PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Touring Evita Star Sean MacLaughlin
By Matthew Blank
December 3, 2013
Sean MacLaughlin, who stars as Juan Peron in the touring production of Evita, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
MacLaughlin has appeared on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera (Raoul), Bombay Dreams, The Woman In White and Lestat.
Other stage work includes Tut, Requiem for William, The Audience,Baby: In Concert, Camelot (Lancelot), The Rainmaker (Starbuck), The Rink (Dino), Floyd Collins (Homer), Violet (Monty) and Merrily We Roll Along.
Full given name:
Timothy Sean MacLaughlin
Where you were born/where you were raised:
What your parents did/do for a living:
Mother: Middle school teacher and author. Father: Military Analyst. By night they run Limelight Talent Theatre School.
Two brothers. Francis (younger) procures art for Capital One. Matthew (older) is Chief of Technology Integration at Fort Lee, VA.
Current Audition Song:
It changes. Always fall back on "Anytime" by William Finn.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be?
The original cast of Carousel on opening night. I'd love to see the differences in the business between then and now.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends:
Kinky Boots. Because I am dying to see it and want to live vicariously through my friends.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
"Gethsemane"- Jesus Christ Superstar
"On My Way"- Violet
"You Should Be Loved"- Side Show
"No More"- Into the Woods
"We Do Not Belong Together"- Sunday in the Park With George
"How Glory Goes"- Floyd Collins
"Our Time"- Merrily We Roll Along
I could keep going- but those are some of my tops.
Some favorite modern musicals:
A New Brain, Side Show, Violet, Floyd Collins, In the Heights, The Last 5 Years, Company, The Rink, Seussical, anything William Finn or Sondheim, Jesus Christ Superstar- and of course- Evita.
Some favorite classic musicals:
1776 Carousel, South Pacific, 110 in the Shade, Brigadoon
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with:
Carl Anderson, Gene Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Orson Wells
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead:
Norm Lewis, Philip Quast, Anthony Warlow
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
Sunday in the Park With George at the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration. I had never seen that show before and did not know what to expect. The marriage of Eric Schaeffer's direction, the design and Sondheim's masterpiece were absolute brilliance. Simple and powerful.
Music that makes you cry, any genre:
Musical theatre... and Harry Chapin music.
MAC or PC?
MAC. 3-year anniversary this year.
Most played song on your iPod:
"California" by Delta Spirit
Playbill, broadwaystars.com, avid Google browser and anything pop culture
Last book you read:
"Peron: A Biography"
Must-see TV show(s):
"Orange Is the New Black"
"Game of Thrones"
Last good movie you saw:
Some films you consider classics:
The Godfather Trilogy, "Sleepless in Seattle," "The Dark Crystal," "The Muppet Movie," Indiana Jones Trilogy, The Original Star Wars Trilogy, "The Audition," "Evil Dead," "Night of the Living Dead," and I can keep going.
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
I am a huge comic book and toy collector, so you can see me around the country fleecing comic book shops and Toys R Us. I am also known to hit every Comic Con whenever there is one in a city.
However, as much as I am a huge fan of The Amazing Spider-Man, I will never don his garb for any convention.
Three favorite cities:
Los Angeles, Tempe, San Antonio
First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
The "Ghostbusters" soundtrack cassette is the first.
First stage kiss:
Debra Wagoner in Violet
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager:
The role of Sasha the dancing Russian while watching my father kick serious buns as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
The moment that I learned people get paid to make out. That was 4 years old watching soap operas. I wanted to do that.
How you got your Equity card:
I was just out of college and got an audition for Ford's Theatre's A Christmas Carol. I never knew what Equity really was, but I auditioned for the show and got the role of Young Scrooge/Ghost of Christmas Future (big freaking awesome death-looking outfit). The contract was an immediate membership.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal:
In NY, Fuel on 9th between 47th and 48th for pre and between shows. Brother Jimmy's for Sunday night and Monday night all-you-can-eat.
Favorite liquid refreshment:
Diet Mountain Dew
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
Before a show, I like to listen to music that will get me in the mood. At the moment, this show seems to be the "Drive" soundtrack. Odd. You'd think I'd listen to some tango or some other stuff..
Most challenging role you have ever played:
Homer in Floyd Collins
Biggest challenge about this current project:
After the curtain comes down, I would have to say that letting go of the mental journey of this show from beginning to end is probably my biggest challenge. Peron's journey is very complex and runs deeper than one would think. The walk home after every show is pretty somber. I still haven't found anything that can change my mindset quick enough.
Most fulfilling or fun aspect about the project:
Besides being in Evita, the most fulfilling part is being able to share the stage with such an incredible cast. We're experiencing new stages across the country and also becoming a family with every day that passes.
What research did you put into portraying Peron?
I did everything possible to research Peron. Internet, library, archival footage, you name it. The hardest part in researching his life is separating fact from fiction. Outside of political fact, history is fairly blurred when it comes to him as a person.
Some other Andrew Lloyd Webber roles you'd like a crack at:
Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
I would have to say that "MAGNETIC PORTCULLIS" at the end of Final Lair in Phantom of the Opera was pretty stand out. I was playing Raoul, and for those of you who know the show, the Phantom is supposed to place a noose around Raoul's neck.
Well, that night the noose didn't quite work and the Phantom had to throw me against the portcullis and magically hold me there with a Darth Vader force hold for ALL of the final lair scene.
Unfortunately, for me, when I hit the portcullis, I had to pretend that I was stuck there on contact (why I thought that is beyond me) and I stayed in a one-legged position for THE WHOLE SONG. Yes. Magnetic Portcullis. Almost as good as Poison Boot.
Worst job you ever had:
Administrative assistant. Never again.
Craziest audition story:
Well… I am not a dancer, but I would like to THINK that I move well. Anyway, years ago at an audition I was to go to a "Movement Call." I had made it through a majority of the callbacks and this was the dance portion. Well- I didn't know there was ANY dance in the show, but I thought, "Hey it's a 'movement call,' it won't be that bad."
This "Movement Call" ended up being Ballet taught to me by the choreographer in front of the creative panel in one of Ripley Grier's smallest studios. I gave it my all for what seemed a good 15 minutes, pretending I was graceful and DON'T have size 13 feet.
Well, while pretending that I was freaking Baryshnikov, I KICKED a waste paper bin filled with what seemed to be ALL of Ripley Grier's trash. I'm talking juice boxes, banana peels, tons of balled up paper, you name it. At that point, I politely thanked them for their time and quickly left the area.
If you could trade roles/tracks with anyone in the show for a week, who would it be?
Josh Young- I have always loved Che. But I will tell you, I'd never sound as freaking amazing as he does in this role. Dear God: Josh is amazing.
Leading man role you've been dying to play:
Sweeney Todd, Gordo in A New Brain, Emile De Becque and Javert
Leading lady role you'd like a shot at:
Phyllis in Follies
Something about you that surprises people:
I'm not as serious as I look.
Something you are incredibly proud of:
My son. He has changed my life for the better.
Something you're embarrassed to admit:
I am partially deaf and need contact lenses.
Career you would want if not a performer:
Toy and comic shop owner or film editor/cinematographer.
Three things you can't live without:
My family, my dogs, my toys.
"I'll never understand why…"
… reality television is so popular.
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
Don't blame yourself. Don't compare yourself. Don't ever apologize for who you are.