John J. Wooten, Producing Artistic Director

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.



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Heather Kelley, Director of Audience Services

Heather Kelley

Heather Kelley

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).



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Sara Leone

Sara Leone

Sara Leone

Summer Education Coordinator


Sara is an actor, director, devisor, and designer. She has studied mask, puppetry, and physical theatre in Puerto Rico and has just completed her MA in Educational Theatre for Colleges and Communities from NYU Steinhardt. She has her BFA in Theatre Performance from Kean University and was last seen in NYU’s New Plays for Young Audience reading of Lucky Petra. She recently costume designed Peter and the Starcatcher and Radium Girls with NYU Steinhardt. Other past favorite roles include: Daniel Tiger in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE! (Nat’l Tour), Witch #4 in Macbeth (Kean), Betty in The Gamester (Kean), Shelley in Hairspray (Kean), as well as hanging out with Mickey Mouse and friends on the Disney Fantasy.



Nicholas Orvis

Nicholas Orvis

Literary Associate


Nicholas Orvis is a dramaturg, director, stage manager, and all-around theatrical practitioner based in New York City. He has worked in various capacities for the literary and administrative wings of Premiere Stages, Portland Stage Company, and New Dramatists. His directing credits include Peach, or Pig Land (Tandem Theatre Collective/PortFringe Festival); The Cardioluthier (Kirkland Art Center); The Tempest (Wesleyan University Theater Dept.); and Under Milk Wood and Twelve Angry Men (Wesleyan University Second Stage). He has also directed readings and scene nights, and worked as assistant director or dramaturg, at Portland Stage Company and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Nick is a co-founder and Artist-at-Large of the Tandem Theatre Collective, a geographically separated but aesthetically linked network of young artists dedicated to innovative methods of creating theatre and devising new works.



Ambassador Committee

Thank you for their financial & community support!


Dustin Ballard

John Bianchi

John Cruitt

William Eddy

Patricia Fastook

Lindy Foreman

Diane Genco

Millie Gonzalez

David Harrell

Brianna Martinez

Chris Pagoota

Shondelle Wills-Bryce