Event Details
  • Non-members, please pay at least $5 to help keep us running.
    June 24, 2022
    5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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Redefining Yourself in a Pandemic (and Supporting Theater in a Changing Environment)
Friday 6/24, 2022 at 5:00 eastern time

Community Gathering on Zoom - register with the bright red reservation box to receive the Zoom link. These gatherings are a service for the theater community and are offered free for TRU members; we ask that non-members help keep us running by making a donation or joining as a member.

Friday 6/24 - In the room: Chad Austin, director, choreographer, Artistic Director of Abingdon Theatre and principal in The Twenty Nine Hour Venture which provides an artistic space for writers to hear their work; JV Mercanti, director, principal in The Twenty Nine Hour Venture; James Rocco, director, choreographer, former Producing Artistic Director of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, founder of Thirty Saints Productions (Come from Away, Magic Mike, creator of The Broadway Songbook Series) and the newly formed Thirty Saints Music Licensing which facilitates music clearances for stage shows. What prompted a pivot for these successful theater directors, and how can they support you in your future success?


    is the Artistic Director of Abingdon Theatre Company in New York City. Chad joined ATC in 2016 as the Associate Director and during that time helped to develop works such as the World Premiere of The Mother of Invention by Academy Award Winner, James Lecesne, Chess Match No. 5 directed by Ann Bogart and Eve Ensler’s Fruit Trilogy. In 2018, Chad took over as Artistic Director of Abingdon and now continues to develop and produce brave, new American work by emerging and established artists. In his time as Artistic Director, Chad created Abingdon’s One Night Only series which gave a stage to Wade Dooley’s The Prompter, starring Academy Award winner Estelle Parsons. In this series, Chad also shepherded a production of Steel Magnolias, featuring Tony Award Nominees, Brenda Braxton, Sandy Duncan and Nancy Opel. With Chad at the helm, Abingdon also co-produced the critically acclaimed off-Broadway run of Jacqueline Novak’s Get On Your Knees. In addition to all of his work at Abingdon, his highlights as a director and choreographer include, the Emmy award winning Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert on NBC, starring John Legend and Sara Bareilles; Love! Valour! Compassion! at Theatre 71; the World Premiere of STET by Kim Davies; And the World Goes 'Round, honoring Bebe Neuwirth; Alone in the U.S.A at SUNY New Paltz; Who Are You? at the New York Music Theatre Festival; Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel and Chess both at A.T.A NYC and Peter and the Wolf with the Hampton Ballet Theatre. Chad also choreographed the musical movies Walk the Walk, Landed and Winning New York (official section 2016 young film maker series).


    directed the initial 29 hour readings of Once Upon a One More Time (the Broadway-bound Britney Spears jukebox musical) as well as Greetings From Niagara Falls (Harvey Fierstein, book; Alan Menken, music; Jack Feldman, lyrics). His production of Songbird (Lauren Pritchard, music & lyrics) was named a New York Times Critic's Pick. JV is currently acting as the Associate Director on Once Upon a... and previous Associate credits include Jesus Christ Superstar Live (NBC) and the Broadway revival of Romeo & Juliet (starring Orlando Bloom). As a Casting Director, credits include Broadway's Romeo & Juliet and Cyrano de Bergerac. JV is an Associate Professor of Acting in the Musical Theater Program at Pace University and has over a decade's experience as an educator. In Performance, his four volume series of monologue books, is published by Rowan Littlefield.


    is the co-founder of Thirty Saints Productions, which created¬†The Broadway Songbook¬ģ¬†Series and currently produces¬†Songbook Live.¬†Together with Broadway Asia, Thirty Saints toured¬†Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat¬ģ¬†to Tokyo and led the artistic team for the US Air Force's 9/11 tribute video¬†There Are No Words, seen by millions of viewers. Thirty Saints is an investor in the current Broadway, National Tour, and Toronto productions of Come from Away¬†and¬†Magic Mike¬†in London.¬†Rocco's theatrical career started as the youngest member of the (Art) Linkletter Totten Tots! He appeared in¬†Oliver!¬†with Ray Walston and Jules Munschin;¬†Carousel¬†as Enoch Snow Jr, with John Raitt; and as Sheppard in Sidney Lumet & David Merrick's thriller,¬†Child's Play.¬†¬†James produced his first show in New York at 16 (Henry, Sweet Henry,¬†at the Mercer Arts Center and the Lamb Theatre).¬† As a performer, he appeared in the original Broadway production of¬†Cats. In addition, Rocco was seen in the International and TV Ashai Productions of¬†Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies, sang back up for Frank Sinatra, was the lead singer for Herbie Hancock and the Super Sounds, and had an FMQB hit with the song¬†And The Night Stood Still.¬†From 2005-to 2017, Rocco was the VP of Programming and Producing Artistic Director at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.¬†Before joining the Ordway team, Rocco was Producing Artistic Director of Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma.¬†His freelance work as a director/choreographer includes award-winning productions of¬†33 Variations,¬†Grey Gardens,¬†Singin' In the Rain,¬†Yankee Doodle Dandy, (World Premiere),¬†Sweeney Todd,¬†The Wizard of Oz, Chess, She Loves Me,¬†Violet, South Pacific,¬†White Christmas,¬†As Bees in Honey Drown,¬†A Little Night Music,¬†Songs For A New World, In The Heights, Damn Yankees, Pirates of Penzance,¬†Guys & Dolls,¬†On the Town, A Christmas Story, Annie, Jesus Christ Superstar¬†and many more from classic repertoire to world premieres.¬†¬†¬†In 2019, he was recognized by¬†The Broadway League and The Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds for 30 years of dedication, craft, and contribution to the theater.¬†¬†Rocco commissioned the holiday musical¬†A Country Christmas Carol¬†and was part of the creative teams behind the off-Broadway cult hits¬†Nite Club Confidential¬†and¬†Streakin'!¬†In addition, his re-visioned stage production of¬†Singin' in the Rain¬†has been seen around the world.¬†His newest venture is Thirty Saints Music Licensing which acquires music clearances for stage shows. Clients include Stage Rights Publishing, Broadway Licensing, Members of The Broadway League, The Dramatist Guild, and The National Alliance of Musical Theatre.