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- February 5, 2018
Sarah was recently featured in Arts Review Australia for their “On the Couch” series. Full interview below:
Who is Sarah Shahinian?
If only I knew… if you find out, can you let me in on the secret, please?
What would you do differently to what you do now?
If I wasn’t involved in the arts in some capacity, I think the only other life that would make me as equally happy would be working with animals. I love all kinds of animals, I’ve always wanted to do some sort of specialty training to work with them. I worked briefly with chimpanzees and tigers in California in my early 20s, that was life-changing! Unfortunately it’s about as consistent and lucrative as performing, so… the devil you know, I guess.
Who inspires you and why?
Tough one… I guess the simplest answer would be my grandfather. He passed away in 2005 and I still miss him every day. He was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide and came to America with nothing. He was a fighter pilot in WWII, ran his own photoengraving business, put five children through college and advanced degrees. He was a violinist and an art collector, music was always a part of my life from a very young age because of him. He was an incredible man and true patriarch of our family who led our clan with love and fairness and generosity. The world was a better place with him in it. Or at least my world was.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I believe it’s the little things that can truly make a big difference, so I try to make small changes wherever I can. For example, I worked on a show with a girl who was big on environmental protection, so she gave out those little foldable fabric bags that scrunch up really small to everyone in the cast as an opening night gift. I still carry it with me in my purse so I don’t have to use a plastic bag from any store I happen to pop into, and it inspired me to give those out as little Christmas gifts that year as well, in a “pay it forward” sort of way. In the grand scheme of things, a thousand people making one small change has a much bigger impact than one person making a huge dramatic change. Another example: if everyone cut back to only eating meat three times a week rather than twice a day, that would make a much bigger impact on animal welfare and the health of the meat industry than five people becoming full vegetarians, does that make sense?
Favourite holiday destination and why?
I don’t think I have a specific one, as I rarely return to a holiday spot once I’ve been there. I just love to travel and explore in general and there’s too much else to see in the world. I love sunshine and outdoor activities. Anywhere I can hike and be out in nature and prehistoric beauty, I’m a happy gal. My partner and I just keep making lists of places we haven’t been yet and tick them off as we go! My favourite one from the past year would probably be Bryce Canyon in Utah. Google it, it’s breathtaking!
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’m a sucker for the Great Ocean Road, I think I’ve done it four times now in just the past five years… pretty much every time someone new comes to town. When you first round that corner and catch sight of those mammoth pillars, it feels other-worldly. Really puts things into perspective. I also always recommend the Healesville Animal Sanctuary, because it’s the best place to go see JUST Australian animals, which is of course what people want to see when they arrive from overseas… they’re not interested in elephants at the zoo, they want to see echidnas and wombats and dingos, oh my!
What are you currently reading?
I’m still trying to find a good new fiction piece that excites me, so I’m open to recommendations. Until someone offers a good one, I’m stuck re-reading Harry Potter again… not like I’ve had any time for reading the past few weeks anyway!!!
What are you currently listening to?
If I’m answering literally? my dog snoring… if you’re asking musically? I generally have something mellow and acoustic on in the background. I love good lyrics… it’s all about the storytelling, isn’t it? Some of my favs are Paul Simon, James Taylor, Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles, John Mayer, etc… I’m a little bit stuck in the past that way.
Snuggles on the couch with my man and my doggo and a binge watch of a good drama series.
What does the future hold for you?
