AMERICAN THEATER GROUP produces new and classic works primarily by American Playwrights with an emphasis on the development of new works and the rediscovery of undeservedly neglected older ones. ATG engages audiences by making theater’s glorious possibilities accessible to the diverse community in which we live, through remarkable performances as well as quality arts-in-education programming.
American Theater Group’s home is The South Orange Performing Arts Center at One SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ 07079. Tickets to all American Theater Group events can be purchased at the Box Office located in the SOPAC lobby, or online at www.sopacnow.org, or by calling (973) 313-2787.
James Vagias was the Executive Producer at the American Stage Company in Teaneck, New Jersey for nine years. During his tenure, Vagias produced more than 40 productions, including 12 world premieres, many of which went on to long and healthy afterlives in both New York and regional theaters. While at ASC, Vagias developed the world premiere production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, which became one of the most successful off-Broadway productions of all time, and continues to be produced in more than 400 cities throughout the world. In addition to his tenure at ASC, Vagias has worked with various New York commercial producers, and served as a magic consultant for Broadway productions. He has served on the panel of the ASCAP Musical Theater Workshop with such theater notables as Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell), Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime) and Rupert Holmes (Edwin Drood). Vagias is also the founder of Educational Productions, a company that has produced motivational school assemblies for more than half a million students. A former attorney for Screen Actors Guild and Actor Equity, Vagias is an Adjunct Professor at Montclair University, and lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.
Rick Sordelet has been recognized as this nation’s leading Fight Director. Creating original fight direction for thousands of shows world wide has enabled Rick to work with the best directors all over the world. With 54 Broadway shows including The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Annie also the National Tours of Beauty and the Beast, and Les Miz . Rick staged the fights for Cyrano the opera (starring Placido Domingo) at the Metropolitan Opera, The Royal Opera House and La Scalla, in Milan. Don Carlo directed by Nicholas Hytner at the MET, and Heart of the Soldier, a new Opera at San Francisco Opera, Hundreds of productions in Regional Theaters across America. Rick was Stunt coordinator for The Game Plan and Dan in Real Life and for Guiding Light for 12 years. Rick starts his 14th year teaching at Yale School of Drama, and has been awarded the Edith Oliver Award for Sustained Excellence from the Off-Broadway League’s Lucille Lortel Awards and received a Jeff Award for Best Fight Direction for Romeo and Juliet at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. As a director, Rick did Romeo and Juliet at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Macbeth for the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Of Mice and Men the opera for Kansas City Opera among others. He wrote Buried Treasure, directed by Joe Mancuso, at George Street Playhouse’s Second Stage. He also penned a major notional picture with his writing partner Dan Studney that is in negotiations. Rick started SORDELET INK, which will give first time playwrights and writers an opportunity to get their work seen by the industry.
Joseph Mancuso has more than twenty-eight years of significant experience as an artist, educator and arts/business administrator including a combined sixteen years as Executive Director for two not-for-profit arts institutions: The Union County Performing Arts Center and The Shoestring Players. He is about to celebrate his twenty-fifth year of teaching at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers and his eleventh year as Theater Arts Coordinator for the Career Training Program at Somerset County Vocational High School. His work was featured in an eight part educational series The Art of Teaching The Arts produced by the Center for Public Broadcasting and the Annenberg Foundation. He has served as producer and/or director for several regional as well as New York productions. Here at UCPAC he produced and directed Fiddler On The Roof where he was nominated for Best Director and Best Musical Revival by the Newark Star Ledger. Also produced at UCPAC: A Chorus Line (Best Musical Revival), Man of La Mancha, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, La Cage aux Folles and Into The Woods. In NYC, his original adaptation of the works of Carl Sandburg entitled Lessons On How To Behave Under Peculiar Circumstances premiered at the 28th Street Playhouse. He also produced eleven shows over six seasons at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland winning the prestigious Fringe First Award in 1992. He currently serves as a Board Member of Rahway Arts District, Inc.