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Brian Hilbrand

Brian Hilbrand

Brian Hilbrand's interest in musicals started when we watched Sound of Music, and his mom and her parents were musical.  He started school musicals in lower elementary/ middle school, and then I saw my first community production in 7th grade when Lion Heart Productions did “The Sound Music”.   He was cast into the community production of “Oliver!” in the fall of 2001, and he did a run of shows after including “The King and I”, “Music Man”, and “Guys and Doll’s”, well writing the theatre column "Arts at Heart" for his High School newsletter.  He took a small hiatus from theatre to attend college for radio broadcasting/ telecommunications where he did a lot of singing in public as well as hosting karaoke on campus to fill in that void.

After college, he returned to acting for Lion Heart theatre for “Wizard of Oz” in Fall of 2011,  “Annie”, “Shrek the Musical”, “Fiddler on The Roof”, and  “Mary Poppins”.   He has also assisted with many productions for Lion Heart off stage and backstage as a stagehand, rigging person (well being in the production), an animal handler, child wrangler, and stage manager for kids theatre, since he loves to stay busy between his times on stage. All of his past experiences around the stage, have led him to stage-manage for his other love outside the theatre, “Moose Fest” an all-day country music concert for which he has done for 5 years (2015-2019) the last year. 

Brian also LOVES to attend Broadway Grand Rapids tours, Grand Rapids Symphony events, special community "arts" events, in addition to community productions, and write on them.  By doing so he hopes to bring attention to the awesome shows we are blessed to have locally at the community level to professionals.  If you would like to have your show considered for local coverage, please send me the info for the show and a way to get in contact with you.  To keep up on where I will be for BWW, and my other appearances in West Michigan, head on over and give my Media FB page a BIG “Like” and follow me there as well. 




LEARN MORE ABOUT Brian Hilbrand

First Show:

I saw the National Tour of Oliver! freshman year of High School with Braodway Grand Rapids. This also was the first community theatre show I was in 8th grade the year before.

Favorite Show:

Well Oliver! is always going to hold a special place with me, for the reasons I stated, Sound of Music is the musical I grew up watching, and have been blessed to see in multiple theaters, and versions since then, it was also the first show I saw my community theatre do the year before Oliver!, and gave the initial interest. Since then I have seen so many great shows Lion King is definitely on the top list of Tours along with SOM (Sound of Music), Phantom, and Oliver! will always stick out.

Favorite Stories:

  • Interview: Brodie Donougher A REAL LIFE BILLY ELLIOT STORY! - So there are MULTIPLE reasons this will forever be a favorite of mine! I have actually been involved the past few years in our local Professional Opera Company's productions. This past year Opera Grand Rapids presented Aida, and brought in Company dancers from Grand Rapids Ballet. I had name recognition of one of there dancers, and figured it was from my work with the tours or my general knowledge of broadway. I did my research and found it to be that individual Brodie, was a former West End Billy Elliot, and the last boy to play the role Billy 36. So my wheels were spinning and knew there was a story! When I had the opportunity to do this it was actually a HUGE opportunity to interview a former West End actor and ballet phenonminan. Brodie has quite a fan base, and I was so happy and lucky when this story was able to be crossposted to everywhere he's performed, and actually the BWW UK site host the article! Which was exciting as I got coverage in BWW West End! UPDATE to the article that didn't see this happening, but he went back to UK and was back on the West End in "The Snowman",. and currently on tour in Austria in "Das Phantom" an International tour of Phantom of the Opera in German!
  • Interview: Sandi Patty Brings Her CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS Tour to Grand Rapids along with Grand Rapids Symphony! - This was another special interview, since I grew up with the music of Sandy Patty in church and on local radio WFUR.
  • BWW Interview: Jeff Foxworthy at LaughFest. You Don't Need To Be A Red Neck To Enjoy This Comedic Show! - Jeff Foxworthy is another National level interview, and I was lucky to book a studio through my friends in Muskegon Radio, and have a Live Recording to accompany the interview.


MOST POPULAR ARTICLES


Interview: Megan Wirts of BRIGHT STAR at LionHeart Productions Has a Story to Tell!
Interview: Megan Wirts of BRIGHT STAR at LionHeart Productions Has a Story to Tell!
October 30, 2023

LionHeart Productions is presenting Bright Star, a beautiful story about faith, hope, love and forgiveness. Written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. This Tony nominated show (nominated the same year as Wicked)  will have you tapping your toes to it’s country/bluegrass sound.   We had the chance to interview one of the male leads of the show and see what Megan had to say about playing the lead role of Alice, and her thoughts on Bright Star.