Hmmm… I could answer with what I WANT the future to hold, but the beauty and the bitch of it is I have no idea! I know what I want and am currently pursuing in my personal life, but the universe seems to continually have other plans for me, so I’m just along for the ride! Had you asked me this question ten years ago, I probably would have said I was a New Yorker for life. Now I’m living halfway across the world and I can’t see myself ever going back to the mayhem of Manhattan… case and point. The control freak in me is finally learning to let go, I think… maybe…
Image: Sarah Shahinian – photo by Belinda Strodder
- February 1 – 11, 2018
After a five year hiatus from the stage, Sarah is making her Australian stage debut with StageArt’s production of Falsettos at Chapel off Chapel, directed by Tyran Parke. She is thrilled to be playing “Trina” alongside Don Winsor as “Marvin”, Nick Simpson-Deeks as “Mendel”, Sam Ward as “Whizzer”, Francesca Arena as “Dr. Charlotte”, and Jenni Little as “Cordelia”, with Ben Jason-Easton and Riley Flood sharing the role of “Jason”. Falsettos is a hilarious and achingly poignant look at the infinite possibilities that make up a modern family… and a beautiful reminder that love can tell a million stories.
- April 8 – May 31, 2015
Sarah is currently directing RESPECT (a musical journey of women) again! This time back in Philadelphia where it all began in 2009, but with a brand new cast. Playing at the Penn’s Landing Playhouse, the cast features April Woodall, Marissa Barnathan, Lindsay Roberts, and Lauren Rooney, with Sarah Biddle and Dionne Carole understudying, and John Daniels as music director. This is Sarah’s 5th version of the show!
- May 2014 – May 2019
Sarah is now living in Australia full time and working as a talent agent for Ian White Management in Melbourne. IWM is a vibrant boutique agency representing a select group of actors in film, television, theatre, musical theatre, and commercials.
- February 5 – March 2, 2014
Sarah’s version of RESPECT: A Musical Journey of Women will once again be returning to the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix, AZ. The cast will feature Rachel Richards, Heather Paton, Carlita Victoria, and Hannah M. James. The journey continues!
- September 2013
The Active Theater is proud to announce the development of two new plays for their 2013/2014 Season: LOVELY SEND ANYWHERE by Douglas J. Cohen, and SAM I AM by Joshua H. Cohen. Sarah will be directing and leading the development on SAM I AM. Stay tuned for information about invited readings and final workshop presentation dates! Read the BroadwayWorld announcement here.
- April 25 – July 14, 2013
Sarah is directing RESPECT again, this time at the Downstairs Cabaret Theater in Rochester, NY. The cast features Davida Bloom, Jenna Paulus, Carlita Victoria, and Sara Laursen.
- February 25, 2013
Wow, what an incredible experience! Sarah performed with the movie cast of Les Misérables at the 2013 Oscars. Spot her third from the right (the short one, haha!) in the dark blue dress. Watch the performance here. And check out the interview with fellow castmember Julie Garnye for BroadwayWorld.com for more photos and details on the experience!
- February 24, 2013
- February 13 – March 3, 2013
Sarah is finally back in The States after a life-changing year in Australia. She is currently remounting the San Diego cast of RESPECT: A Musical Journey of Women at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix, Arizona. This round includes Nancy Snow Carr, Kelsey Venter, Lisa H. Payton, and Heather Paton, with Taylor Peckham as MD. Check out the interview on Arizona Midday with Sarah and actress Nancy Snow Carr, and another interview for AZTV with actress Kelsey Venter.
- June 12, 2012
Sarah has officially arrived back in Australia to finish out the rest of her year-long VISA! Click here if you’d like to join her email update list and stay informed of all her adventures down under!
- May 25 – June 10, 2012
- March 19 – April 18, 2012
Sarah is currently directing RESPECT: A Musical Journey of Women at the Lyceum Theatre in San Diego. Her cast includes Leigh Scarritt, Lisa H. Payton, Nancy Snow Carr, and Kelsey Venter, with Ashlee Mayer and Cashae Monya understudying, and she couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with this talented group of ladies. Performances begin April 18th.
- January 1 – December 31, 2012
Sarah has been granted a working-holiday visa to visit Australia for a year! She will be back and forth to the states for some projects she has already committed too, but she is beyond excited to explore the outback and teach some masterclasses at the many wonderful performing arts programs throughout the country.
- January 4 – October 27, 2011
Sarah has been on tour with the 25th Anniversary production of Les Misérables for exactly one year (including rehearsals), and it is finally time to say goodbye. Love and thanks to everyone who made it an incredible journey!
