Staff & Leadership
John McEwen has served as the Executive Director of New Jersey Theatre Alliance since 2001.
Prior to the Alliance, John served as Vice President for Development of the New Jersey Network Foundation where he was responsible for providing the leadership for an annual fund goal of more than $7 million in support of NJN Public Television and Radio’s programs and services. Prior to joining NJN, John served as the Director of Development for Paper Mill Playhouse where he oversaw all fundraising activities, long-range planning, and board development. John provided the leadership for Paper Mill’s successful $10 million capital campaign.
In 1992, McEwen developed the Cultural Access Network Project, a project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and New Jersey Theatre Alliance, for which he received the inaugural Leadership Award in Access from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. John serves as a trustee of ArtPride NJ andFund for the New Jersey Blind. John has served as an adjunct professor in arts management at Seton Hall University, Drew University, and New York University.
John has consulted numerous organizations on board development, long-range planning, fundraising, and cultural access. He received a BA from Montclair State University and an MA from New York University.
John is a graduate of Leadership/New Jersey and was selected as one of 50 nonprofit arts leaders to participate in the Executive Program for Nonprofit Arts Leaders at Stanford University, a partnership of Stanford and National Arts Strategies.
When John is not attending the theatre, he enjoys cooking, collecting glass art, and anything to do with the water—boating, sun bathing, swimming.
Erica Nagel joined the staff of NJTA in 2019. Before then, she served as the Director of Creative Development and Strategy at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, where she was a senior member of the artistic staff, oversaw a variety of programs for learners of all ages, and offered leadership on cross-departmental initiatives such as The Every 28 Hour Plays, The Migration Plays, and sensory-friendly relaxed performances. Erica previously worked as Director of Education and Engagement at McCarter, during which time she significantly expanded educational partnerships with the Trenton Public School District and re-imagined audience engagement offerings to deepen the impact of attending live performance.
Before her time at McCarter, Erica served as the Producing Associate and Resident Dramaturg at Premiere Stages at Kean in Union, NJ. She has also consulted as a dramaturg, curriculum developer, grant panelist, and assessment specialist for numerous organizations across the country, and has worked as an adjunct professor at Princeton University, SUNY Brockport, and Texas A&M University. She is a proud recipient of a 2010 TCG New Generations Future Leaders Grant, which “seeks to identify exceptionally talented theatre professionals who will impact the field in a positive way,” and was honored to participate in the second cohort of the TCG Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Institute
Erica received her MFA in Performance as Public Practice (Theatre and Social Change) at the University of Texas-Austin, where she was a recipient of a Continuing Fellowship Award for her thesis project, Collaboration, Context, and Common Ground: A Model for Community-Engaged Dramaturgy, and regularly wore cowgirl boots to rehearsal.
Beyond the world of theatre, Erica enjoys spending time in the woods with her husband and daughter, practicing yoga, and listening to podcasts.
Laurice grew up in Nebraska and Iowa. She moved to NYC to attend the American Musical Theatre and Dramatic Academy in 1999 and has called New Jersey home since 2004.
She has served in many roles at regional theatres across the country. From company manager to scenic artist she has been lucky enough to work with some of the countries leading theatres, including Goodspeed Opera House, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Jujamcyn Theatres. Since joining the Alliance, Laurice serves as the Chair of the Communications Committee for the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations (APASO).
As a choreographer, she has worked with many school show choirs, served on the faculty at Iowa Central Community College, and served as dance captain on numerous shows.
Prior to joining the Alliance, Laurice was the Outreach Coordinator and Business Administrator for the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey, a liberal religious non-profit working for a more just and equitable New Jersey. In the not so near future, she plans to get her Master of Divinity and Leadership Studies at Meadville Lombard Theological School.
In her free time, she loves to spend time outdoors with and cooking for her husband, Markus, and daughter, Beatrice. Laurice is an advocate, public speaker, and prevention educator in the areas of sexual and domestic violence. She is an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair as a singer, religious educator, communications consultant, and Minister of Hugs.
LaWanda began her career with Citibank, N.A. on Wall Street. Later she transitioned into healthcare and worked with one of the top dialysis companies for over 11 years. Her last position as a Remote Regional Operations Coordinator allowed her to assist 2 of 4 Regional Operation Directors in managing operational components and provide teammate engagement and legislative visits to 35 dialysis clinics and 40 unit administrative assistants. She was also the Divisional Lead for physician education in best practices for unsigned orders. LaWanda left the dialysis field with a strong track record in all that she created, managed, assisted, and revised. To this day that division has expanded and is still growing rapidly.
Following this experience LaWanda decided to change her career and pursue a bachelor’s degree in Business Management through William Paterson University to expand her entrepreneur venture: a residential and commercial cleaning company named after her grandchildren: J&L Cleaning with a Purpose, LLC. She is also pursuing an online degree in Fashion Design through Penn Foster to help establish the growth of DaintyThings by LMM, LLC since 2003. LaWanda joined New Jersey Theatre Alliance in 2017 to help advocate for minorities and to help support the use of art to develop cultural awareness in meaningful ways. LaWanda’s hobbies are singing, tennis, painting, baking, liturgical dancing, and flag dancing.
Deonté Griffin-Quick, a native of New Jersey is an actor, singer, and arts administrator who is committed to the advancement and diversity of American Theatre. Deonté joined the NJTA team as an intern in December of 2016 and was enthused to continue his work with the Alliance as the Marketing and Communications Assistant.
Deonté has been afforded the opportunity to complete internships in various positions with several NJ theatres including New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch and Premiere Stages in Union. In March of 2018, Deonté served as a grant review panelist for Alternate ROOTS (Atlanta,GA) to peer review applications for Partners in Action, a program that fosters and funds social justice partnerships with progressive activist artists from all artistic disciplines in grassroots communities across the U.S. Southern Region. And he also currently serves as the State Coordinator of New Jersey Poetry Out Loud, working with New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Writer's Theatre of New Jersey.
Deonté holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a Communication minor from Kean University and is a candidate for membership of the Actor's Equity Association. As a performer, Deonté has performed at The Prudential Center, Enlow Recital Hall, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the world renowned Apollo Theater in Harlem, Luna Stage Company, New Jersey Repertory Company, and on Fox 5 Good Day NY.
Artistic Director, Premiere Stages
Former President & CEO, Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania
Managing Director, Two River Theater
Vice President of Real Estate, Bed, Bath & Beyond
Artistic Director, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre
Philanthropy Advocate, Consultant, and Trainer
Vice President & Wealth Management Advisor, Merrill Lynch
Business Manager, Chatham Day School
Joseph P. Benincasa
President & CEO, The Actors Fund
Senior Vice President – NJ Market Manager, Bank of America
Founder, Pushcart Players
Former Artistic Director, Bickford Theatre
Laura J. Hay
Principal, KPMG Insurance
Carol A. Herbert
Council Member, New Jersey State Council on the Arts
Marshall Jones III
Producing Artistic Director. Crossroads Theatre Company
Former Partner, Michael Graves Design Group
General Manager, McCarter Theatre Center
Managing Director, The Growing Stage: The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey
Michael Schnoering, FAIA
Partner, Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC
Artistic Director, East Lynne Theater Company