Montana Shakespeare in the Parks

Q & A Series : Equity Actor, Bret Tuomi


There have been nearly a thousand actors, designers, directors, and staff employed by the Rep over our 50 years. We can’t think of a better way to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of MRT than to hear from those who’ve made it all possible. This Q & A series helps illuminate the vast range of experiences the Rep offers. We get to hear from Bret Tuomi – Broadway veteran, Chicago actor, and Rep Alum.

Before Bret became the successful actor he is now, he was an Acting student at the University of Montana. He went on to tour nationally once as a student, three times as a non-equity professional, and three more times as an Equity Actor.

Bret has done over 100 performances on Broadway of the musical Rock of Ages. His Chicago credits include: The Iceman Cometh with Nathan Lane at the Goodman Theatre, Julius Caesar at Chicago Shakespeare, and ENRON at TimeLine Theatre Company. Film and television credits include a featured role in Keep the Change with Jack Palance (a TBS television movie) and commentary as Dr. Trent Troutly on ESPN2’s Fly Fishing Challenge.

Q: What was special about the Montana Repertory Theatre experience you had?
Getting to see the country while getting to know some of the closest friends I’ll ever have.

Q: Where did your work with Montana Rep come in your career? Student? Equity? What effect did it have on your career?
I did seven tours between 1992 and 2010. Once as a student, three times as non-equity, and three times as Equity. I got my equity card in 2002 doing Death of a Salesman. I am enormously grateful for the opportunities I have had with this company – and I seriously hope that my work with the company is not done.

Q: The Rep has long since had a tradition of producing American Canonical texts. What is your favorite classic the Rep has toured? And why?
Death of a Salesman. It tells a story of characters we all know very well.

Q: If you could tell a student actor hoping to work for The Rep one thing – what would it be?
Pack light.

Q: Looking back on your work with Montana Repertory Theatre, which singular memory stands out the most?
I’m sure I’m not the only person when faced with this question to think of half a dozen instances which would fall into the category of “what happens on tour stays on tour”. The problem is that so many of these memories would incriminate me or someone else. Anyone who has gone out on the road knows there are varying levels of debauchery on every tour. The thing is, it’s this kind of life that really lends itself to the best kind of bonding a human can have. And when a person can experience that, while bringing America’s greatest stories to America, that’s about as good as it gets.

(Bret seen right in Montana Rep’s production of Leading Ladies)

A conversation with three-time MontanaRep actor Mark Kuntz


I had the opportunity last week to sit down with Mark Kuntz, equity actor, director, and friend to chat about a slew of topics. His keen insight into the craft of acting is matched only by his wealth of experience on the road. Mark has toured extensively (I mean, a lot). – with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks for ten consecutive years, as well as two national tours with The Rep (Sgt. Toomey in Biloxi Blues, Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby). He will be playing Victor Velasco this year in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park in honor of the 50th anniversary for Montana Rep. Being able to talk to him about the tour-to- come was very illuminating. Mark is both humbled, and honored to be a part of this year’s tour.

Mark and I have worked together a few times since The Great Gatsby tour on various projects. He remains one of my favorite collaborators, for reasons you will hear in the very conversation we recorded last week. He is incredibly committed, honest, intelligent, and self-aware – traits that make a great actor. We talked about odd jobs, similarities between characters from Shakespeare and Simon, favorite texts from the canon, nerves, his process, and the strange elegance of life on the road. Mark, in a reference to Michael Caine, referred to himself as the “strange sort of creature that was born into this world who can’t envision doing anything else.” He recently starred in an independent film set to hit festivals this coming year, and is currently directing The Aliens by Annie Baker in Missoula.

Amazingly, we have the audio for this interview in full. Be sure to check it out and don’t forget to come see Mark play the outlandish, adventurous, “continental” Victor Velasco this January in Barefoot in the Park. Tickets for the Opening Night Gala, a celebration of the 50 th anniversary of Montana Repertory Theatre are available from the UMArts Box Office in the PARTV building. Call (406) 243-4581 to make a reservation. And be sure to like our Facebook page.

Stay tuned for more interviews with past, and current Reppers.