Rory Johnston — Actor, writer, director, magician, pastor.
Rory Johnston acted in his first movie at age 7, in the John Wayne film McClintock. He acted his first play in middle school and debuted his directing skills in high school. Before he graduated he was teaching drama classes at the middle school, receiving an Award of Merit for doing so. His mother, a Theater Arts teacher at prestigious Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, encouraged his interest in the arts. At ages 15 – 17 he spent his summers as an apprentice and journeyman in a summer stock theater company, working from 9:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night, six days a week… having the time of his life.
At age 17 he “ran away” with the circus (actually he had his mom’s blessing), performing as Jugglo the Clown. During that time, to earn his final credit for high school, he wrote his first play, The Princess and the Puppet… and he was hooked on writing.
Fascinated with sleight of hand, Rory began to learn the art of illusion from an old man in the circus. After graduation he moved to Florida to work at a new theme park: Walt Disney World. There he performed for four years, not only doing sleight of hand, but also portraying The Big Bad Wolf, Briar Bear, Baloo, Tigger, and Dumbo up on the high wire – a terrifying experience because he is afraid of heights.
Rory left Florida to pursue an acting career in Hollywood, remaining there 13 years, studying with the finest coaches in the business. He has performed on television, in films, on stages across the nation, including a long run as Buzz Maxwell in the hit comedy Triple Espresso.
Considered one of the top comedy magic acts in the world today, Rory and his wife, Cat, have traveled the seven seas many times over, entertaining passengers on high-end luxury cruise ships for over thirty years. Rory was a judge for the International Championship of Magic in Shanghai, China
Rory has written and directed numerous theatrical productions, including a wide variety of corporate shows, and productions for Rocky Point Amusement Park, Marine World Africa U.S.A., and the eight-million dollar Maverick Illusion Show at Warner Brothers Movie World in Germany. He has had several films produced, including the children’s action film, The Secret Agent Club, the martial-arts superhero movie, Prey of the Jaguar.
He also created and directed a series of music videos for Fit-4-Life, directed the short film Quincy’s Room, and was writer/director/producer of the family feature film, Guard Dog, scheduled for release later this year. He has also written stage productions for young folks, including lessons on peer pressure and environmental care: Them! and 22/22 Hindsight. In 2008 his full Broadway-style Christmas musical Nick Saint opened in Las Vegas. Directed and designed by Rory, the show garnering standing ovations at every performance.
As a Contributing Editor for MAGIC Magazine, the world’s leading publication for the illusionary arts, Rory has had over 100 magazine articles published, including almost two dozen cover stories. He is also the Associate Producer of MAGIC Live, considered by most to be the finest magic convention in the world.
Rory has a number of novels available, including thrillers The Phoenix Project, The Quicksands of Time, Magix, and Apocalypse 666, an inspirational sci-fi take on the Book of Revelation. His book for young readers A Ghost of a Chance has been delighting children throughout the world.
Upon moving to Las Vegas to star in the lavish production show, Cabaret Circus, he discovered a newly formed church, Canyon Ridge. The first day he attended, he saw something he’d never seen before: theatrical drama used as a medium to teach the gospel message. He immediately searched out the person in charge of the drama ministry and offered his writing services for an upcoming series.
Nineteen years later, Rory had written, directed, and often acted in over 200 church dramas, first as a volunteer, then on staff as the Creative Arts Director.
A leading expert in the field of teaching scripture through drama, Rory often teaches drama seminars at churches and gatherings such as Saddleback’s Worship Conference and the Fellowship of Christian Magicians international convention.
Wanting to become a better leader, Rory earned a degree in Ministry Leadership from Rockbridge Seminary and became a full pastor.
In 2015 Rory moved to a small start-up church in Las Vegas called The Springs. There he is Associate Pastor, and is bringing his dramatic way of teaching through story to a new, growing congregation.