Jo Michael 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 around the personal lives of queer "geniuses," protests and art created in the New York City AIDS Crisis, 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. Their TEDxTalk was recently selected by the TED editorial team for publication, and 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."
Their work as a theatremaker has taken them from the pedagogical development of a devising script format, to the combination of Beckett's Endgame and Stein's Patriarchal Poetry, to being covered in paint and feces in hamletmachine, to the creation of a genderqueer Charlotta Ivanovna in The Cherry Orchard, and to clown embodiment as Frank N. Furter. Most recently, 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) and featured as Count Orlok in Sparkhaven Theatre's live-streamed Zoom production of M Sloth Levine's Nosferatu, the Vampyr with original music by Alissa Voth on HowlRound.TV with Homesick Play Project. Rezes directed a national short play festival, Trans [Plays] of Remembrance, in collaboration with Ohio University, Tufts University, and HowlRound.TV.
Jo Michael Rezes is nonbinary, in love, 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