John R Smith Jnr
Actor / Producer / Acting Coach
I've been performing since I was a kid improvising puppet shows & superhero adventures with my brother & cousin for captive family audiences. I started hitting the harder stuff in 5th Grade: school plays & memorizing stand-up albums. In High School, I just gave into it: plays, musicals, sketch comedy, improv, Shakespeare, and workshops with industry pros at summer student festivals at The Folger Library in DC & Ball State U in IN.
I dabbled very briefly in college and quickly realized academia is not for me.
After moving to CT, Tanya Feduik and I exchanged "I do's". In those early years, we worked on one of many doomed efforts to reopen Stratford's legendary Shakespeare Festival Theatre. Which is now, sadly, a pile of ashes. While doing that work, we were invited to be part of Playing Shakespeare USA, a weekend intensive with RSC Co-Founder, the late John Barton, CBE.
A few years after, we took a hiatus to focus on raising our young family. When the kids were semi-responsible, young adults (and at an age far beyond when their Gen X parents were an were left to our own devices) we returned to the stage working primarily at The Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport CT. Tanya and I eventually joined The Bijou staff as Artistic Consultants & Producers of the live theatre wing: The Bijou Actors' Guild. Which we spun off into Vagabond Theatre Company when economic struggles forced management at The Bijou to call it quits.
When Covid shuttered theaters, at Tanya’s urging I pivoted to film, starting with my performance as Bernie Davis in The Woodsman. A lot of people really liked it and a couple of them even gave me nice, engraved trinkets that say so. I followed that up with reformed outlaw Moka Joe in the forthcoming short: The Red Reina, and lovable, foul-mouthed catcher, John Faiella, in Omnes Films recently completed baseball feature, Eephus.
In all, I've done 14 projects and counting since the pivot.
People also seem to like my and Tanya’s work. Shows we produced have over 70 nominations for OnStage Critics' & BroadwayWorld Awards, including 20 nominations in BroadwayWorld's 2020 - Best of the Decade, and I've been nominated for more than a dozen OnStage Critics' & BroadwayWorld Awards for theatre performances around CT.