Sarah McGraw imbues every lyric of a song with the kinetic theatricality born of a life on the stage. This is where the role matters as much as the words, and where it is critical to capture dialect in order to convey culture and character. She is perfectly at home in the high school auditorium performing with students and a rump company playing "The Mikado" and other works. She has toured the country performing in shows by Rodgers and Hammerstein; and crossed the Atlantic as part of an entertainment embassy bringing the American musical to new audiences throughout Europe,
playing the mistress in "Evita" and Maria in "West Side Story". She honors our project by making this her first recording intended to reach across all oceans and lands.
Sarah McGraw started performing at age 5. She was introduced to the stage and music at this young age by her parents, who were both performers. Actually, her theatre roots go back as far as her actor grandfather, Ralph McGraw; and her opera singer and music teacher grandmother, Lois Carmichael McGraw. Sarah's earliest experience with a touring theatrical production was when she joined her father, William Ralph McGraw, on a trip to Ireland
to help mount a production of The Owl and The Pussycat at The Dundalk Theatre Festival with a student cast and production crew. The love of theater never left her and set her on a course of study and a career in performance and education
Sarah received honors at the College of Wooster where she
studied directing, and acting, majoring in theatre under Annetta G. Jefferson. In music she had a concentration in vocal performance under the tutelage of Dale Moore at Wooster, and James Stuart at Kent State University. During the summers at Wooster, she sang with the resident professional company The Ohio Light Opera for 5 summers in operetta roles that include, Phyllis in Iolanthe, Constance in The Sorcerer, Clementina in The Desert Song, Lady Psyche in Princess Ida and Casilda in The Gondoliers.
These were broadcast on the nationally syndicated show "Lincoln's Music in America
Sarah continued her education at Miami University (Oxford, OH) where she earned her masters degree with honors in theatre performance and studied voice with John Wabrick. As part of her graduate degree, she undertook the direction of F.C. Burnand & Arthur Sullivan's "Cox & Box", a one-act comic operetta farce. The music itself has been described as "grand and graceful", scored for duets and trios in tenor, baritone and bass; yet playing in
counterpoint to the slapstick "train wreck" plot and action. To bring out both aspects of the performance, let alone making them work together, is a task for only the fearless and yields success only with a director with a deep intuitive grasp of both.
Soon after graduating from Miami in 1987, she moved to Cleveland
where she was hired by the Cleveland Opera to be a resident member of their touring Associate Artist Program under David Bamberger. First she mastered the role of Yum-Yum in The Mikado, performing in an outreach program in city schools as "opera ambassadors". The students had been rehearsing the chorus and together they would work on the choreography, finally performing with the students in the full dress production. Often this was educational for the parents in attendance as well as the students being trained.
In 1989 Sarah established a home base in New York City, while
embarking upon a lengthy career as touring performer in Europe and South America, starring for 2 years as The Mistress in "Evita", 3 years as Maria in "Westside Story", and 2 years Christine in "Phantom of the Opera". Between these tours she found time to perform locally, culminating in the direction of the women's version of "The Odd Couple".
Ms. McGraw moved to Wexford, Pennsylvania in 2000. From here she has commuted to Wooster hired to direct the Ohio Light Opera, where she directed Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Carousel"; and Lerner and Loewe's & "Brigadoon". She has also directed Broadway revues, working with scripts to artfully bridge between scenes from over 30 Broadway musicals.
Coming full circle from student to teacher, Sarah opened Wexford Acting Studio, teaching and coaching students from ages 6-18 and adults. As part of the Wexford community she has had the opportunity to direct North Allegheny High School's productions of "Beauty & the Beast", "Oklahoma!" and "Bye-Bye Birdie".