WICKED LOCAL STOUGHTON – The Friends of the State Theatre, a nonprofit volunteer organization committed to preserving and revitalizing Stoughton’s historic State Theatre, recently announced the appointment of Michael La Fleur, of Las Vegas, as artistic/development director, launching FOST’s mission to restore the theatre, and provide enriching cultural experiences in dance, music, theatrical performances, visual art, literary readings and film events to the region.
For the past several years, the all-volunteer FOST has made significant progress towards reopening the facility. Projects including a feasibility study, the application and approval of status as a nonprofit corporation, and efforts to raise awareness for FOST’s mission have allowed the organization to raise important funds. Under La Fleur’s direction, the organization plans to actively restore the theatre as a vital organization to the Stoughton community.
Founded in 1927, the State Theatre’s history began as an incredible edifice, noted for its granite façade, grand proscenium stage, an Estey pipe organ and ornate décor. For the 1920s, it was a modern masterpiece of architecture. According to historical records, the State Theatre presented daily moving pictures and vaudeville performances, making it one of the finest amusement facilities in the region.
“The arts are one of the most, vital components of any community,” says La Fleur. “Arts provide us with the mirrors in which we see our culture and ourselves, opening doors to communicate our beliefs, our flaws and our dreams. I see the State Theatre as far more than a stage, a place to present entertainment. It is our ambition, to create one of the nation’s most respected venues for performing and creative arts education.”
In his new position, La Fleur will oversee several aspects of the revitalization. He’ll be charged with implementing FOST’s organizational and strategic plan, including raising funds to restore the institution to its original grandeur as a centerpiece of culture, and boost the regional economy by creating new jobs and entertainment revenues as a multidisciplinary arts center. By creating a new cultural destination, the State Theatre aspires to attract residents and tourists from the region, thus stimulating the regional economy through the arts. La Fleur will be the driving force to raising visibility for the organization, allowing FOST to achieve its original vision to fruition.
A revered director, choreographer and established entertainment consultant, Michael La Fleur has a long list of achievement and accolades in the industry nationwide and abroad. He has served legendary Broadway directors, producers and performing artists for decades, including actor Burt Reynolds, Director Joshua Logan and recording artists Sarah Brightman and Celine Dion, and has worked with an impressive list of legendary celebrities that includes Ethel Merman, Dick Van Dyke, Alan Arkin, Marilu Henner, Charles Nelson Reilly and many more. He previously served the world-renowned Walt Disney Company and subsidiaries as an Imagineer in the US and Japan, originating record-breaking stage productions, and contributing to major television shows and special events. La Fleur also created Universal Studios legendary productions of The Wild, Wild, Wild West Stunt Show and Beetlejuice’s Rock & Roll Graveyard Revue, raising the bar for theme park entertainment worldwide, receiving praise as best themed shows in history. He also created The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and served as one of the creative directors Islands of Adventure and several of his show creations. Off-Broadway and in regional theatre, he has made an indelible mark in critically acclaimed theatrical productions, musicals, outdoor festivals and corporate. His creative work on “The Glow-In-The-Park Parade” has been seen by millions, and continues to draw ecstatic crowds to Six Flags parks around the world. He most recently completed a two-year role in Asia, serving as artistic director for Resorts World Sentosa, where he created and staged the multi-million dollar hit productions, “Voyage De La Vie” and “The Lightseeker”. Both shows featured celebrated performers, circus acrobats and musicians from around the world, and starred leading players from London’s West End.