- July 2011
- November 19 – December 30, 2010
Sarah will be staying close to home for the holidays this year, performing in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Les Misérables. The production will then hit the road in January and tour North America as the new 25th Anniversary re-imagining of the award winning classic. Read the casting announcement on Playbill.com.
- October 14, 2010
Sarah will be reuniting with another Snapshots cast member this month, Kevin Michael Murphy, as part of his concert series If It Only Even Runs a Minute. She will be singing a song from the Broadway flop Lestat in the 9:30pm version of the concert as part of the 2010 New York Musical Theatre Festival. Read the Playbill.com announcement.
- October 4, 2010
Sarah will be reading the role of “Young Lillian” in The Empress by Tamara Jenkins, reuniting with Snapshots cast members Michael Marcotte and Jay Montgomery. The evening is the first in the Harbor Lights Theater Company’s new play development series, the resident theater company of Staten Island.
- September 28 – October 6, 2010
“He was dubbed ‘the next Dylan, the next Springsteen’ by the man who discovered them both. So why have you never heard of Ned Massey?” Sarah will be assistant directing this edgy new rock musical Bloodties as part of this year’s NYMF – New York Musical Theater Festival. Directed by Scott C. Embler.
- September 27, 2010
- September 5, 2010
- June 17 – July 1, 2010
Sarah will be reading the role of “Bell” in Matthew Keuter’s Bridgeboy as part of The Active Theater‘s annual play development series. Our goal, as a company, is to work with up and coming playwrights to help develop a script with the intention of including it in our next season. Click here for more information about the development series and how to submit.
- June 7, 2010
- May 6-16, 2010
Sarah is thrilled to again be playing “Leigh” in William Donnelly’s Magnetic North. Co-produced by The Active Theater and Greg Schaffert, and directed by Jeremy Dobrish, the cast also includes Christian Campbell, Scott Richard Foster, and Heather Lee Harper. Check out the press releases on BroadwayWorld.com and Playbill.com!
- April 24, 2010
Sarah has been asked by the Harbor Lights Theater Company of Staten Island to be part of a one-night-only gala event honoring Stephen Schwartz! Show starts at 8pm at the St. George Theater, tickets $35 and up.
- April 2, 3, & 16, 2010
Sarah is assistant directing a world premiere opera entitled Margot Alone in the Light as part of Opera Mission’s “Opera in Flight” at the Gershwin Hotel and Galapagos Arts Space.
- February 4-14, 2010
- January 2010
- November 24th – December 27th, 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
A few small projects this month. First, Sarah is shooting an independent film called Brothers Three about an Irish Mafia family. She plays the lone sister among the 3 brothers. Then, she is also reprising her role as “Susie” in a brief workshop of Stephen Schwartz’s Snapshots to be directed by Richard Maltby, Jr. here in NYC.
- June 23rd – July 4th, 2009
Sarah is thrilled to again be a part of Daniel Zaitchik‘s musical Picnic at Hanging Rock. In the wonderful hands of director Joe Calarco, it will be workshopped this summer at the Eugene O’Neill National Music Theater Conference. Click here to learn more about the show and listen to some audio samples. Or check out the articles on Playbill.com and Behind The Curtain.
- June 1st & 3rd, 2009
After LOVING her first real assistant directing gig, Sarah has decided to pursue it further. She is ADing with director Scott C. Embler on a staged reading of a wonderful new play called Fun and Games, by Joshua H. Cohen.
- April & May, 2009
Sarah is thrilled to be stretching her artistic muscles in a different way this month. She is Assistant Directing RESPECT at Act 2 Playhouse in Ambler, PA with one of her former directors, Bud Martin. Performances begin May 5th.
