San Diego

‘American in Paris' Local Kyle Vaughn Dances Back Home to San Diego

"By bringing it back to San Diego, it's like I get to share it with all my old voice coaches, my acting coaches, and my teachers from school and all my friends and family," Kyle Vaughn said

For San Diego native Kyle Vaughn, performing at the San Diego Civic Theater with "American in Paris" on tour feels like coming home. 

"It was one of the first big theaters I performed in, and I'm back tonight" Kyle Vaughn, who plays Mr. Z in the show, told NBC 7. 

Vaughn first began his journey with "American in Paris" when he auditioned for the Paris production before it came to Broadway.

He was cut after the first round of auditions, he said, but he didn't give up. He later auditioned for the Broadway run, and then the tour. 

Vaughn was eating sushi at a Brooklyn restaurant last summer when he got the email learning he had booked the "American in Paris" tour. 

"I'm eating my sushi and I get the email while I'm eating and literally the chopsticks just open and the sushi just falls to the plate," Vaughn said.

"I'm like, 'Oh my God,'" he recalled. "I booked Mr. Z."

He's been with the show since they started rehearsals about a year ago, dancing and singing in the high-energy production. 

Audiences familiar with the movie will not see an exact replica of the movie on stage. The story has been slightly altered -- the musical opens right after the war ends, for example -- and they have new arrangements classical music.

It's the type of music most audiences will recognize, Vaughn said, but not necessarily know where they recognize the music from right away. 

"The Gershwin music is so [beautiful], and the way the orchestrations are done for our show, it's just like -- you'll recognize all the tunes, but you're like, 'how do I know that tune, or where was that from? Oh right, I think they did a movement of that in Fantasia,'" Vaughn said. 

The show has something for everyone, he said. It's perfect for couples in love, people who love dance and audiences who just love musical theater.  

Bringing the show to San Diego on tour means a lot to him, Vaughn said. He grew up in San Diego and attended the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. 

He was still in high school when he got a job touring the world with an Irish dance company. He later moved to New York City on a scholarship at Broadway Dance Center. He was just 20 years old when he got his Equity card.

Growing up, Vaughn said, his parents had season tickets to La Jolla Playhouse. 

"I cannot tell you how many amazing incredible theater experiences I've had at La Jolla Playhouse," he said.

"I think all of that shaped me to want to like, I want to do what they're doing. I want to be in a show like this that's innovative and new and fresh," he added.

He's performed on stage at the Civic with the San Diego Opera, he said.

Coming back to this particular stage feels a lot like coming home, Vaughn said. 

"By bringing it back to San Diego, it's like I get to share it with all my old voice coaches, my acting coaches, and my teachers from school and all my friends and family," Vaughn said. "It's really special."

"An American in Paris" is a Tony Award-winning musical -- based off the popular movie -- that follows the love story between a mysterious French girl and an American soldier. The score features songs from George and Ira Gershwin. The musical runs in San Diego through Sept. 10. To get tickets, click here

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