Interview: David Hatter of BRIGHT STAR at LionHeart Productions
Interview: David Hatter of BRIGHT STAR at LionHeart Productions
October 23, 2023

LionHeart Productions is presenting Bright Star, a beautiful story about faith, hope, love and forgiveness. Written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. This Tony nominated show (nominated the same year as Wicked)  will have you tapping your toes to it’s country/bluegrass sound.   We had the chance to interview one of the male leads of the show and see what David had to say about playing the role of Jimmy Ray, and his thoughts on Bright Star.

Interview: Brodie Donougher A REAL LIFE BILLY ELLIOT STORY!
Interview: Brodie Donougher A REAL LIFE BILLY ELLIOT STORY!
May 28, 2023

What do you get when you have a ballet dancer who dreams of making it professionally and showing the world that guys can dance too?  You have a real-life Billy Elliot story, which is happening to someone who played the titular role of Billy on the West End back home in the UK, and is now here in the US studying and training in professional ballet making his dancing dreams a reality! Not only does he dance, but he has done a few acting roles as well and even participated in a professional opera as a dancer. He is taking the role, and making it his real-life story!   At the end of the musical, we see Billy leaving his home and family to head off for training at the Royal Ballet School, so this is like getting to see the story continue beyond the stage!  Broadway World Detroit got a chance to catch up with Brodie Donougher, the last person to play the role of Billy, and see what he’s up to since his days on the West End stage 7 years ago!

Interview: Buffy And Bob Alonzo of THE ODD COUPLE at Lion Heart Productions
Interview: Buffy And Bob Alonzo of THE ODD COUPLE at Lion Heart Productions
March 14, 2023

Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple is a classic comedy in which a group of guys assembles for cards in the apartment of divorced Oscar Madison. And if the mess is any indication, it's no wonder that his wife left him. Late to arrive is Felix Unger, who has just been separated from his wife. Depressed, and none too tense, Felix seems suicidal, but as the action unfolds Oscar becomes the one with murder on his mind when the clean freak and the slob ultimately decide to room together with hilarious results as The Odd Couple is born.

Interview: Sandi Patty Brings Her CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS Tour to Grand Rapids along with Grand Rapids Symphony!
Interview: Sandi Patty Brings Her CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS Tour to Grand Rapids along with Grand Rapids Symphony!
December 5, 2022

“The Voice” herself, Miss Sandi Patty winner of five Grammy® awards, and four Billboard Awards joins Grand Rapids Symphony for a one-night-only special Christmas concert Thursday, December 22, 2022, at 7:00 PM at DeVos Performance Hall. “Christmas Blessings” will feature classics such as “Silent Night,” “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “O Holy Night, and Winter Wonderland.” Sandi, as well as her pianist and musical director Steve Potts, join the Grand Rapids Symphony and Assistant Conductor Duo Shen for this must-see event!   We got to talk to Sandy ahead of her stop in Grand Rapids about music, career influences, as well as what we will hear in Grand Rapids.

Interview: Ron Jenkins and Avery Mills of CINDERELLA at Lionheart Productions
Interview: Ron Jenkins and Avery Mills of CINDERELLA at Lionheart Productions
October 30, 2022

Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella opens at the Grant Fine Arts Center this week, bringing back Lion Heart Productions’ first large-cast musical since Mamma Mia! In 2019.  The show is running 2 weekends, through November 12th, and is the new Broadway adaptation of the classic musical. This contemporary take on the classic tale features Rodgers & Hammerstein's most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It's Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago”.   BroadwayWorld Michigan had a chance to speak with Director Ron Jenkins and one of the show's stars, Avery Mills playing Ella, in this classic and delightful show. Enjoy our chat and their fun answers to get you excited for the performance tonight and in the coming weeks!

Review: Grand Rapids Symphony Season Opens With Beethovens-Fifth, Sarah Change, and The World Premier of Immortal Beloved!
Review: Grand Rapids Symphony Season Opens With Beethovens-Fifth, Sarah Change, and The World Premier of Immortal Beloved!
September 28, 2022

What did our critic think of: Grand Rapids Symphony Season Opens With Beethovens-Fifth, Sarah Change, and The World Premier of Immortal Beloved! I was fortunate enough to kick off another season with the Grand Rapids Symphony. The 2022-2023 season marked the anniversary season conducted by Marcelo Lehninger, the symphony presented Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Brunch Violin Concerto No. 1 with special guest Sarah Chang.  They also presented the world premiere of Immortal Beloved, a piece composed by Grand Rapids Symphony musician oboist Alexander L. Miller.

