Meet a Dad: Brian Vaughn, BEETLEJUICE - Greater Lansing Area Moms

GLAMoms had the exciting opportunity to speak with a cast member from the hit broadway show, BEETLEJUICE! Unlike the indifferent Maxie Dean he plays on stage,  Brian Vaughn is kind, humble and the only parent in the BEETLEJUICE cast! 

We are putting a spin on our Monday Meet a Mom feature and sharing this funny and talented actor, director and DAD! Learn more about Brian and how he balances being a dad to three teen daughters while he travels across the country. Brian shares how he got his start in acting, who he contributes to auditioning for the Beetlejuice role and the unique way he likes his movie popcorn! 

BEETLEJUICE begins at the Wharton Center tomorrow and runs through Sunday.

Welcome to Greater Lansing Area Moms, Brian! 😊

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Arizona, but I was born in Tennessee. My parents moved to Arizona when I was 5 and grew up in Phoenix. I went to college in Utah and spent a lot of time there then bounced around as an actor since then. I spent a lot of time  in the Midwest and was in New York for a while. Kind of the actor gypsy lifestyle! 

How did you get into acting?

I was in junior high and took drama as an elective class. My drama teacher dared me to audition for a musical and of course it was a dare and I was a young kid- I had to do it! Then she cast me as the lead in the show and that was really it. I have loved it ever since and found my people and my calling. I really enjoy it! Can’t say enough about educators. 

I have had a lot of mentors along the way especially in high school and college. Mentors are the building blocks for who we are. I really look up to the people that have paved the way for me. It’s amazing what one teacher can do.

If someone wanted to get into acting at a young age, what would you recommend?

Well I would recommend taking classes- drama and music in any junior high or high school. I found that as a worthwhile endeavor and put me out of my comfort zone at times. It’s completely rewarding – trying something new and being bold and brave. I think it formulates who we are in our skill set. And further on in life, even if you don’t go into acting later in life, I think it gives you building blocks for public speaking, confidence and being in front of people which anyone can use. 

You’re a #girldad! Tell us about your daughters –

One is 15 and twins who are 12. We live in Utah. They play soccer, dance and music. They are doing it all right now. They are at the stage in their life where they are starting to try new things – music is one! They all take piano lessons and that is something I regret not doing as a kid. And luckily they all enjoy it, which is great! And it’s fun to see them finding their way, the things that they enjoy. 

Fun fact, they are actually the ones that turned me onto the show! My oldest daughter knew about it and listened to the Broadway score and really loved it. My daughters were like “Dad, you have to listen to the show” and they sing it all over the place. When the auditions came – they were like you really have to do this. I love that my daughters are the one that steered me towards the show.

I think what’s so beautiful about it is the story is about a young girl’s journey to find herself and in the wake of loss. 

Tell us more about BEETLEJUICE

It’s based basically on the movie, an adaptation of the film about Tim Burton, The musical is very different from the movie but the central character is Beetlejuice – a kind of demonic demon who’s basically seeking to be seen. And at the heart of the story is Lydia Dietz, a young girl who’s mother has just died and her father ends up buying this house from a previous couple who also has passed away. 

It really becomes about a journey about Lydia meeting Beetlejuice through an uncanny, odd circumstances. She ends up meeting Beetlejuice and it becomes their journey of Beetlejuice trying to haunt these people away and Lydia trying to find her path in this journey between the living and the dead. 

It’s a fun show, it’s very light and funny, but also has a great deal of heart to it- that’s what makes it so very special. 

And your role is Maxie Dean, we would love to hear more about it!

Yes, I play Maxie Dean who is an investor. Charles, Lydia’s father has bought this house and is going to make it a model home for a gated community. He’s trying to impress Maxie at a dinner party to try and get Maxie to become one of the investors in this gated community. I play the investor- the money behind his endeavor. 

And I am also part of the Day-O section in the musical, which is the iconic part from the film. 

Have you visited East Lansing before or Michigan at all?

I have not! I am looking forward to visiting- that’s part of the great part of this tour is going to a lot of different cities across the country. I have not spent a lot of time in Michigan, we were just in Detroit. I am looking forward to being in East Lansing for the week. It’s fun to visit college towns, there’s always a great energy! This show is definitely great for young people, especially college students. 

What are some must haves while you travel to make it feel more like home?  

I love to get out and about- I am a walker and see a bunch of stuff while I am here. I love looking at architecture and iconic buildings. My must have is coffee and finding the best coffee shops in each city we visit. 

Speaking of coffee, what’s your order?

I am pretty old school, I love Americano’s. I like to keep it simple. 

Favorite activities to do with your family –

Love living in Utah, there is so much great hiking and being outdoors. Try to get outside as much as possible. They also love going to Disneyland! That’s kind of their big thing – that’s a great family outing. 

They are also just starting to get into live theater and that’s a great thing! 

Have your girls seen you in BEETLEJUICE?

No not yet, they hopefully will when the show is back out west this summer. They are eager to! 

What is your pre show routine?

I like to have my own space – stretch out and breathing. I don’t have as a challenging role as someone like Justin who is playing Beetlejuice or Bella who is playing Lydia. They are the central figures in the show and have a lot more singing and a lot more physical activity.  But it’s a pretty busy show for our whole cast in the sense that we’re in a lot of numbers. I am also in the ensemble so there’s a lot of costume and make up changes. 

 Just breathing and being present each day is really important to me. Trying to keep it fresh and new each time we do it -for each audience! 

Now some FUN ONES:

Favorite place for a bourbon Manhattan? Making my own 🙂

Favorite place to vacation with family? Disneyland

Messy or neat? neat

Text or Call? Text

Movie night- candy or popcorn? BOTH! Popcorn and FROZEN junior mints in the popcorn

Favorite type of music or podcast? I’m very eclectic and I like all kinds of music.  I have been listening to podcasts when I’ve been out walking-  a lot of Armchair Expert!

Favorite team in March Madness-I’m not a huge sports follower, but I always cheer for University of Arizona since I have spent a lot of time there!

We have loved learning more about you and BEETLEJUICE . Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just know it’s a great show for a parents night out. It’s  recommended 13+ because of the strong language and mature references but it’s such a fun night out! Depending on the ages of your kids, as long as there’s parental guidance, I encourage you to come see it. The cast is phenomenal, the set design and lighting – is really top notch!! The talent and artistry is impeccable! 

I am looking forward to visiting the Wharton Center and East Lansing!!

Thank you so much, Brian. We loved learning more about you and BEETLEJUICE!

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