Jo Ann Cimato, Stage Director, Acting Teacher & Coach, Dramaturg
photo by Daman Ha
Jo Ann Cimato joined the faculty at The Beacon School in 2004. In the fall of 2015 The Beacon School relocated to a brand new facility on West 44th Street opening two theatre spaces - the 100 seat New Beacon Black Box and the 400 seat New Beacon Theatre. During the first season in their new home, Ms. Cimato celebrated the opening of the new proscenium stage with Coram Boy which featured the largest production cast and crew in B'DAT history in December of 2015. The 2018-2019 B'DAT Season of Love will include a black box musical, Amelie, a contemporary staging of Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, and the classic rock musical HAIR.
During the last year of at the West 61st Street Beacon location Ms. Cimato produced Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice with a live score composed and performed by students, in addition to the first New York City high school production of Jeanine Tesori and Tony Kushner's Caroline, or Change. In 2014 she celebrated 10 years in the Beacon Black Box with Passing Strange, marking the fifth premiere for the Beacon School. Beacon also produced the New York "revival" of The Light in the Piazza in 2013 and the first school staging of Spring Awakening in 2012. In 2009 B'DAT produced the first high school staging of Rent, School Edition on the east coast only to be followed by another high school debut in 2009 with the Beacon production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Beacon Theatre students produce exceptional work, excel at annual Educational Theatre Association events, graduate to professional training at top ranked conservatories and pursue careers in the performing arts.
Jo Ann has also collaborated with Caroline Harvey, Lilli Wosk, Bill Grady, Alexx Shilling and the Berklee College of Music developing a Summer Music Theatre Intensive for young performers. She is a freelance Dramaturg, Stage Director and Acting Coach.
Jo Ann Cimato was born in Brooklyn in 1976. She started dancing at Ms. Francine’s Dance Academy on Flatbush Avenue in 1978 and made her stage debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music not long there after. Her family moved to suburban New Jersey in the eighties where she suffered a traditional public school education until she found the Fine and Performing Arts Academy at Howell High School. A trained classical singer, Jo Ann started acting outside of school at age sixteen and continued performing on and off while earning a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts from Boston University and eventually an M.A. in Theatre and English from New York University.
In the last 30 years Ms. Cimato has performed in, directed, propped, costumed, written, stage managed, and designed countless dramatic, musical, or opera productions in many states and a few foreign countries. Making plays with B'DAT is her favorite thing to do.