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Acting In Musical Theatre:

A Comprehensive Course,

3rd edition

by Joe Deer & 

Rocco Dal Vera

Directing In Musical Theatre:

An Essential Guide

by Joe Deer



Distinguished Professor of Musical Theatre

Wright State University

Quite simply, Joe is

an extraordinary professional, educator and person. A master teacher who "can do",

as well as teach. 

Lynn Kurdziel Formato Elon University

Without a doubt, the highlight of our production year, it also exceeded our expectations.

The experience will remain with them throughout their professional lives.

Paul Alan Barker

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

London, UK

Joe Deer is the best director

I ever worked with. 

Til this day I still lean on Joe for advice and inspiration. 

Nicole Scherzinger

Platinum Recording Artist

Olivier Award nominee

Ohio Governor's Award for the Arts in Arts Education - 2016
Wright State University Trustees Award for Faculty Excellence - 2014
College of Liberal Arts Award for Faculty Excellence - 2014
Founding President - Musical Theatre Educators' Alliance International
In The Press

About Joe Deer

Joe Deer is the award-winning director and choreographer of over 200 productions - from Off-Broadway to London, regional, summer stock and university stages. He is former Chair and Artistic Director of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures at Wright State University (Dayton, OH), where he is the Distinguished Professor of Musical Theatre. Joe was Director of The Musical Theatre Initiative at Wright State, an international center that celebrates and explores the history, culture and craft of this art form. For 20 years, he was Head of Wright State's Musical Theatre Program. His students populate Broadway, national tour, regional and international stages.


Joe began his career as a street busker in New York’s Shubert Alley and eventually appeared in the Broadway and touring productions of Anything Goes, The American Dancemachine, Singin' In The Rain, NYC Opera’s acclaimed productions of Brigadoon and The Music Man.  Off-Broadway shows include Rainbow, Subway Series (with NYC Tapworks), and Music, Rhythm and Tap (at Brooklyn Academy of Music). He also appeared at Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center Honors. Joe’s stage managing credits include the Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls, regional productions of Lend Me A Tenor, productions for New York’s Playwrights’ Horizons, and as production assistant on the first workshop of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins.


Joe received the Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts in Arts Education (2016), Wright State University’s Trustees’ Award for Faculty Excellence and the College of Liberal Arts Award for Faculty Excellence (2014), more than three-dozen regional awards for best production or direction, and was inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame. He was founding President of the Musical Theatre Educators Alliance, from whom he received a Career Achievement Award for his ongoing commitment to Musical Theatre education. Joe is a frequent guest artist and master teacher at the world's finest institutions, including the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (London, England), Danish Academy of Musical Theatre, Stage School (Hamburg, GE), Royal Welsh School of Music and Drama (Wales), Sheridan College (Canada), Scuola del Teatro Musicale (Milan, Italy) and many of the top training programs in the US (Carnegie Mellon University, North Carolina School of the Arts, University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and many others). He has presented workshops for thousands of students and teachers across the globe. In the Dayton (Ohio) region, he proudly affiliates with The Muse Machine, where he has been a frequent director and teacher, and The Human Race Theatre Company, where he's a Resident Artist. He holds an MFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University. Joe is proud to serve as a board member and advisor to Theatre Gap Initiative.


Joe is author of dozens of articles on theatre and education, the book, Directing In Musical Theatre: An Essential Guide, and the definitive textbook on its subject, Acting In Musical Theatre: A Comprehensive Course (with Rocco Dal Vera), which has been translated into Portuguese, Korean, Italian and an upcoming Spanish edition, with a revised third English edition recently released.

More About Joe
Joe's Professional Links
News and Events

Education Consulting

Joe Deer has been a leader in Theatre Education for more than thirty years, with international experience in Musical Theatre, Acting and Directing pedagogy, Curricular Design, Faculty and Program assessment, Faculty Development, student recruitment and internal program review. Joe is the rare educator who has worked extensively at the highest levels of both professional and educational theatre.   He’s a Broadway veteran, experienced director or choreographer of over 200 productions, artistic director of professional and university theatre and dance companies, and author of the world’s most widely used textbooks on acting and directing in musical theatre. At Wright State, Joe served as Department Chair, Artistic Director and was the first head of Wright State University's acclaimed BFA Musical Theatre program and is currently Director of The Musical Theatre Initiative. He is active internationally, working with faculty, staff and students from K-12 through graduate education, helping inspire innovative and engaging teaching in an affirmative atmosphere. He is a frequent contributor to Teaching Theatre and Dramatics magazines and has worked closely with The Muse Machine, Educational Theatre Association and Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Joe was the founding president of the Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance (the world’s largest organization in this field), is the recipient of the Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts in Arts Education and a lifetime recognition for his work in Musical Theatre Education. His passions now center on promoting an inclusive culture of excellence and achievement for all Arts students and faculty.



University of Washington

Stanford University

Relativity University

Straz Center for the Performing Arts

New York City Center – Encores Institute

Lindenwood University

Southern Methodist University

The Muse Machine


Faculty Assessment

Kent State University              University of Oklahoma             University of South Florida

University of the Arts              Shenandoah University             University of Central Florida

Penn State University             New York University                  Oakland University

University of Kansas               Roosevelt University                  Texas Christian University

University of Washington        Linwood University                    Carnegie Mellon University

The Hartt School                   University of Cincinnati/CCM       Pace University

Florida State University          University of Michigan                Ithaca College

Auburn University                  Stage School of Hamburg (GE)


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