Eric Vaughn Johnson is an award-winning director from Rochester, NY. Mr. Johnson has been involved with countless theatrical and film productions both on- and off-stage and has been described as "an influential part of Rochester Arts” (West Side News), as "one of the leading figures in Rochester's musical arts scene" (Pittsford Neighbors Magazine), and was recently featured as a Rochester “Extraordinary Person” (News 8 Now). Johnson's directing ability specializes in storytelling choreography and transforming an ordinary show into an experience.
Mr. Johnson is the Founding Executive Director of OFC Creations Theatre Center, a theatre company and performing arts center focused on youth engagement, performing arts education, and connections with the community. Founded in 2005 by Johnson, OFC offers classes in acting, singing, and dance at the brand-new OFC Creations Theatre Center after being at many different locations over the years. Students have the opportunity to perform in shows including: The Little Mermaid, Frozen, and Les Mis. Johnson also spearheads OFC Creations’ ROC Summer Theatre Experience, the largest theatre summer camp program in Upstate New York. The program offers 15 theatre productions in only 7 weeks, across multiple locations taught by 25 directors.
OFC offers many opportunities for adults both on stage and in the audience. OFC Creations focuses on new and unique performing opportunities for adults including an interactive productions of The Sound of Music (2019) and Man of La Mancha (2020) throughout The Century Club mansion as well as the regional premiere of The Bodyguard Musical (2019) at the Lyric Theatre. OFC Creations runs an LGBT show series each year. These events serve as fundraisers for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS which OFC has raised over $10,000 for HIV/AIDS research over the last three years. Johnson is also a proud member of the LGBT Giving Circle.
In 2016, Mr. Johnson became the President of the Greece Performing Arts Society (GPAS) and led the organization for three years into their “50th Anniversary Next Chapter." In his second year as president, Mr. Johnson was described as leading “the 300-person performing membership… [into] an artistic and financial renaissance” (Monroe Post). In 2017, Mr. Johnson brought the re-opened Greece Theatre Company and Greece Choral Society together for the regional premiere of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Lyric Theatre.
Johnson served as the Program Director of Rochester Association of the Performing Arts (RAPA) for five years. He designed all educational programs for students from ages four to eighty-four during the academic year and summer. Johnson also directed many of the RAPA Family Theatre and Youth Theatre season productions.
"Johnson is an influential part of Rochester arts" ~ Barbara Burke
Johnson is most recognized for directing and co-writing the world premiere of Eddie Money's original musical Two Tickets to Paradise: The Musical at the Kodak Center. Johnson worked directly with the late Money-Man writing and arranging a majority of the new script and broke box office records at each performance.
Over the years, Johnson directed numerous professional musical productions on the main stage at the Kodak Center, including: West Side Story, Mary Poppins, Miracle on 34th Street, Spring Awakening, the first Rochester production of Sister Act, Oliver, the Upstate New York premiere of It’s Only A Play, and the regional tour of A Year with Frog and Toad to name a few.
Mr. Johnson has created and expanded many drama programs in several local schools, including: Seton Catholic School, Pittsford Middle School, World of Inquiry (School No. 58), St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Plank South Elementary, and Penfield Harris Hill. Previously he served for four years in Greece as the Artistic Director of SNAP Musical Theatre, a new summer program working with up to 80-students in each production. Mr. Johnson teaches private acting lessons to a select few young artists throughout the year and mentors inspiring young directors. He is also a proud member of Theatre for Young Audiences / USA representing the national field of children's theatre.
Performing has always been a joy for Mr. Johnson. At the 2015 Rochester Fringe Festival, he starred as the musical narrator, Ladahlord, in James and the Giant Peach and in 2016 portrayed the comical, gender-bending Frank N. Furter in The Rocky Horror Show. Mr. Johnson can also be seen in William Fichtner’s feature film Cold Brook and continuing his on-going role as Dorothy in The Golden Girls Musical series.
He believes strongly in community partnerships. In 2014 Mr. Johnson partnered with Facing Race, Embracing Equity for a benefit production of The Wiz at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. In 2015, he brought OFC Creations and the Rochester Latino Theatre Company together to produce the Rochester premiere of In the Heights for several sold-out performances, and reprised the partnership in 2019 again with In the Heights with the next generation of performers. In 2018, Mr. Johnson and the Out Alliance partnered to bring the world-wide entertainer, Miss Richfield 1981, to make her Rochester debut at the Kodak Center. In July of 2018, Johnson published his first book, My Quarter-Life Crisis, reflecting on his passion and encouraging young artists to follow their dreams.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson didn't just continue, but expanded theatre offerings in the Rochester region by opening the OFC Creations Theatre Center. The new OFC Creations Theatre Center (3450 Winton Pl, Rochester, NY 14623), opened in July 2020, is a multi-purpose arts center focused on youth theater education and performances, mounting professional plays and musicals, hosting community events, presenting out-of-town entertainers, and providing much-needed performance space to local arts groups. The center boasts 260-brand new theatre seats, spacious lobby and lounge for social events, and 1,000sqft dance studio. The center has been renovated from floor to ceiling and has been utilized non-stop for OFC events and community partnerships/programs.
"We are forever grateful for [Johnson's] tremendous talent and love of theater that [he] shares so brilliantly with so many children, especially ours" ~ Kristin Lynch