Eric Richards Biography
Eric has been theatrical and vocal since the age of 8 when he played the role of Michael Banks in a community production of Mary Poppins. As a child, he was surrounded by music in all forms with his grandpa playing the harmonica, taking organ lessons with his grandma at the mall, shocking himself on his dad’s electric guitar to a Beatles’ song, or dancing and jamming out to 8-track tapes with his mom in the living room from Queen to Barbra Streisand music. Since then, he has squeezed in music and theater wherever possible and has found passion in helping others experience and improve performance and musical skills.
Eric’s performing career has allowed him to play many different lead roles. Among his favorite include Edna in Hairspray, Sparky in Forever Plaid, Prince Dauntless and The Minstrel in Once Upon a Mattress, Will Parker in Oklahoma, The Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, Reuben in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcost, Motel Kamzoil in Fiddler on the Roof, Bob Crachet in A Christmas Carol, Pat Gilbert in State Fair, and Francesco Di’Amore in Twelve Dancing Princesses. Additionally, he has performed in numerous dinner theaters including 100 Years of American Musical Theater, A Salute to Hollywood Musicals, An Evening with Cole Porter, An Evening wit the Gershwins, Frightmares, and A New Millennium of Broadway. One of his highlights was sharing the stage with Robert Peterson in the opening performance of The Best of Broadway at the Sandy Amphitheater. Other favorite performance venues have included The Grand Theater, Cathedral of the Madeleine, the former Salt Palace, Murray Amphitheater, Kingsbury Hall, Promised Valley Playhouse, and The Egyptian Theater.
Besides theater, Eric has extensive background in choral works and performance. During his high school and college years, he participated in choral tours to California, Southern Utah, Colorado, and a church history tour throughout the Midwestern States. Over the years, he has sung with America West Symphony and Chorus, Salt Lake Opera, All-state Choir, The Dickens Festival Singers, and annual Choir Festivals. He has composed several choral pieces including an arrangement of What Child is This?, and 2 original compositions — It’s Christmas Back Home, and Can You Hear The Angels Sing?
During his years of vocal performance, Eric has been fortunate to train with many renowned vocal coaches including Spencer Welch, Canada; Dean Kaelin, Salt Lake City; Greg Enriquez, Las Vegas; Michael Goodrich, Los Angeles; Wendy Parr, New York; Dave Stroud, San Francisco; John Henny, Los Angeles; Shelly Franklin Rose, Hollywood; Jeffrey Skouson, Las Vegas; Robert Peterson, Salt Lake City; and Kathy Kennedy, San Franscisco. Other training includes sight singing, theory, composition, and ear training at the University of Utah as well as programs affiliated with the Seth Riggs Summer Vocal Program, Michele Weir Jazz Vocal and Boko Suzuki/Rachel Lawrence VocalizeU Musical Theater Workshops, and membership with the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Eric also was on the Seth Riggs SVP staff in 2008 and 2009 and developed the SLS Vocal Repertoire Guide.
One of Eric’s great passions has evolved into teaching, coaching, and directing others. Since 1990, he has taught private piano, been a vocal coach and directed musical theater productions. He conducted choirs for Sandy and Draper for 13 years and has directed many theater productions including Pirates of Penzance, Hello Dolly, Scarlet Pimpernel, Bye Bye Birdie, Beauty and the Beast, Willy Wonka Jr., King & I, Once Upon A Mattress, Fiddler on the Roof, Cinderella, Willy Wonka, High School Musical, Fame, and Light the Fire Within for the 2002 Winter Olympics. He has teamed with several notable directors including Robyn and Doug Bishop, Paul Winkleman, Susan DeMille, and Bradford Garrison.
Eric has also served in the arts community as president of the Sandy Arts Guild from 2004-2006 as well as board services for over 10 years and as presidents for the University of Utah SLICC choir and Jordan High School madrigals. He has been emcee for the Interfaith Music Festival, a pageant judge, Granite School District theater judge, and a Golden Spike Awards judge. In his youth, he won 1st place three separate years for music compositions for the Reflections Contest and lettered three years in music. He received Musician of the Year at the University of Utah and achieved a superior rating for a Senior Vocal Performance at BYU. In addition, he has been the recipient of the Utah Genius Award, Diamond Awards, Crystal Awards for the 2002 Olympic Guide, and NAPA Gold Awards.
Many of Eric’s students have been involved with Nickelodeon, Priddis Music, Hale Center Theater, Pioneer Theatre Company and numerous community/regional theaters, Warner Bros, Universal Studios, Fox Television, Karaoke Nationals, Disney Idol, and Simmons Radio Group. Vocal students have been accepted into music programs at Utah State University, University of Utah, Westminster, Brigham Young University, UCLA, and Southern Utah University. Eric has also done vocal conditioning for radio personalities, taught English articulation through coaching students learning English as a second language, and worked with kids with learning disabilities like autism to improve vocal production.