My Work

For as long as I can remember, I’ve worked in the performing arts. I grew up playing in local community theater, speech team, and even ventriloquism (yes, really). When it came time to head to college, my family trekked me from the Midwest cross-country in a minivan with a mattress strapped to the roof to attend acting conservatory in New York City.

After graduation, my friends and I weren’t finding roles that reflected who we were, so I wrote plays for us to perform. All the while, I curated art parties in my Williamsburg loft. Filled with music, spoken word, bouffon, visual artists, puppetry, and short films, these gatherings often floated into the wee hours.

Curating and writing birthed my own theater company, terraNOVA Collective. We presented world-class performers, like Taylor Mac, W. Kamau Bell, Nilaja Sun, Erin Markey, Christen Clifford, Red Bastard, Maya Azucena, Emily DeCola, Nellie Tinder, Victoria Libertore, Joseph Keckler, Corn Mo, and The Bengsons.

terraNOVA also developed and produced countless plays, including my own Baby Steps and FEEDER: A Love Story.

Concurrently, I served as Season Producer for The Ensemble Studio Theatre, where I produced Tony, Pulitzer, and Obie award winners and nominees like David Auburn, José Rivera, and Robert Askins.

I discovered digital and multi-platform storytelling while developing my play FEEDER: A Love Story. Through this process, I expanded theater beyond the stage. I took storytelling to the streets and created NY_Hearts, a love story shared over a mobile app in site-specific locations.

In recent years, I’ve landed back in the Midwest in the great mitten state as Programming & Operations Manager for the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, a 21-day gathering that offers 200+ events presenting music, dance, contemporary circus, public radio shows, comedy, film, spectacle, street arts, and family entertainment. Notable artists include Melissa Etheridge, Flaco Navaja, Jazzmeia Horn, Sona Jobarteh, Scott Silven, Alsarah and the Nubatones, Postmodern Jukebox, Kate McIntosh, Cirque Alfonse, Polyglot Theatre, Acrobuffos, Juan Martinez, Mary Mattingly.

I envision a more unified world through art, culture, and the humanities. Access and inclusion are no longer issues. Disabilities, ethnicities, and beliefs do not separate us. They excite us. Differences spur us to ask questions and understand our shared humanity holistically and lovingly. Wisdom and generosity replace misunderstanding and greed. I attempt to lift up people from all walks and inspire the next generation of artists and patrons to view the world through a lens that embraces and stimulates humankind. I meet the audience where they are and bring life-altering art to their doorsteps.

I’ve written about digital, investigative, interactive, and immersive theater for many publications and was an editor for The Civilians’ Extended Play. I also have helped create multi-platform digital social impact campaigns for Lina Srivastava.

In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my wife, exploring the world with my daughters, and whipping up tasty meals.

JD Headshot 2019 hi res


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