My Old Mentor, Now Community Adviser: J.J Lewis Nichols

I am more than pleased to announce that J.J Lewis-Nichols will be joining my Community Advisory Board for The Cherry Orchard Project.

Below is J.J's official resume...

"Born and raised in NYC, JJ’s passion for the theatre started by seeing the original Mary Martin “South Pacific” at age 2 ½. Her theatre education included attending all the major Broadway shows from the 50’s through 2010. After attending Denison University, she graduated the first year of the Tisch School of the Arts in “acting”. Her Broadway credits include the French maid in “Private Lives” in 1969 and as Frances Hunter in “No Sex Please, We’re British” in 1973. Based in NYC, her 17-year professional career included national tours, the Cleveland Playhouse, and the Mark Taper Lab. Television credits include appearances in many soap operas, the sit-com “The Madhouse Brigade”, numerous TV commercials, and over 400 radio ads. Her film work includes “Dead Ringer” with Meatloaf and “Dreamchaser” with Harold Gould and Jeff Tambor.
In 1981, she moved to Northern California where she is Artistic Director of the Siskiyou Performing Arts Center and currently working on her 112th show there. She has taught “acting/directing/playwrighting” for College of the Siskiyous as adjunct faculty for 25 years. In addition to “Little Women – A Merry Christmas” (the musical), she has written and produced other musical adaptations including “The Littlest Angel” and “Christmas Carol”."

What J.J doesn't mention in her resume is that she has mentored hundreds of students in Siskiyou County, many of whom are now working professionally in the arts. That is no small feat for a rural, low-income area, with very little opportunity for arts education. As a teacher she was invaluable to me. She gave me a place to go that I felt safe, appreciated and understood. She gave me discipline, self-confidence and helped me develop as a leader.  I owe a great deal of who I am today to this woman.

(She also has the terribly romantic story of falling in love with a cowboy and changing her life from a New York City-born-and-bred girl to living on top of a mountain in rural NorCal where she'd often have to hike through snow to get home.)