Actor-director Reggie Montgomery, who worked on and off Broadway and regionally at theatres such as Hartford Stage, was found dead in his New York City apartment Jan. 13, according to friend Lori Tan Chinn.
Mr. Montgomery was 54 and had many credits as an actor, director, playwright, teacher, lecturer and mime, and was the first African American Clown at Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus.
His acting credits include George C. Wolfe's adaptation of stories by Zora Neale Hurston, Spunk and The Colored Museum (at the Public Theater and in London), Suzan-Lori Parks' The American Play and In the Blood (also at the Public) and Scrooge in a version of A Christmas Carol at the Dallas Theatre Center, among many other roles.
His last Broadway appearance was in Julie Taymor's The Green Bird.
Mr. Montgomery's directing credits include Kia Corthron's Digging Eleven at Hartford Stage, August Wilson's The Piano Lesson at Baltimore's Center Stage, and productions at Dallas Theatre Center, Arizona Theatre Company, Yale Rep. He helmed the pre-Broadway workshop of Comfortable Shoes and the workshop of Tillers at New York Theatre Workshop. He wrote and directed the critically-acclaimed production of Shades of Black and Brown, and scores of children's theatre productions. He last directed Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill at George Street Playhouse in New Jersey. He was assistant professor of theatre and dance at Trinity College.
Friends found Mr. Montgomery in his apartment Jan. 13 after he failed to return phone calls. The Hartford Courant reported he died after a long illness.His Hartford Stage directing credits included Spunk, Digging Eleven, I Ain't Yo Uncle, The Colored Museum and Love, Langston.
A memorial in New York is being planned for March or April.
Mr. Montgomery was born in Tallahassee, FL, and is buried there. Survivors include brother Rodney Montgomery of Wellington, FL, sister Yvonne Montgomery-Curl of Far Hills, NJ, a niece, aunts and uncles.
— By Kenneth Jones