BWW Review: MOTHERHOOD THE MUSICAL at Lion Heart Productions
BWW Review: MOTHERHOOD THE MUSICAL at Lion Heart Productions
May 7, 2022

Lion Heart Production’s Motherhood The Musical, written by Sue Fabisch is a musical about how having a baby is just the beginning and how motherhood is for life. Motherhood is a funny, yet loving look at being a mom at any age. It’s climbing the emotional mountain only to find that there’s laundry at the top. Making its Grant stage debut, Motherhood The Musical is playing at the Grant Public Schools Fine Arts Center in Grant, Michigan Mothers Day weekend Friday, May 6th, and Saturday, May 7th

BWW Interview: Theresa  Thomas of ELEVEN MONTHS OF NUCLEAR SUMMER at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center At University Of Notre Dame
BWW Interview: Theresa Thomas of ELEVEN MONTHS OF NUCLEAR SUMMER at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center At University Of Notre Dame
March 29, 2022

Eleven Months of Nuclear Summer is running from April 1st through April 3rd at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of The University of Notre Dame. In an original play written by Sophie McIntosh, the staff is just starting to settle into their roles at Camp Aster when an unfortunately-timed nuclear apocalypse derails their summer plans and strands them in the Maine wilderness. As the months wear on and the hope of rescue grows slimmer, camp director Dawn and her team of young employees must fight for survival while navigating interpersonal relationships, decision-making responsibilities, and disaster after endless disaster. This is the world premiere of this show and it is an all-women's cast featuring original music and underscores. We had a chance to interview one of the cast members from the show and here’s what she shared with us.

BWW Interview: Janie Minchella and Alan Ellias of 'LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE'  at St. Dunstan's At Cranbrook Playhouse.
BWW Interview: Janie Minchella and Alan Ellias of 'LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE' at St. Dunstan's At Cranbrook Playhouse.
March 16, 2022

'Love, Loss, and What I Wore'  is playing through March 18th- April 2nd at St. Dunstan’s at Cranbrook Playhouse.  Written by Nora and Delia Ephron of You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, this play is like a heart-to-heart with a dear friend over coffee (or wine). Funny. Poignant. Heartfelt. Profound. Perfect for a Girls Night Out.  Broadway World Detroit had a chance to talk recently to one of the actresses from the show and the director about their production and why you will not want to miss this show 2 years after it was originally scheduled and what it means to them now.

BWW Review: Symphonic Return To Bid Farewell to John Varineau at An American in Paris!
BWW Review: Symphonic Return To Bid Farewell to John Varineau at An American in Paris!
January 20, 2022

I was fortunate enough to get to head down to DeVos Hall for the first live event I have been to there in over two years, the last being to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the week the tour was put on pause due to Covid.   I was very excited to come back for a very special event, to not only hear a great concert but to help send off someone whom I’ve gotten to see quite a bit since starting BroadwayWorld Detroit back in 2018.  Grand Rapids Symphony, Associate Conductor John Varineau, retired in May 2021. He was recognized at an outdoor event on August 1, 2021. This concert marked his farewell, where he lead the orchestra Grand Rapids Symphony Adult Chorus.

BWW Review: THE CHRISTMAS TREE SHIP at Blue Gate Theatre
BWW Review: THE CHRISTMAS TREE SHIP at Blue Gate Theatre
December 3, 2021

Blue Gate Theatre’s The Christmas Tree Ship, is a new musical inspired by the true story of the famous Christmas Tree Ship, the Rouse Simmons.  The story about a ship, a storm, and a Christmas story of heroic proportions. Experience one woman's unsinkable determination to continue her husband's mission of bringing Christmas trees to their Chicago community.  The Christmas Tree Ship is currently playing at the Blue Gate Music Hall in Shipshewana, Indiana Monday- Saturday (Various times) through January 8th.

BWW Review: BEST OF ME- A NEW MUSICAL COMEDY at Blue Gate Theatre
BWW Review: BEST OF ME- A NEW MUSICAL COMEDY at Blue Gate Theatre
April 26, 2021

Blue Gate Theatre’s The Best Of Me - A New Musical Comedy, is a show that is about a young Amish girl, who finds herself unable to do the traditional things Amish women are know for, and finds herself with her eyes set on Broadway!  The Best of Me is currently playing at the Blue Gate Music Hall in Shipshewana, Indiana Monday- Saturday (Various times) through July 29th.

