From Senior Projects to Real-World Careers: Jon Kristian Moore '94

For television and film actor Kristian Moore ’94, a passion for theater stemmed from the encouragement of the legendary Tom Johnson, Chair of Sun Valley Community School’s English and Drama Departments for eight years. Considered the “Father of the Community School Drama Department,” Tom produced the school's first big musicals as well as the first Shakespeare productions. He passed away in 1991, but not without leaving a huge impact on the school, faculty, parents, and myriad students, including Kristian, who first met Tom when he was in 7th grade.

“Tom approached my mom, Patricia Moore (former Director of Development, Director of Admissions, and keyboarding instructor at the school) about having me audition for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I landed the role of Puck,” says Kristian. “Back then, the entire school, including faculty, participated in theater productions. I memorized the entire play, not just my role. And that was it, I was hooked. I realized right then and there that acting was what I wanted to do with my life and I set my course through Community School to become an actor.”

During his time as a Cutthroat, Kristian not only acted in every single school production, he also was involved with the Sun Valley Repertory Theater (which later evolved into nexStage Theatre), where he not only acted, but also worked as everything from a stage hand to technical director. Fast-forward to senior year and the theater bug was still so strong that Kristian focused his Senior Project around it. The topic? He chose to produce and act in two different two-person plays, performed in one night.

“At that time, I was obsessed with ‘The Theatre of the Absurd,’ a movement coined by theater critic Martin Esslin in 1960,” he explains. “I made that movement the foundation of my Senior Project. We performed the first play, The Zoo Story by Edward Albee, followed by an intermission, and then performed the second, The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco. It was an undertaking that was magnanimous, and I still cannot believe they let me do it!”

After graduating in 1994, Kristian fueled his acting passion that he discovered at Community School and headed to Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts, where he earned his B.S. in fine arts and acting with an emphasis in playwriting. After a short-lived stint in Los Angeles, he made the move to Taos, New Mexico, which was experiencing a film industry boom at the time. After landing an Albuquerque-based agent, the rest is history. Today, Kristian counts 17 film and television credits to his name, including a part in 2016’s Whisky Tango Foxtrot starring Tina Fey. He also appeared in 2014’s Transcendence with Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman and the television series, Waco in 2018. This past summer, Kristian had just wrapped up Sicario: Day of the Soldado, which landed on the big screen this summer and another film, The Wave, is set to screen at Sundance Film Festival 2019. When he's not busy acting, Kristian owns and operates a leather retail store and workshop, Letherwerks, in Taos, New Mexico.  

“Community School truly played a huge role in how I approach the world,” says Kristian. “In addition to the theater component, the Outdoor Program taught us to be three-dimensional human beings. We were hiking, swimming, rafting, riding horses, jumping, and rock climbing. These skills I bring to every audition, and I am proud to say I can do it all. Back when we were kids, teachers looked at us as peers and trusted us to take care of ourselves and each other, whether it was in school, on the mountain, on the sports field, or on the stage.”