When I began this feature on my blog, my goal was to spotlight two sets of people: 1) family and friends who have had a profound influence on me personally, professionally, or both, and 2) those I’ve encountered along my life’s journey who have devoted their lives to at least one of what I call the “Three A’s”: Adventure, the Arts, or Altruism. One of the first individuals I thought to spotlight was Brian Marshall, a former student of mine at Sandusky Central Catholic from the class of 1996.
Despite my own jock, “There’s no “I” in team!” background, as a classroom teacher, I’ve always been drawn to the nonconformists, independent thinkers, and artistically inclined. Undoubtedly, it takes a significant amount of courage to run downfield on the kickoff team or to take to the wrestling mat, but I marvel at the even greater courage shown by those who are willing to lay themselves bare on a stage and perform as actors and musicians. I think it was in Brian that I first recognized the challenge and beauty of producing and performing in youth theater. I knew he was special then, and he has only further validated my faith in him and hopes for him in his adult life and theatrical career.
By the way. I’m sure I never told him any of that. I should have.
My problem in featuring Brian has been twofold: firstly, I have only personally run into him a handful of times over the past twenty-five years, and secondly, he is one of the busiest men in show business. However, to my great joy, Brian recently found a few moments to share some tidbits of his life and career with me through Facebook. He also suggested a title to the post, which wouldn’t be too far off for my own autobiography: “Brian Marshall: Diet Coke and Musical Theater Addict.”
Among the parishioners of Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Sandusky, Brian and his brother Dan, a brilliant playwright, the Education Manager at The Metropolitan Opera in NYC, and one who I hope to feature in the future, are top tier celebrities and parish treasures. For a number of years, they have sung at Christmas Eve masses in angelic harmony. I’ve witnessed mass attendees cry during “Mary, Did You Know,” and with apologies to Andy Williams, I’ve never heard the much-performed “O, Holy Night” ever sung so beautifully as the Marshall brothers’ version. Their rendition is always met with thunderous applause.
Like most people of genuine accomplishment that I know, Brian says he is “TERRIBLE at talking about myself.” He was especially reluctant to discuss his battle with leukemia in his twenties, so I’ll leave that there. The “most exciting thing” — which is far from the truth — that he could think of was that he currently lives in an “1893 train station in downtown Cleveland. Let me help Brian boast.
After SMCC, Brian continued his education at the prestigious and highly thought of among theater professionals Conservatory of Music at Baldwin-Wallace University. He eventually added to his curriculum vitae by earning a Masters degree in Non-Profit Management.
In his 21 years on the stage, Brian has performed in 7 national tours and appeared in over 150 shows. He has also directed 100 shows, most notably with the award-winning Caryl Crane Youth Theatre for whom Brian has served as Artistic Director since 2010. During his tenure with CCYT, he has won first place director’s awards at the Musical Theatre Competitions of America (2021) and first place at the National Performing Arts Festival in Orlando, Florida.
Brian is also the Co-founder, Managing Director, and a frequent actor for the Mercury Theatre Company based in Cleveland, whose vision is to “strive to lead in the creation of wildly innovative works of musical theatre, in theatre training and generating unique programs for using theatre as an inspiration for creative development.” Brian won the Best Actor Award in a Musical for playing the title role in Chaplin, the Musical. According to one review, “Brian Marshall was born for the role and there was nothing humbling about his spot-on and highly entertaining portrayal.”
Here’s a link to The Mercury Theatre Company’s next production, the musical Amelie, in which Brian will be performing:
Break a leg, Brian!
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