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Johnson, Randy

Randy Johnson


A 30-year career that is complex, definable and undefinable at the same time. It as it is varied as it is diverse, he has broken career barriers, made and seen history first hand, all while being consistently committed to his artistic and personal core values. Randy has written and directed on Broadway, Off Broadway, Regional Theatres across the United States and Canada, created world class international music and aerial spectaculars, directed tours of some of the greatest musical artists of all time, directed sports legend Mike Tyson, screen legends Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn, and has staged domestic and global events for Presidents, First Ladies, World leaders and Pope Benedict XVI.

​Randy Johnson is a Broadway Director and published playwright. He is a graduate of the USC School of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. He has produced, directed and written some of the most diverse, enduring, groundbreaking and landmark events on the world stage.

He has been recognized twice by the NAACP Theater Division for excellence in theatre, recipient of the prestigious LOS ANGELES OVATION AWARD, 2 BAY AREA DRAMA CRITICS AWARDS and wrote and directed the 2014 TONY AWARD nominated musical A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN.

His work has been seen on Broadway, Off Broadway, regional theatres across the United States and Canada, London’s West End, Radio City Music Hall. Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, The Grand Ole Opry The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Wembley Arena and O2 arena in the United Kingdom, The Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles and L’Olympia in Paris.

Randy made his Broadway debut as a playwright and director with Tony Award nominated musical A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN at the Lyceum Theatre. Prior to the Broadway Engagement at the Lyceum Theatre the show successfully toured the country for 3 years beginning with it’s world premiere at Portland Center Stage and moving on to Cleveland Playhouse, Arena Stage in Washington DC, Pasadena Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, Zach Theatre in Austin, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and a return pre-Broadway engagement at Arena Stage. At every venue the show broke all box office records. It was the highest grossing production twice in the history of the Pasadena Playhouse. The show continues to this day to play regional theatres and national tours, consistently breaking box office records, receiving critical acclaim and standing ovations. It has been seen by over 10 million to date.

His follow up to ANWJJ is SHOUT SISTER SHOUT - The untold story of Gospel, Blues and Rock Legend Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Premiering at the Pasadena Playhouse in August 2017 and subsequently at Seattle Repertory Theater in October 2019. Both productions were critically acclaimed and broke box office records. Written by Cheryl West. Created by Randy Johnson and Cheryl West and Directed by Randy Johnson. Randywas nominated by the NAACP Theatre Awards as Best Director. It is currently being developed for Broadway “Shout Sister Shout!’ will have you dancing and shouting along to the little-known story of the godmother of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s remarkable that West and Johnson were able to tell a powerful story that not only corrects the record on rock ‘n’ roll, keeps the legacy of Tharpe alive and squeezes in several major figures of the time, but also manages to tell a vulnerable story about a woman’s quest for love — of faith, of music and for herself” - Seattle Times.

Almost immediately after graduation from USC he co-produced and associate directed the West Coast Premiere of Larry Kramer’s controversial HIV -AIDS Drama THE NORMAL HEART starring Academy Award winners Richard Dreyfus and Kathy Bates. He is the original producer of ALWAYS, PATSY CLINE which he produced from inception to the now historic 2 year run in Nashville which re opened the Ryman Auditorium - the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, producing multiple national tours, over 500 regional theatre productions, and the off Broadway production at the Variety Arts Theatre, starring Emmy Award winner Margo Martindale. Randy executive produced the MCA Cast Album, the first and only Original Nashville Cast Album. Under his aegis APC for 3 years straight was one of the most produced plays in America, according to Theatre World Magazine, Variety and the recent book “Patsy Cline - Making of an Icon”.

At the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in April 2012 – Randy directed and co-wrote The World Premiere of MIKE TYSON - THE UNDISPUTED TRUTH. Starring international sports legend Mike Tyson. Time Magazine called it “Raw and Electric Theater”. The Show subsequently ran on Broadway for a limited run at the Longacre Theatre.

Randy staged and directed Pope Benedict’s most recent appearance in New York. The event attended by over 100,000 people, was a four-hour concert featuring top music acts from all over the world including Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson, that culminated in a Papal Mass led by the Holy Father. The entire event was broadcast worldwide.

He co- conceived and directed the now historic ELVIS THE CONCERT, which reunited Elvis’ original band, singers and musical director in a virtual interactive concert featuring Elvis.. The show was an immediate hit with sold out shows at Radio City Music Hall and arenas worldwide. The 25th Anniversary show, which also featured appearances by Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley, was released on DVD and appears on PBS annually. This show is in the Guinness Book of World Records as “The most successful rock tour performed by an artist deceased”. The production is in it 20th year of international touring.

Randy wrote, directed and choreographed CONWAY TWITTY – THE MAN THE MUSIC AND THE LEGEND that successfully toured arenas and theatres across the US from 2007-2010. He also wrote and directed THE WILDEST – THE MUSIC OF LOUIS PRIMA AND KEELY SMITH now produced and presented by regional theatres across the United States.

​For Sony Music and PBS he staged and choreographed CARLY SIMON’S A MOONLIGHT SERENADE ABOARD THE QUEEN MARY. He also directed and staged Carly Simon’s return to the concert stage at The Apollo Theatre in December 2007. At the Savoy Theatre in London, England he directed and staged – SONGS MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME starring Lorna Luft, a stunning theatrical tribute to Lorna’s mother Judy Garland. He directed and staged Michael Bolton’s world tour BOLTON SINGS SINATRA.

Randy Directed and Co-produced with Bernie Taupin for five consecutive years the now historic “COMMITMENT TO LIFE” at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. These evenings featured performances by Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Bette Midler, Sarah Brightman, Liza Minnelli, Melissa Etheridge, Billy Joel, Julie Andrews, Patti LaBelle, Natalie Cole, Garth Brooks, Joni Mitchell, George Michael and Tammy Wynnette. The events raised over 35 million dollars for Aids Project Los Angeles.

Most recent nomination for excellence in theatre is the prestigious 2019 OVATION AWARD for Best Presented Production (A Night with Janis Joplin) at La Mirada Theatre. The 2019 NAACP THEATRE AWARDS - BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL for SHOUT SISTER SHOUT at the PASADENA PLAYHOUSE. This is his second NAACP nomination for his work. For the 2014 NAACP THEATRE AWARDS - was a best Best Director Nominee for his work on A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN. He was named Best Director by DC Theatre Scene for his work on Smokey Joes Cafe at Arena Stage. Broadway World Awards in; New York City, Washington DC, Cleveland, Austiin, San Jose, Milwaukee. Portland, Raleigh, and Pasadena for which he was nominated Best Director

He is a recipient of ‘’THE CRYSTAL APPLE AWARD” for his work with Aids Project Los Angeles, and received the “VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR” for his work with LA SHANTI.

Randy is a member of the SDC - Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers , The Dramatists Guild and Canadian Actors Equity (Directing Division)