- April 24, 2009
- March 24 – April 5, 2009
Sarah will be able to check one of her dream roles off her list! She will be playing “Eponine” in Les Misérables at Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars. Directed by Fred Hanson, the cast will also star Rob Evan as Jean-Valjean, Robert Hunt as Javert, Andrea Rivette as Fantine, Leah Horowitz as Cosette, Anderson Davis as Marius, Ed Watts as Enjolras, Ed Dixon as Thénardier, and Mary Gutzi as Madam Thénardier. See the announcements on Playbill.com, BroadwayWorld.com, and Theatermania.com.
- October 21 – November 16, 2008
Sarah will be returning to Ambler, PA in a new play called Magnetic North by William Donnelly at Act 2 Playhouse. She will be playing “Leigh” and her wonderful boyfriend Brad Heikes will be playing her husband “James”. Philadelphia actors Christie Parker and Paul Felder complete the cast. Directed by Bud Martin. Read the announcement on Playbill and on BroadwayWorld.
- September 4-28, 2008
- June 13 – July 13, 2008
Sarah will be playing “Erin” in Married Alive at the Act 2 Playhouse in Ambler, PA for the summer. The cast also includes Kevin David Thomas, Rosemary Loar, and Neal Mayer. Read the announcement on Playbill! It’s a little less than 2 hours from NYC and about half an hour from Philadelphia, so come check it out if you’re in the area!
- April 9, 2008
Set your Tivos for Guiding Light on CBS. Sarah is making her network television debut playing a pregnant bathroom attendant (it’s a scene with Ava, for those of you who watch the show). Blink, and you might miss it!
- March 30, 2008
Sarah was part of the recent Paul Gemignani Tribute Concert at the YM-YWHA of North Jersey in Wayne, NJ. Check out the announcement on Playbill.com!
(photo with Ali Ewoldt)
- January 10-26, 2008
Come see Sarah in Oedipus at Colonus at the Handcart Ensemble down on 14th St! Directed by Karen Kirkham, the cast includes Ned Butikofer, Susanna Florence, Michael Graves, Peter Judd, Nick Moran, Ralph Petrarca, Emily Rogge, Laurie Schroeder, and Allison Schubert.
- December 2007
Sarah will be shooting 2 short films next month: an independent film called On the Prowl, directed by Vaughn Stewart, and a student film call The Goldfish, directed by Soojung Kwon.
- November & December 2007
Sarah will be a part of Daniel Zaitchik‘s new musical Picnic at Hanging Rock, which will be workshopping at Lincoln Center. Directed by Joe Calarco, the cast includes: Celia Keenan-Bolger, Barbara Walsh, Megan McGinnis, Bobby Steggert, Emily Walton, Whitney Bashor, Carey Anderson, Laila Robins, Charlie Brady, Veronica J. Kuehn, Anne Letscher, Katherine McClain, Nicole Van Geisen, John Thomas Waite, Lynne Wintersteller, and Cortney Wolfson.
- October 27, 2007
The Rocky Horror Show concert has become an annual tradition at the Riverspace in Nyack (formerly the Helen Hayes Theatre). So Sarah joined Neil Berg & friends to play “Columbia” again this year. It featured Ray McLeod as “Frank’n’furter”, Rita Harvey as “Janet”, Kevin Reed as “Brad”, Michael Park as “Rocky”, Carter Calvert as “Magenta”, and Danny Zolli as “Rif Raf”.
- September 8 & 9, 2007
The pilot Sarah shot in June, The Band, has been accepted into the New York Television Festival. It will be screening Sept. 8th and 9th at New World Stages. It was produced by KC/LD Entertainment, Kevin A. Calhoun & Loretta DeStefano, and directed by James Gardner. The cast includes: Andria Viktoria Kozica, Wil Petre, Sarah Shahinian, Virginia Crawford, and Mark Christine.
- July 26 – August 19, 2007
Daytona Beach, Florida is where Sarah will be this summer, playing “Susie” in a new Stephen Schwartz musical called Snapshots. This 6 person cast will be performing at Seaside Music Theatre and working with Mr. Schwartz himself!