BWW Review: ROMEO AND JULIET Virtually With Grand Rapids Symphony and Grand Rapids Ballet.
BWW Review: ROMEO AND JULIET Virtually With Grand Rapids Symphony and Grand Rapids Ballet.
September 29, 2020

Grand Rapids Symphony presents Romeo and Juliet, the first of three new shows in the 2020 Season.  Pathwaves presented by SpartanNash, is the Symphonya??s reimagined 2020-2021 artistic seasons.  For the 2020 part of the season they are sharing the gift of music with the West Michigan community through a dynamic and innovative season of concerts, delivered via live stream. The new Pathwaves series includes varied styles of music and diverse composers, like waves of hope leading us down our communitya??s path of healing.

BWW Review: New Musical THE GÜT LIFE! Promises A Simple But Güt Time at Blue Gate Theatre!
BWW Review: New Musical THE GÜT LIFE! Promises A Simple But Güt Time at Blue Gate Theatre!
August 6, 2020

Blue Gate Theatrea??s A Güt Life! is a show about life on an Amish farm, and how it is full of unique challenges and rich blessings.   Presented by Amish story tellers Eliza and Simon Yoder, who give you a glimpse into their life together.  Not only does this charming show not only have jokes that will make you laugh, but it also will leave you fascinated as you learn things you may not know about the Amish lifestyle.  A Güt Life! is currently playing at the Blue Gate Music Hall in Shipshewana, Indiana Monday- Saturday (Various times) through September 5th.

BWW Interview: Blue Gate Hospitality VP, Andrew Rohrer, Talks A Safe Return to The Theatre and THE GÜT LIFE
BWW Interview: Blue Gate Hospitality VP, Andrew Rohrer, Talks A Safe Return to The Theatre and THE GÜT LIFE
August 3, 2020

The Güt Life is currently playing until September 25th at the Blue Gate Music Hall, in Shipshewana, Indiana making its theatrical debut.  The Blue Gate Restaurant and Theatre is the first venue in Southern Michigan/ Northern Indiana  to open back up, and I couldna??t be more excited to have a show to see!  In the spirit of welcoming back live theatre safely, I thought it would be a great idea to share some of the things that they are doing making it possible to have a safe opening for musical theatre performances.  I interviewed Andrew Rohrer VP of Sales and Marketing, for Blue Gate Hospitality, on behalf of the Blue Gate Theatre and Restaurant.  He answered some questions for what can be expected for their shows this season, and what is being done to keep the audience cast and crew safe.

BWW Review: FIRST WEEKEND ROUNDUP at Gilda's Club LaughFest With Clean Comedy All-Star Showcase, and Miranda Sings.
BWW Review: FIRST WEEKEND ROUNDUP at Gilda's Club LaughFest With Clean Comedy All-Star Showcase, and Miranda Sings.
March 9, 2020

Gilda's LaughFest 2020 kicked off Thursday, March 5th and goes through Sunday, March 15th. Thursday started with an opening proclamation featuring Grand Rapids Mayor Roslynn Bliss and others looking back on the last ten years and ahead to 2020. The first weekend full with events for everyone, ranging from family friendly to some adult only comedy, making it a great kick off to the event!

BWW Interview: Jeff Foxworthy at LaughFest.  You Don't Need To Be A Red Neck To Enjoy This Comedic Show!
BWW Interview: Jeff Foxworthy at LaughFest. You Don't Need To Be A Red Neck To Enjoy This Comedic Show!
February 12, 2020

Jeff Foxworthy will headline the Gilda's LaughFest 10th Anniversary Signature Event. The 2020 Signature Event, A Night with Jeff Foxworthy, is a fundraiser for Gilda's Club Grand Rapids. Jeff Foxworthy is one of the most respected and successful comedians in the country. The Grammy Award nominee and best-selling author of more than 26 books is widely known for his Redneck jokes and his act goes well beyond that to explore the humor in everyday family interactions and human nature a?" a style that has been compared to Mark Twain's. The Signature Event is March, 14th, 2020 with a dinner that begins at 5:30 PM a show that follows at 8 PM.

BWW Previews: Comedy Filled JEFF DUNHAM: SERIOUSLY! TOUR Comes to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids
BWW Previews: Comedy Filled JEFF DUNHAM: SERIOUSLY! TOUR Comes to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids
December 21, 2019

Comedian Jeff Dunham is currently making his way across North American and Canada on his Jeff Dunham: Seriously!? Tour.  The tour will be coming to Grand Rapids, Michigan on Monday, December 30th and bringing some friends along for the ride!  You can expect Peanut, Walter, José Jalapeño, Bubba J. and Achmed the Dead Terrorist coming along on this comedy-filled tour that promises to be full of many laughs.



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