John Manzelli

John Manzelli

Associate Professor of Theater

John Manzelli is an accomplished theatre artist who has worked throughout the country as both a professional union actor and a critically acclaimed Fight Choreographer. A native of South Florida, Mr. Manzelli received the Focus on Excellence (Full-tuition) scholarship from Barry University where he received his BFA in Theatre/Political Science. He went on to begin his professional career working in many of the major South Florida Playhouses. In 2000, John received his MFA from Illinois State University's prestigious Actor Training Program. He spent years working in New York City on stage and television and performing at numerous top regional theatres.

Some of his regional highlights include: The hilarious "tour de force" one-man show Fully Committed at New Stage (MS) & Tri-State Actors Theatre (NJ), The Lonesome West for The Naked Stage (FL), Betrayed at Gablestage (FL), Antony & Cleopatra at Odyssey Theater (NYC), A Christmas Carol at Northeast Theatre (PA), Richard III at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and And a Nightingale Sang at Kentucky Rep. John received his first training in Stage Combat in 1995 at the National Stage Combat Workshop in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since that time, he has worked with many of the world's top Stage Combat professionals and become a critically acclaimed choreographer. He is the premier fight choreographer in South Florida, regarded for his ability to "inspire and instruct with as much enthusiasm and skill as he choreographs." (The Pantagraph). He has served as Fight Choreographer and Combat Instructor at Illinois State University & the New World School of The Arts and has choreographed over 4 dozen professional productions. He has held the position of Fight Choreographer-in-residence at various professional theatres, including: Kentucky Rep (KY), The Odyssey Theatre (NYC), The Florida Playwrights Theatre, The Naked Stage & New Theatre's Shakespeare Project (FL). He is currently the Associate Artistic Director for the award winning Naked Stage Co. ( and was recently awarded the prestigious Silver Palm award from the South Florida Theater League and a Visionary award for his role as co-founder of the critically acclaimed 24-hour Theater Project.

On Screen, John has appeared in both television and film on such projects as Third Watch (Guest Star, NBC), The Notorious Bettie Page (HBO Films), & U.S. Customs Classified (Lead Role, WB). In 1997, John (along with creative partner Antonio Amadeo) created the children's puppet television program "Banana Zoo" that aired for 2 seasons on the Discovery Kids Network in 65 countries in 10 languages.

John is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors, The Screen Actor's Guild, & The Actor's Equity Association.

Before coming to Barry, John previously served on the faculty of two South Florida Universities. He taught Acting, Movement & Voice at The New World School of the Arts, and served as an adjunct instructor of Stage Combat at Florida Atlantic University. John has also served as an instructor at Illinois State University, where he taught Movement, Oral Interpretation, Stage Combat, and Theatre Appreciation. A diverse and gifted teacher, John specializes in a movement based technique for Actor training. In addition to Stanislavski based training, John blends in various techniques ranging from Clowning, Greek Tragedy, Suzuki, Psychological Gesture, animal, and mask work to bring about a dynamic and creative theatrical artist. A classical deconstructionist, John has had two major adaptations of Shakespeare produced to critical acclaim.

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