Profile: John Manzelli

PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY YOU SHOULD KNOW: John Manzelli – Artistic Director

Who are you?

Artistic Director of City Theatre, Assistant Professor of Theatre at Barry University, Professional Actor (currently on Magic City), Director, and super happy father of 2!

What do you do in real life?

I don’t have much real life around all my theatre commitments. I try to squeeze in trips to Disney World with my wife and daughter (who are awesome).

What do you like most about what you do?

Working with so many different types of people at various stages in their career. I work with professionals at the top of their game and young people at the University, where I can hopefully inspire and guide them. I don’t know if I’m qualified to guide anyone, but hopefully I don’t screw them up too badly.

What is the Summer Shorts Festival?

It’s the culmination of City Theatre’s mission: to inspire, develop, and produce new work, especially the short play genre. Each year, we put together some of the best pieces we find and put them on as a Festival.

Why should we become fans?

Because it’s fun. This is not the stuffy stereotype of “THE THEATRE” that scares so many people into going to the movies instead. These are mostly short comedies written to be accessible and entertaining.

Your favorite Short?

Bedfellows- the true (sort of) account of a night where Ben Franklin and John Adams share a motel room (not in that way).

Why theatre?

Because I’m not getting enough work in the movies. I actually love the theatre and the live connection.

A theatrical “wow” moment was?

Last year, watching the opening performance of Dirty Little Secrets with Jai Rodriguez (which I directed and produced). It was the moment I realized that I could actually produce interesting theatrical events at a high level.

What inspires you?

My daughter.

Who are your current icons or muses?

My daughter. In truth, she inspires me to succeed. I want to be able to produce work that she can be proud of one day. She’s only three, so I have a couple of years to line some stuff up. I don’t have star role models. I am fortunate enough to have great figures in my life. I am a combination of my father and my grandfather and don’t need to look far to be inspired in my life.

Describe your personal style like a good friend of yours would?

I don’t know, I can’t figure out how I do anything. I try to shut up and listen and be fair. You would have to ask them.

What books/mags do you have on your bedside table?

No magazines, no time to read them. I love classic books: Gatsby, War of the Worlds, etc.

Where you’ll find me on a Friday night at 10pm?

Leaving rehearsal, or (if I’m lucky) sitting with my wife on the coach watching myself in Magic City (it’s only happened three times but I’m hoping for more).

If you had to move to a deserted island what two items would you take?

A cooler with food and a cooler with beer. Of course, a cell phone and cell phone tower would be my better answer.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Sports and fast food.

One luxury you cannot live without?

Soccer on TV

Three words that describe you?

Don’t know – I would hope it’s something like honest, fair, and kind, but it might be more like goofy, scattered, and stressed.

City Theatre’s Summer Shorts 2012 kick off on Friday, June 1, 2012, 7:30pm. Tickets are $35.00. CARNIVAL STUDIO THEATER at the The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd; Miami. For info:  Box Office (305) 949-6722 or their website here

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