Jo Michael Rezes (pronunciation: /rez/•/iz/, Hungarian pronunciation: rɛzɛʃ) is a third year Ph.D. Theatre and Performance Studies student at Tufts University, who recently completed an auto-ethnographical MA thesis entitled "Phantacamp: Queer Temporal Ruptures in the Performance of Restaged Camp." At Tufts, Rezes instructs Introduction to Acting and has served as the teaching assistant for Directing II. Their current dissertation research centers Camp studies in media frenzies and moral panics around the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis, aesthetics of sweetness in the performance, protest, and education of HIV/AIDS, queer disintegrations of bodies in solo performance, temporal ruptures as markers of violence and white supremacy, sexual economies of filth, and the everyday camp of neoliberalism. Rezes is an official TED Speaker. Contact Jo for their professional speaker rates!
They are a graduate of Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts in both Drama and English, winning the Molly Thacher Kazan Memorial Prize for their direction of Melancholy Play: a chamber musical and completing a research project entitled "Violent Defoliations: Transmasculine Roots of the Middle-American Family Drama."
As a theatremaker, Jo was the Assistant Director on the Nora Theatre Company's Cloud 9 (Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Production for Midsize Theater). They are a frequent collaborator with Sparkhaven Theatre, and featured as Count Orlok in a live-streamed, Zoom production of M Sloth Levine's Nosferatu, the Vampyr with original music by Alissa Voth on HowlRound.TV produced virtually by Homesick Play Project. Rezes directed a national short play festival, Trans [Plays] of Remembrance, in collaboration with Ohio University, Tufts University, and HowlRound.TV. They are currently curating a new publication through StageSource's Gender Explosion Initiative, The New England Anthology of Trans Plays and Performance.
Jo Michael Rezes is nonbinary, a first-generation college graduate, the child of the greatest fireman to have ever lived and a lawyer who never needed a law degree, the middle child between two sisters, and a juggler.
“Jo Michael Rezes delivers the standout performance of the production. Their singing, acting, and prop work are exceptional. They thoroughly chew each scene at least 10 times before swallowing. If you choke on it, it’s your own fault.”
Kitty Drexel, New England Theatre Geek
Trauma is the driving force behind Orlok’s actions throughout the play. They are surprised to learn Harker is married, and subsequently try to undermine Harker and Will’s relationship, through snide digs to Will about Harker’s untrustworthiness. These remarks are the Count’s twisted attempt at seduction, but Jo Michael Rezes injects them with sympathetic vulnerability. “I’ve never had a room to share with anyone,” Orlok says, their voice cracking. These words carry loneliness and bitterness, not malice."
Chloe Hyman, HowlRound Theatre Commons