- May 2007
Sarah is performing in two things this month. The first is a reading of a new musical by her good friend Daniel Zaitchik. This will be on Wednesday, May 16th at Ars Nova. Secondly, Sarah will be singing a few songs in her friend and former on-stage lover Daniel Robinson’s cabaret at the Duplex on Monday, May 28th at 9:30pm. Tickets are available at the Duplex’s website if you’d like to come by for a few drinks and a few good songs!
- December 8-10, 2006
Sarah has just been cast as “Quinn” in a workshop of a new musical called Tully (In No Particular Order) by Joshua William Gelb and Stephanie Johnstone. It will perform in New York City December 8th, 9th & 10th at the Theatre for the New City. They will also be recording a demo CD.
- October 28, 2006
Sarah was asked to perform the role of “Columbia” in a concert version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the Grand Re-opening of the former Helen Hayes Theatre in Nyack, NY. It was a blast! It featured Ron Bohmer as “Frank’n’furter”, Rita Harvey as “Janet”, Brad Little as “Brad”, Michael Park as “Rocky”, and Danny Zolli as “Rif Raf”.
- June 15 – August 5, 2006
Reprising roles seems to be a common theme this year, as Sarah will be playing “Belle” again in Disney’s Beauty & the Beast this summer at the Broadway Palm West Theatre in Mesa, Arizona.
- January 22 – May 7, 2006
Sarah will be reprising her role as “Ado Annie” on the National Tour of OKLAHOMA! for the last 3 months of its journey on the road. So all of you who missed it the first time around, this is your last chance to see it! Check the official website for schedule and ticket details.
- December 5, 2005
Sarah will once again be singing for the World Aids Day Fundraiser for the Joey DiPaolo Aids Foundation. This year, they are doing a concert of The Secret Garden, featuring Laura Benanti, Will Chase, Stephen Pasqaule, Michael Arden, Celia Keenan-Bolger, David Canary, and many more.
- July 6 – August 28, 2005
Sarah just returned from playing “Belle” in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at La Comedia Dinner Theatre in Springboro, Ohio, with Shane Tanner as “the Beast” and Thomas C. Rainey as “Gaston”. It was a wonderful production with a very talented cast, but the working environment was not so great. I would discourage fellow actors from working there.
- May 18 – June 11, 2005
Evita at Gateway Playhouse in Bellport, NY starred Lisa Brescia, Dan Cooney, and Jonathan Hammond. Sarah played one of Eva’s sisters, a Buenos Aires dancer, and an Aristocrat. It was a wonderful experience, both onstage and off.
- January 14-30, 2005
Sarah played “Heidi” in the Philadelphia premiere of I SING! a new musical, with Melinda Bass, Jared Gertner, Michael Philip O’Brien, and Jonathan Shade. This was the inaugural production of the 11th Hour Theater Company!
- November 29, 2004
The Pippin concert to Benefit the Aids Fund raised nearly $93,000. It starred Rosie O’Donnell, Ben Vereen, Terrence Mann, Billy Porter, Darius DeHaas, Julia Murney, Michael Arden, Kate Shindle, Laura Benanti, Cameron Mathison…the list goes on. Sarah was part of the ensemble. Click here for more information and pictures of the star-studded event.
- September 23 – October 3, 2004
Sarah was part of the inaugural season of the New York Musical Theatre Festival in Kait Kerrigan & Brian Lowdermilk’s The Woman Upstairs, starring Alison Fraser and Kate Shindle. The cast also included Deb Heinig, Aaron Ramey, Gwen Hollander, Pearl Sun, Jennifer Malenke, Mark Bradley Miller, Aaron Berk, Roderick Covington, Sheri Sanders, Josh Young, Lisa Wilkerson, and Katelyn Pippy. Click here to listen to some sample recordings from the show!
- November 2003 – August 2004
Sarah originated the role of “Ado Annie” on the First National Tour of the Trevor Nunn Broadway Revival of OKLAHOMA! Check out the projects page for reviews & production photos.
(photo credit: Joan Marcus)