CENTERVILLE — Beloved CenterPoint Legacy Theatre director and actor Scott Montgomery passed away in his sleep at his home Nov. 6 following a tonsillectomy and deviated septum operation. Pending test results may reveal more about the exact cause of his death.
He was 38 years old and is remembered as a dear friend and passionate member of the Utah theater community.
“I think his death means a great loss because he cared so much about what he put on the stage,” said Holly Reid, assistant director of development at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre. “He loved people and he loved the art, and so that was a perfect fit for him, and he was able to touch innumerable lives.”
Montgomery directed and starred in several CenterPoint productions, including “Aida,” “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” “West Side Story,” “Mary Poppins,” “Jekyll and Hyde” and “The Addams Family.” Prior to his death, Montgomery had recently finished directing CenterPoint’s “A Tale of Two Cities,” a production the play’s author and lyricist Jill Santoriello visited Utah to see.
“That was a nice way in retrospect for Scott to have his curtain call because it was masterfully directed by him,” Reid said.
Montgomery's director notes from this production are “poignant for the way he lived his life and the message he wanted to share with others,” Reid said.
“We are reminded from this beautiful story that there is goodness in all of us and we are not without saving and there is a paradise that awaits us,” Montgomery wrote. “I have found myself wanting to be a little kinder, more patient and more forgiving because of the tale and I hope you will too.”
Sarah Jane Watts, who played Lucie Manette in “A Tale of Two Cities” and worked with Montgomery in “Jekyll and Hyde,” “West Side Story” and “Mary Poppins,” described Montgomery as “all in.”
“He never did things halfway. He always loved with his whole heart. He always sought for perfection in his shows,” Watts said. “He was about making sure that we knew how important the story that we were telling was and making sure that the audience walked away feeling the message of what we were doing and wanting to change because of it.”
Montgomery was known for drawing out the potential in others and giving actors of various experience levels a chance. His belief in others made them believe in themselves, Reid said.
“He pushed people to be better because he knew they could be better,” Reid said. “He saw the potential within and he took the time to cultivate it. He empowered others to be vulnerable so they could have their own personal growth.”
Watts said Montgomery also showed interest in others’ personal lives and well-being. He prided himself on being a matchmaker, as several couples’ relationships and marriages resulted from his productions.
“The reason why my husband and I got together was actually Scott,” Watts said. “We were both in ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ together, and closing night of the show, Scott says to my husband, ‘Go ask her for her number,’ and so he did. He set me up with the man of my dreams.”
Brock Dalgleish, who played the lead Radames in CenterPoint’s production of “Aida,” said the only thing Montgomery loved more than theater and the arts was his wife, Melanie.
“I’ve never heard anybody talk about their wife like he did,” Dalgleish said. “Those were his two passions in life, and I just want to love like he did.”
Melanie Shore Montgomery is an accomplished musical arranger, which made her and Scott an artistic “power couple,” Reid said.
“I never resented the time he spent at the theater,” Melanie Shore Montgomery shared with Reid. “I know it was important and that he was able to change lives.”
Dalgleish, who is currently preparing to perform as an aerial dancer in the new Sandy Hale Center Theatre’s upcoming production of “Aida,” said he now wants to do the show for Scott Montgomery.
“‘Aida’ means a lot more now,” Dalgleish said. “I think that we just all want to do more now for him because he died young and he had so much more in him that I feel like we want to just carry that out and be his heart and be his soul in the theater.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been created to support the Montgomery family. All funds from the campaign will go to Melanie Shore Montgomery, according to Jared John Haddock, who organized the fundraiser.
“His infectious smile, powerful artistic vision and uncanny ability to draw out the best of everyone around him will sorely be missed,” Haddock wrote in the GoFundMe story. “We love this man more than words can say and realize in this moment although we wish we could do more, we want to help his beautiful family in this trying time.”
A memorial service for Scott Montgomery is being organized at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre for Saturday, Nov. 11, according to Reid.