatrefest, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Nebraska Shakespeare Festival, Red Bull Theatre, Renaissance Theatreworks, the Skylight Opera, and Theatre at the Center. He has been a guest instructor and lecturer and has served on various panels on acting, leadership, and education at various high schools and universities, including University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, University of Nebraska–Omaha, and Southern Utah University. He is a Kennedy Center Irene Ryan National Finalist, TheatreWeek Magazine Straw Hat Award winner, and proud recipient of the Michael and Jan Finlayson Acting Award. He is a member of Sigma Chi National Fraternity and currently serves on the board for the SUU College of Performing and Visual Arts. He is devoted to the Utah Shakespearean Festival’s artistic mission and its continued growth and collaboration with Southern Utah University. He is ever humbled by the love and support of his family.
How do you feel about this appointment?
“About a year ago, I began discussions with Scott Phillips about the possibility of my joining the artistic staff in a full-time, permanent position. We discussed our mutual interest in the Festival’s growth; its history with the community and Southern Utah University, and its current artistic aesthetic. We would both like to see the Festival expand over the next twenty years. President Benson has been a major advocate and stalwart in bringing this all to fruition, and I owe him a great deal of personal gratitude.”
What do you bring to this position?
“I’m interested in serving as artistic director because I believe in the Festival’s mission, the community it resides in, and what it can become in the future. I believe I can bring my ideology and longevity at the Festival to expand its artistic aesthetic, it’s financial resources, and its educational outreach.
“I think I am a good fit for the Festival because I have spent twenty years working within the Festival’s various departments. Being a graduate of Southern Utah University’s theatre arts and dance program, I have a respect and an understanding of the Festival’s unique synergy with the university and its community. I love what Cedar City has to offer my family and the community support that is so vibrantly engrained in its residents.”
What are your plans for the Festival?
“Like Fred Adams, I like to believe that I too possess that will and determination to see the Festival grow and expand beyond its already amazing fifty years. Some of my top goals are to increase the Festival’s financial resources, secure the funds to break ground for the new Shakespearean theatre, and work to establish a resident company of artists that will present plays nine months out of the year.”
“My overall vision for the Festival is to produce world-class productions of Shakespeare and the best works in the classical, contemporary, and musical theatre repertoire, nine months out of the year, and on three different stages. I also hope to provide a home for new play development.”
“I hope to maintain Fred’s mission by presenting Shakespeare’s plays and those of his contemporaries in a historical context, but I also want to explore presenting them in a contemporary framework to give the plays significance for our modern audience. Shakespeare’s plays will always be Elizabethan. I am interested in stretching the parameters in which the plays can and should be produced on our stages without losing touch with the playwright’s original intent.”