Rando grew up in Houston, Texas and attended the University of Texas in Austin, studying theatre. He received a Fulbright Program fellowship and studied theatre in Germany and Italy and then studied directing at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, graduating in 1988. He next worked as an assistant director at the Old Globe Theatre (San Diego).
Rando has directed Off-Broadway, on Broadway and in regional theatre. His first Off-Broadway play was Fortune's Fools, by Frederick Stroppel, at the Cherry Lane Theatre in 1995. He directed the musical The Toxic Avenger, which opened Off-Broadway in 2009, after it premiered at the George Street Playhouse (New Brunswick, New Jersey).
Rando has directed several plays by David Ives Off-Broadway, including: a revival of Ancient History in May 1996 at Primary Stages,as part of a double bill with his play English Made Simple, Mere Mortals at Primary Stages in 1997, and Polish Joke at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2003. In February 2013 he directed a revival of Ives' All in the Timing at Primary Stages, and received a 2013 Obie Award for Direction. He also directed Ives' play Lives of the Saints in a Philadelphia Theatre Company production in 1999  and Berkshire Theatre Festival. Rando will direct a revival of Ives' Lives of the Saints at Primary Stages in 2015.
On Broadway he made his debut in 1994 as the Assistant Director for the Arthur Miller play Broken Glass. He next directed on Broadway in 2000, with the play The Dinner Party by Neil Simon. Rando directed the musical Urinetown, which opened in 2001 and closed in 2004, and won the 2002 Tony Award for Direction of a Musical.
Rando directed several staged concerts of musicals for New York City Center's Encores!: Strike Up the Band (1998),Do Re Mi (1999) The Pajama Game (2002), On the Town (2008), Damn Yankees (2008), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (2012), It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman (2013) and Little Me (2014).
Stage productions (select)
- 1994 Broken Glass (Assistant Director) (Broadway)
- 2000 The Dinner Party (Broadway)
- 2001 A Thousand Clowns (Broadway)
- 2001 Urinetown (Broadway)
- 2002 Dance of the Vampires (Broadway)
- 2005 Escape: 6 Ways to Get Away (Miami)
- 2006 The Wedding Singer (Broadway)
- 2009 The Toxic Avenger Musical (Off-Broadway)
- 2009 The Toxic Avenger Musical (Toronto)
- 2012 A Christmas Story: The Musical (Broadway)
- 2014 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Off-Broadway)
Awards and nominations
|2002||Urinetown: The Musical||Tony Award||Best Direction of a Musical||Won|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Direction of a Musical||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding Director of a Musical||Won|
- Breslauer, Jan. "Theater. Funny How Things Happen" Los Angeles Times, July 4, 1999
- Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review. The Love That Leads To a Ball And Chain" The New York Times, May 27, 1995
- "Goodbye, Goo! Off-Broadway's 'Toxic Avenger' Will Close Jan. 3, 2010" playbill.com, November 10, 2009
- Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review. A Simply Charming Couple Headed for a Dead End" "The New York Times", May 22, 1996
- Listing English Made Simple Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed February 8, 2014
- Lefkowitz, David. "Mortality To Strike Ives' Mere Mortals', Jan. 4" playbill.com, December 16, 1997
- Sommer, Elyse. "A CurtainUp Review. 'Polish Joke'" curtainup.com, accessed February 5, 2014
- Hetrick, Adam. "Primary Stages Revival of David Ives' Short Play Collection, 'All in the Timing', Opens Feb. 12" playbill.com, February 12, 2013
- Ridley, Clifford A. "Ives' 'Lives Of The Saints' Soars - And Dips" articles.philly.com, January 29, 1999
- " Broken Glass, 1994" ibdb.com, accessed February 5, 2014
- Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review. A Fine Meal: Please Pass The Vitriol" The New York Times, October 20, 2000
- Simonson, Robert. " 'Urinetown' Packs Up, Lockstock and Barrel, at Final Broadway Performance" playbill.com, January 19, 2004
- Staff. 2002 "TONY AWARD: Direction of a Musical, John Rando, 'Urinetown'" playbill.com, June 2, 2002
- Ku, Andrew and Lefkowitz, David. "NY 'Encores!' '98 Series Starts With Kuhn in 'Strike Up the Band' Feb. 12-15" playbill.com, February 12, 1998
- Brantley, Ben."Theater Review. A Singing Nathan Lane Adds Ham to the Fizz" The New York Times, May 8, 1999
- Finkle, David. "Review. 'The Pajama Game' " theatermania.com, May 3, 2002
- Gans, Andrew. "A Helluva Town: Encores! Launches New Season with 'On the Town'" playbill.com, November 19, 2008
- Isherwood, Charles. "Theater Review. 'Damn Yankees'" The New York Times, July 11, 2008
- Lipton, Brian Scott. "Review. 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'" theatermania.com, May 9, 2012
- Gans, Andrew. " 'You've Got Possibilities': Encores! 'It's a Bird…It's a Plane…It's Superman' Begins Limited Run March 20" playbill.com, March 20, 2013
- Gans, Andrew. "Christian Borle Stars in Encores! 'Little Me', Beginning Feb. 5" playbill.com, February 5, 2014
- ATW writers (2007). "Biography: John Rando". The American Theatre Wing. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
- John Rando at the Internet Broadway Database
- John Rando at the Internet Movie Database
- John Rando, Off-Broadway Database
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