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.