John J. Wooten
John J. Wooten
Producing Artistic Director
As the Producing Artistic Director of Premiere Stages, John has developed and directed numerous critically-acclaimed productions of new plays, many of which were subsequently published, including Dark Part of the Forest, Any Other Name, ODD, Soldier’s Heart, The Beautiful Dark and The Good Counselor. The latter two productions were also honored by the American Theatre Critics Association, along with the sold-out run of Follow Me to Nellie’s, Dominique Morisseau’s first play. New Jersey Premieres he has directed, at Premiere Stages and elsewhere, include Rabbit Hole, Snakebit, Boy Gets Girl, Soldier’s Heart, Shmulnik’s Waltz and Skeleton Crew.
John is also the Director of Arts Programming for the University, supervising theatre management and programming operations at Kean. Plays he has authored have been produced commercially Off-Broadway, internationally and in regional theaters across America. Published plays include: Trophies (Dramatists Play Service), Humbug (Samuel French), The Role of Della (Playscripts, Inc.), and Kiss the Bride (Dramatic Publishing Company). John wrote the screenplays for The Role of Della (Toronto, Ft. Lauderdale, Cleveland and DC Film Festivals) and Cat in the Pan (Montreal Film Festival). Awards include a NJSCA Playwriting Fellowship, a Best New Play Nomination from the American Theatre Critics Association, and multiple Best Director nominations from the Newark Star-Ledger.
Director of Audience Services
Heather Kelley holds a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory, and is a founding member of Mad Dog Theatre Company in New York, where she has served as Literary Manager for two seasons. Mad Dog's first commission, This is Not the Play by Chisa Hutchinson, received the 2012 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Original Short Script. Heather has worked as an actress with the Arden Theatre Company, Dorset Theatre Festival, Prospect Theater Company, Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, and the Asolo Repertory Theatre, among others. Her fiction and plays have been published in Opium Magazine, 225 Plays by The New York Neo-Futurists from Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (ed. Joey Rizzolo) and What Happened to Us These Last Couple Years? (Elope Press & So New).
Education & Play Festival Manager
Nick Gandiello has worked around the country as a playwright and teaching artist. His plays include The Blameless (The Old Globe), The Wedge Horse (Fault Line Theatre), Oceanside (Merrimack Repertory Theatre), and Cicada (Roe Green Award Winner). He was the 2015 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow, is an alum of the Lark Rita Goldberg Playwriting Workshop and the Ars Nova Play Group, the recipient of an MTC/Sloan Commission, and was awarded Marin Theatre Company's David Calicchio Emerging American Playwriting Award for Sunrise Highway. Gandiello was the Literary Manager at Young Playwrights Inc., taught playwriting at Marymount Manhattan College, and is the head of the Dramatic Writing Division at Broadway For All.
MFA, New School for Drama.
Claudia Nolan is excited to begin her work as the Literary Associate at Premiere Stages where she spearheads the Play Festival. Her work focuses on new play development and the presentation of cross-cultural fairytales and mythology onstage. She received her MFA in Dramaturgy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and has worked at Geva Theatre Center, the McCarter Theatre, New Georges, HERE, and Bread and Water Theatre. She has served as dramaturg or literary assistant for Stephen Wadsworth, Mona Mansour, Joe Salvatore, Kim Euell, Kate Royal, Alex Riad,and Rui Ding; and is currently working on new plays in development with Gab Cody and Gaven Trinidad.
Literary & Producing Assistant
Megan is an actor, director, and historian. She recently graduated from Kean University with a dual degree in BA Honors History and BFA Theatre Performance. While at Kean, she worked on a historically accurate script of the Livingston-Jay wedding that took place at Liberty Hall, the Livingston 360 project. She also co-directed dEAD dOG pARK with Elise Joyner for one of the mainstage performances from the Kean Theatre Conservatory. Some of her favorite acting credits include: Leonardos Wife (Blood Wedding); Woman in the Box (An Alternate Approach); Clara (The Boys Next Door); and Storyteller/Seth’s Wife (Children of Eden).
Thank you for their financial & community support!