Gene Johnson spent his boyhood far from the glittering lights of the city and the theatre. Growing up, he helped out around his Mom and Pop’s country store in Farmington, NC. “Dad raised cows, we had a barn and I plowed fields and baled hay,” remembers Johnson with a smile. “It was a Norman Rockwell kind of life.”

But all that changed when, at the age of 13, he found himself acting in summer stock at the Barn Theatre in Tanglewood Park. He had the good fortune to work under the direction of James Walton (who coincidentally started the theatre program at Wake Forest University). Walton became Johnson’s mentor. “I liked him and was impressed with him,” Johnson recalls.

After two summers I was hooked,” stated Johnson. “I decided to become a director!”

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