Division Head, Division of Performing Arts; Professor
John Bell is the head of the Division of Performing Arts at DeSales University. Past academic appointments include Director of Musical Theatre (MFA and BFA) at The University of Central Florida, Director of Music Theatre and Opera at James Madison University and Head of Dance at the University of Michigan-Flint. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Ohio Wesleyan University.
A director, choreographer and conductor, professional credits include the Tony Award winning Old Globe Theatre, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Meadowbrook Theatre, the Orlando Shakespeare Festival, the Virginia Opera, and the Michigan Opera. He has directed, choreographed and/or conducted over 100 productions throughout the United States.
He is a published scholar on the life and work of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim and interned on the world premiere of Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Along with Dr. Steven R. Chicurel, he is co-author of Score: Music Theory for Musical Theatre (Scarecrow Press) and has contributed a chapter for Playing with Theory in Theatre Practice (Palgrave Macmillan). Additional writing and reviews can be found in The Sondheim Review, CUR Quarterly, Southern Theatre, and Theatre Studies.
Current and past associations include The Society for Directors and Choreographers, the Dramatist Guild, Actors Equity Association, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Music Theatre Educators Alliance and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. A librettist and composer, his musicals Rivers Run Deep and Making Home have been produced regionally.