Montana Repertory Theater artistic director retiring after 29 years

After 29 years, Greg Johnson will retire as artistic director of the Montana Repertory Theater at the University of Montana.

Johnson is also a professor and has taught acting and directing at the university, while building the MRT into a full-fledged, state and nationally respected touring company that has traveled across Montana and a majority of the U.S.

Johnson retires May 15, according to a MRT release. A national search for a new artistic director is currently in the works.

MRT is performing On Golden Pond in Great Falls on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. on the Mansfield stage in partnership with the Great Falls Community Concert Association and the Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts.


The presenting partnership of Great Falls Community Concert Association and the Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts started in 2005 with the primary goal to expand the cultural and entertainment offerings for the Great Falls area.

The 1979 play, written by Ernest Thompson, centers around Norman Thayer, a cranky old, retired professor, and his wife, Ethel, who spend summers at their home on Golden Pond. The play covers a year in the Thayer’s lives, including visits from their children, exploring their turbulent relationships with their father.

J.R. Robinson and Suzy Hunt are playing Norman and Ethel Thayer. Robinson is on his fifth tour with MRT and has performed in Great Falls in productions of “The Trip to Bountiful,” “Bus Stop” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Hunt is on her seventh MRT tour and fifth with Johnson. She has performed on Broadway, Off Broadway and many regional theaters.

Before coming to MRT, Johnson worked in New York theater with the likes of Neil Simon, Gene Saks, Hugh Leonard, Elizabeth Ashley, Beth Henley, Christine Baranski, Andie McDowell, Barnard Hughes and Melvin Bernhardt. Johnson spent 19 years in professional New York City theater as an actor, stage manager and director, according to MRT. 

His Broadway credits include “Biloxi Blues,” “Crimes of the Heart” and “Da,” and national tours include the Broadway productions of “Steel Magnolias,” “Crimes of the Heart” and Biloxi Blues.”

In his time as artistic director at MRT, Johnson has produced more than 40 plays, directed 25 and overseen the expansion of the company from a regional to a national touring operation.

MRT is an Equity company in residence at the University of Montana’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. UM is one of few universities in the nation to house a professional touring company and the only one that incorporates students and faculty into that company, according to MRT.