MHS graduate takes Broadway musical tour of US and Canada

A Manistee High School graduate is on the road again for the sixth time touring with musical productions.

Parus said the tour kicked off in Providence, Rhode Island in September, then the cast and crew traveled to Cincinnati and Detroit in November.

“The whole family came and it was also my bandleader debut in Detroit,” he said. “So it was a really special complete connection to Michigan on many levels (type of experience).”

Parus noted in an email that his parents Matt Parus and Sandee Jones, both of Manistee, have “always been extremely supportive of my musical adventures”.

The tour continues this month in Texas, then continues in Florida, California and Canada before concluding in California on May 7.

Shane Parus

Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

Musical debut at Manistee

Parus started playing the piano by ear around the age of 7 before taking piano lessons at Manistee.

“Also during this time, I started in a fifth-grade band at Manistee playing percussion. Throughout middle school and high school, I played percussion in the band,” he said.

He expressed his gratitude to his teachers like former MHS band manager Cindy Swan-Eagan and Joy Smith, who was his percussion teacher at Manistee.

He also began acting, playing the piano and conducting music with performances at the Ramsdell Theater in Manistee in 1998.

“These people took a chance on me and was it okay? I do not really know. Maybe, … but those people were so nice to let me do that,” Parus said.

He also says after joining the “Pretty Woman” performance that he’s been working with someone he’s long admired from the “Rent” and “Aida” productions: Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominee Adam Pascal.

“I used to listen to it all the time on the original cast recordings of ‘Rent’ and ‘Aida’ – the Roger Davis original in ‘Rent’ and the Radames original in ‘Aida’ – when I was growing up in Manistee, so I started working with him every night is an absolute treat. He’s a great guy!” Parus said.

After high school, Parus went to Western Michigan University and studied percussion performance.

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