Director • Author • Theatre Master Teacher


Acting In Musical Theatre:

A Comprehensive Course

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
Master Teacher and Contributing Author - Educational Theatre Association

About Joe Deer

Joe Deer is 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 also the creator and 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. His students populate Broadway, national tour, regional and international stages. Joe is the award-winning director or choreographer of over 170 productions - from Off-Broadway to London, regional, summer stock and university 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 recently inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame. He was founding President of the Musical Theatre Educators Alliance and 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) and many of the top training programs in the US. He holds an MFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University.


Joe is author of dozens of articles, 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 Portugues,  Korean and upcoming Chinese and Italian editions, with a revised third English edition in progress. 

More About Joe
Joe's Professional Links




Virtual Guest - The Performing Arts Project

Workshops with some of the nation's best pre-college students!



Acting In Musical Theatre 3rd Edition - Release

The world's most used textbook on Acting in Musicals releases its newest edition - with enhanced web features, updated examples and new content.



My College Audition Prep

Students from across the nation gather online for expert advice on college auditions


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