Melissa Maxwell

Director of Professional Development

In addition to being the Director of Professional Development at the Stella Adler Studios, Melissa Maxwell is Co-Associate Artistic Director of the Great River Shakespeare Festival, and is a freelance director, writer, actor, filmmaker, and motivational speaker.

DIRECTOR credits include: Clyde’s, Playmakers Rep, George Street Playhouse; Imbroglio, Great River Shakespeare Festival world premiere (10 BroadwayWorld nominations); Trouble in Mind, Utah Shakespeare Festival; Safe House, Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis (6 St Louis Theatre Circle Award nominations, “Best Director” mention, BroadwayWorld’s BEST OF 2015, Ranked #3 on Ladue News’ The Best of St. Louis Theater 2015); The African Company Presents Richard III, Nevada Conservatory Theatre (“Best Director” nomination BroadwayWorld Las Vegas); four-time EMMY-winner Judy Tate’s Slashes of Light, The Kitchen Theatre world premiere; Show Way the musical, Vital Theatre, based on Jacqueline Woodson’s award-winning children’s book (Off Broadway Alliance ‘Best Family Show’ nomination); Unheard Voices, American Slavery Project’s theatrical event developed to give voice to the nameless souls buried at the African Burial Ground in NYC; Carl Djerassi’s (scientist who created the contraceptive pill) Taboos, Soho Playhouse world premiere; Andrea Lepcio’s Tunnel Vision at Pittsburgh’s Off the WALL Theatre world premiere; Nathan the Wise, Pearl Theatre Company. Melissa specializes in developing new plays. Playwrights she has worked with in this capacity: L Trey Wilson’s STAY; Andrea Lepcio’s Tunnel Vision; Judy Tate’s Slashes of Light (NYCWAM Collaboration award Honored Finalist); Jonathan James Norton’s My Tidy List of Terrors; Nandita Shenoy’s By Popular Demand. SDC Member.

WRITER: Her play IMBROGLIO premiered at Great River Shakespeare Festival, receiving 10 BroadwayWorld nominations. SALT IN A WOUND, is a Julie Harris Playwright Competition finalist, was produced by Chicago’s eta Creative Arts Foundation, received 5 Black Theater Alliance Award nominations, including Best Play and Best Writer, and a “Production of the Year” nomination from The African American Arts Alliance of Chicago. UNREQUITED LOVE was produced at New Perspectives Theatre Company in NYC and received an Audelco Award nomination and a New Professional Theatre’s “Our Words Award” for excellence in playwriting. UNREQUITED LOVE is in print and available through all major booksellers. Her one-act, FETUS ENVY, was produced in the NYC Fringe Festival and by manhattantheatre source, and is published in their anthology, Book of EstroGenius 2007. It has also been turned into a short film that can be found online. Dramatist Guild member.

ACTOR credits include: FBI: Most WantedManifestMrs. FletcherMadam SecretaryHOSTAGESThe Thomas Crown AffairLaw & OrderThe Sopranos, Third Watch, OzSpecial Victims UnitNever AgainPetty Crimes13 Conversations About One ThingJonny ZeroAs The World TurnsAll My Children, numerous regional theatres (including The Guthrie, GRSF, George Street Playhouse, The Public Theatre in Lewiston Maine, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Pearl Theatre Company, Capital Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse and Crossroads Theatre). Melissa started her career as a voice over artist at WGBH radio in Boston where, most notably, she played Eliza to James Earl Jones’ Tom in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. She has recorded numerous audiobooks for the American Federation for the Blind and several voice overs for commercials and industrials.

MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: Melissa is often asked to speak at schools and universities. Most notably, she has given two TEDx Talks. Taking Ownership: Melissa Maxwell at TEDxMosesBrownSchool and On Courage: Melissa Maxwell at TEDxBarnardCollegeWomen.

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