Originally from New Jersey and now based in NYC, Joey Rizzolo directs plays and musicals ranging from new work to Shakespeare, with a particular penchant for politics and the stories of young people. As one of the early members of the New York Neo-Futurists, he created and developed new work for 12 years. As a political director with a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, Joey often adopts an Epic approach to storytelling, identified by critic Christine Howey as a director of "restless imagination." He teaches theater to children and adults.
With the Neo-Futurists, Joey served as a co-artistic director, education chair, and was responsible for the aggregation of new artists. He has written over 400 short plays and directed countless others for the Neo-Futurists' downtown East Village staple The Infinite Wrench (formerly Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind), an ongoing, ever-changing attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes, and the Neo-Futurist lab series out of which new plays are born. Joey wrote and performed in the NYIT award-winning performance art museum installation, Locker 4173b, and directed Yeauxlanda Kay's one-woman journey through world religion, Bible Study for Heathens. As a co-artistic director, he has taken part in the development of other full-length plays, such as Steve: A Docu-Musical, Laika Dog in Space, The Soup Show, the Drama Desk nominated The Human Symphony, and the Drama Desk nominated The Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O'Neill.
Joey’s gravitates toward work wherein art is embedded in communal activism. For two years, he worked with Queens Theater in the Park mentoring juvenile offenders at Riker’s Island in the development of original plays to reduce the rate of recidivism at Riker’s. While living in Ohio, Joey worked with Great Lakes Theater, the Black River Theater Company, and the Oberlin Summer Theater Festival following through on a commitment to provide free theater to under-served communities. Recently with OSTF, Joey directed Romeo and Juliet, The Cradle will Rock, and choreographed for Macbeth, Picnic, Bus Stop, Treasure Island, As You Like It, Henry IV Part One, and Hamlet.
As an MFA directing candidate at the New School in New York City, Joey is a trained EDI facilitator focusing on issues surrounding disability and allies. While earning his undergraduate degree at Oberlin College, Joey was the recipient of the Nash Drama Award and the college's performing arts fellowship. He was taught by Tea Alagic, Steven Brown-Fried, Moises Kaufman, Lee Sunday Evans, Leigh Fondakowski, Susanna Gellert, David Chambers, William Cusick, Ellie Enfield, and Paul Moser. Fight Choreography: Thomas Schall, Ricki Ravitts, Charles Conwell. Choreography: Nusha Martynuk, Ann Cooper-Albright.
Joey Rizzolo is a husband, a father, and a disabilities advocate.