Hitting the ground running in Florida, Sam McGowan has been in the USA a mere ten months and already has made a huge impression within the entertainment industry, getting himself involved in various creative projects and showcasing his talent and experience right from the moment he landed in March of 2022.
Hailing from Bournemouth, McGowan began his American dream by joining forces with Penguin Entertainment, a production company based in Orlando, Florida, arguably one of the world’s entertainment capitals. It’s there that professional opportunities have been coming in thick and fast and have allowed the creative director to hit the ground running.
His first major project involved the opening ceremony performance for the Special Olympics USA, a major sporting event that was to be broadcast live on ABC and ESPN television channels while being recorded in Orlando’s beautiful Exploria Stadium to a vibrant crowd of thousands.
Assigned as Penguin Entertainment’s creative director, McGowan worked alongside the ‘FunkyWunks’ Dance Troupe, who were selected for the opening performance, as well as the company’s executive producer, to create a high-energy, hip hop-inspired dance piece that would prove worthy of such an occasion.
In addition to applying his skills and experience as creative director for this Olympic venture,McGowan also wrote and produced the song that the FunkyWunks group performed to, demonstrating not only his capacity for creative vision but also his ability to write and produce music.
The entire ceremony, produced by Disney Live Entertainment, also included stunning performances from Michael James Scott, Sara Bareilles and The Voices of Liberty, along with special appearances from Disney’s very own Mickey and Minnie to officially kick off the games.
The year continued with McGowan being involved in various other exciting projects, including working with the famous Walt Disney World Resort, where he played a key role in creating a seasonal show that was to be featured in ‘Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween’, a special event that guests get to experience from August to the end of October every year.
Collaborating with Penguin Entertainment’s creative collective he helped produce an exhilarating and interactive production, involving talented DJs and dancers that was based upon the Disney movie franchise Zombies.
Other notable projects also include him working with the team from the hit musical Hamilton in conjunction with the streaming service Disney+, a personal highlight for him, along with various other musical and creative collaborations both in America and internationally, as well as also frequently jumping on stage to perform various shows and events with his USA-based JunNk group.
Content with a successful start to professional life in the American entertainment industry, McGowan is hungry to continue growing in America and as such is consistently pushing for fresh creative opportunities and hoping to open as many proverbial doors as possible. He’s thoroughly enjoying his time out in the States and is very excited and optimistic for the future ahead.
McGowan is the creative lead behind the production show JunNk, a music and comedy show that has been touring across the world over the last ten years, most recently completing a 15-month residential contract onboard the Norwegian Cruise Line.
Described as the manic love child of Stomp and the Blue Man Group, the four talented performers in JunNk use items commonly found in a junkyard to produce an explosive, high-energy show fit for all ages. From using bottles as panpipes and watering cans as trumpets, to playing well-known tunes on drain pipes with flip flops and a PVC tube as a didjeridoo, this rubbish-powered variety show really is a unique and sensational whirlwind of pure entertainment.
From its creation near Bournemouth in 2008, JunNk has graced stages across the world. From theatre tours in China, the Edinburgh Fringe and London’s Vault Festival to theme parks in Abu Dhabi and the USA the show has touched all corners of the globe. And if live shows weren’t enough, JunNk’s TikTok followers have generated over 10 million views on the platform.
McGowan’s talents span across many aspects of the entertainment realm, most notably using his performing, directing and multi-instrumental skills to grow JunNk from ideation to a multi-award-winning company.