You never know who’s sitting at the table next to you.
Take John Wooten, a Glen Ridge resident for four years – playwright, director, teacher of Playwriting, Acting as a Profession, and Inside TV, resident director for a screenwriting competition sponsored by the International Emmy Awards, and his day job – Producing Artistic Director at Kean University’s Premiere Stages.
Plays written by John have been produced Off-Broadway, in England, Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Serbia, South Africa, and in thirty-eight states across America. His film Cat in the Pan premiered at the Montreal Film Festival and has been seen in festivals across North America.
And yet, he orders a beer at Fitzgerald’s with the same panache as the rest of us. I’ve seen him.
Before Premiere Stages, he was Artistic Director of TheatreFest for ten seasons, where he produced 50 productions, many of which moved to NYC including Ellen Burstyn in the Trip to Bountiful and Patti LuPone in Matters of the Heart.
His bio includes too many awards to list in this small space, but when you see him in the restaurant ask about playwriting or directing or acting or the current lineup at Kean University’s Premiere Stages (kean.edu/premierestages/), exactly 21 minutes by car from the corner table at Fitzgerald’s 1928. See an award-winning production or attend a reading (often free) which is an education in itself about how a play comes together.
John is married to the beautiful and creative actress, Andrea Bianchi. They have a young son, the precocious, eminently reasonable, always friendly Jack. If you catch them at brunch it will be clear to you as it is to John that his family is the most successful and enduring production to which he has been part.
Fitzgerald’s 1928: It’s a Neighborhood Place.