Meet Our Directors
Nicole Lippey (Artistic Director): Nicole is the artistic director and founder of A Work of Heart Productions! For 4 years, WHP has been producing shows throughout New Jersey and NYC. Since its creation, Nicole has produced over 30 Off-Broadway shows in New York City with professional actors and singers.
Some of her favorite productions are Godspell (54 Below), Little Women (54 Below), Sister Act (54 Below), and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (The Bickford Theatre). This past summer, Nicole performed and produced as The Baker’s Wife in Into The Woods at The Bickford Theatre in Morristown, NJ. Nicole also wrote, directed and produced her One Woman Show, “Not Afraid To Fall” at Feinstein’s/54 Below to a sold out audience. A director, performer, producer and writer, Nicole is also a passionate and dedicated teacher. She has directed and assistant directed various children’s productions. She also teaches private voice lessons throughout New Jersey. Nicole is a graduate from Seton Hall University with a B.A. in Theatre Performance. During her education, Nicole taught abroad in Quilotoa and Esmeradas, Ecuador and studied at The Globe Theater in London, England. She also attended The Stella Adler Studio of Acting's Evening Conservatory Program in New York City. Nicole currently studies with her mentor, Tony Nominee Erin Dilly who she models her mission statement after. Nicole teaches students to not only be grounded and confident performers; she urges them to be kind, passionate and driven. She reminds her students to never compare themselves to others and to ride the energy of their own unique spirit.
Angelo DeFazio (Artistic Director): Angelo De Fazio holds a Masters degree in Educational Theatre from New York University and a degree in Theatre Performance and Communication from Seton Hall University, where he is an Adjunct Professor of Communication and The Arts. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Communication and Theatre at the College of Saint Elizabeth, Adjunct Professor of Communication at Montclair State University, and teacher of Fine/Performing Arts & Music at Our Lady of Sorrows School in South Orange. Angelo is an Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, as well as a Theatre Arts curriculum writer for the National 4-H Youth Development Organization. He was the Founder/Artistic Director of Theatre Next Door, a triple-threat performing arts studio with locations in East Hanover and South Orange, as well as a State of NJ certified Teacher of Theatre, having taught theatre and musical theatre at public schools, private schools, and performing arts studios throughout Essex and Morris counties. Angelo recently taught at Orange Preparatory Academy as a Teacher of Theatre, The Calais School as a Teacher of Theatre to students with special needs, and worked as Director for Livingston Community Players, Drama Director at Brooklake School in Florham Park and Memorial Middle School in Cedar Grove. He holds positions as Director of Theatre at Wayne Valley High School, Glen Ridge High School, Hanover Park High School, Ridgedale Middle School in Florham Park, Our Lady of Sorrows School in South Orange, and East Hanover Middle School. Angelo has directed The Wizard of Oz, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and The Addams Family at The Bickford Theatre , Almost, Maine at the College of Saint Elizabeth, Mystery Play at Seton Hall University, A Raisin in the Sun at the Mary Burch Theatre at Essex County College, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown at Montclair State University, and a new play, Day of Awe, at New York University Steinhardt’s Black Box Theatre, as well as Little Women, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Sweet Charity, Legally Blonde, Little Shop of Horrors, Fame, Miracle on 34th Street, Annie, A Year with Frog and Toad, Willy Wonka, Grease, Footloose, Robin Hood, Guys and Dolls, Once Upon a Mattress, Into the Woods, Peter Pan, The Music Man, The King and I, Oliver, Nephew Fred, and numerous other children’s theatre productions. He has had the opportunity to portray such iconic characters as The Emcee in Cabaret, Charlie Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Jaques in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, and Jesus in Godspell. Angelo has worked in the theatre as a stage manager, theatre reviewer, production manager, producer, teaching artist, vocal director, singer, actor, technical director, and director at such organizations as The PlayHouse at East Hanover, Celtic Theatre Company, South Orange Performing Arts Center, Paper Mill Playhouse, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Anthony Foti (Production Manager/Admin): Anthony Foti is currently a senior at Rutgers University - New Brunswick, studying Communications with a Specialization in Strategic Communication and Public Relations, with minors in Music and Theatre Arts. Through his work with A Work of Heart Productions, Anthony wears many hats, including website management, production management, stage management, administrative duties, etc. Anthony has been doing public relations work for the past 6 years, recently starting his own company, Bizlutions (www.bizlutionsusa.com), focusing on brand development for entertainment companies, small/startup businesses, personal brands, etc. Anthony's personal website is (www.anthonygerardfoti.com).
Johnny Ross (Marketing Director): Johnny Ross is a graduate of Montclair State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. For just under a decade, he has worked behind the scenes as a licensed hairstylist, wigmaker, professional makeup artist, as well as a trained vocalist and performer. Shows he has performed in include Into the Woods at The Bickford Theater, The Phantom of the Opera, Thoroughly Modern Millie, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, High School Musical, as well as Work of Heart’s off-Broadway productions of A Night of Andrew Lippa (The Triad Theater) and An Evening of Rodgers and Hart (54 Below). With A Work of Heart Productions, Johnny hopes to connect our ever-growing audience members and students with our uniquely thrilling stage productions and numerous theatrical education programs – to not only entertain but mold the next great generation of great stage performers.