Joanie Receives a Special Citation from DFW Theatre Critics Forum

Thank you to the DFW Critics Forum for their recognition of my time at WaterTower Theatre with a Special Citation. It means more to me than I could possibly say--my time in DFW was a little bit of everything, and I'm endlessly grateful for it. And to be named among these inspirational female leaders in DFW theatre is an honor.

"To Joanie Schultz for her brief but significant contributions during her tenure as artistic director of WaterTower Theatre (December 2016–December 2018), including championing female directors, playwrights of color, and other inclusive initiatives; encouraging new works; and reinvigorating the DFW theater scene."

Coming this Fall: Joanie directs Bebe Neuwirth in A SMALL FIRE!

This fall, I will be directing A SMALL FIRE by Adam Bock and featuring Bebe Neuwirth at Philadelphia Theatre Company!

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to direct this beautiful play, which I directed at Steep Theatre in 2014, with such an esteemed actor, whose work I’ve admired for as long as I can remember. I’m also grateful to finally work with Artistic Director Paige Price, who is an incredible leader.

Read more on the Philadelphia Theatre Company website!

Glowing Reviews for FRIDA...A SELF PORTRAIT at KC Rep!!


The World Premiere of FRIDA…A SELF PORTRAIT is open at Kansas City Repertory Theatre! This unique play written and performed by Vanessa Severo is so beautiful and unique, I couldn’t be more proud of the work!

“…the essence of Severo’s play isn’t easy to encapsulate. But that doesn’t mean the work is abstruse. It means Severo has attempted a level of sophisticated storytelling we seldom see from playwrights in Kansas City or anywhere else.” -Robert Trussell, KC Studio

“This Frida is a colorful and imaginative composition of pop-out scenes that flow one to the other. Taken in as a whole, this truly original work is a deeply affecting drama that leaves an ineradicable imprint.” -Deborah Hirsch, The Pitch

KC Applauds

University News

Broadway World

Reviews are in for CRY IT OUT at Studio Theatre!


“The up-to-the-minute script is a tidy fit for Studio, where director Joanie Schultz handles the shifts of tone as adroitly as she did two years ago with Robert Askins’s far darker comedy ‘Hand to God.’” -Nelson Pressley, Washington Post

“Watching and enjoying Cry It Out is keenly connecting—not least because the direction (by Joanie Schultz) and the four actors in this production are stellar.” -DC Metro Theatre Arts

“The playwright is skilled at seamlessly transitioning from the fun and lighthearted moments to the serious ones and each actor is equipped with the skill to play them just as seamlessly under Joanie Schultz's intelligent direction.” -Broadway World

Another review at DC Metro Theatre Arts

Reviews for Joanie's new adaptation of A DOLL'S HOUSE

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I took on writing my own 90-minute adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE in 2018, which premiered at WaterTower Theatre. I couldn’t be more proud of this fast-paced adaptation. And the critics liked it too!

New 'Doll's House' adaptation shows how a woman's struggle to be heard is still achingly relevant, Dallas Morning News
”Nora may dress in an old-fashioned bustle, but Kate Paulsen's riveting performance as a woman scrambling on the inside to make everything perfect on the outside, etches an achingly contemporary journey in this 90-minute intermissionless production.” -Nancy Churnin

BWW Review: A DOLL'S HOUSE Comes Alive at WaterTower Theatre,

“WaterTower offers a sophisticated and enlightening modernization. Director and adapter Joanie Schultz modernizes the language and keeps the design firmly rooted in history. The choice to adapt does not hide a lack of understanding on Schultz's part - it in fact shows a true depth of understanding and familiarity with the text. It certainly does not disguise an insufficient budget; elaborate and historically correct fashions created by Melissa Panzarello and Amy Poe, in conjunction with a marvelous set designed by Chelsea M. Warren, convincingly portray the wealth of the late 17th century family at the heart of the drama. And if Schultz feared the audience might not understand? Rather than putting a band aid on that fear with some flashy modern props, she digs into the root of the misunderstanding, the translation from old Norwegian into modern English.” -JoJo Stein

Little Boxes: At WaterTower Theatre, Joanie Schultz's Ibsen adaptation is A Doll's House for our time.

“Schultz’ adaptation is a very effective tweak of the original—particularly in a short, vital addition at the end. And Ibsen’s story is respected: it’s all here, with almost no plot points lost along the way. The play’s longest face-to-face conversations are pared down without sounding rushed (though a couple of Nora’s brief, agitated soliloquies might have remained). And the light-handed update of language isn’t jarring, but makes several lines land with greater force, as if the #MeToo movement were bumping up against the 19th-century rulebook:
Torvald: No man would sacrifice his honor.
Nora [after a pause, and a long, steady look]: It’s a thing millions of women do every day.

Schultz isn’t trying to cut through the period style of Ibsen’s work—but to let us see past the flowing skirts and high collars, to experience just why and how this play shocked late-19th-century audiences with its blunt realism.” -Jan Farrington

WaterTower Theatre Sweeps DFW Theater Critics Forum Awards!

“WaterTower Theatre in Addison racked up 11 honors in Joanie Schultz's first year as artistic director. The accolades were spread out over the season, with nods going to the world premiere of Bread by Regina Taylor; the company's original, devised holiday show, The Great Distance Home; and the regional premieres of Elliot, a Soldier's Fugue by Pulitzer Prize-winner Quiara Alegría Hudes and Kate Hamill's adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.” -Nancy Churnin, Dallas Morning News


Outstanding Direction: Joanie Schultz, HAND TO GOD

Outstanding New Play: BREAD by Regina Taylor

Outstanding Performance by an Actor: Parker Gray, HAND TO GOD & Christopher Ramirez, ELLIOT, A SOLDIER’S FUGUE

Outstanding Performance by an Actress: Shannon McGrann, HAND TO GOD; Jenny Ledel, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE; Denise Lee, BREAD; and Stormi Demmerson, BREAD

Outstanding Ensemble: THE GREAT DISTANCE HOME

Outstanding Design or Creative Contribution: Kelsey Leigh Ervi and Ensemble for movement, THE GREAT DISTANCE HOME & Sam Lao and Brian McDonald for music, BREAD

The Reviews are in for HAND TO GOD at WaterTower Theatre

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"Hand to God is a cautionary tale about the raw reality of big feelings that can't be papered over by sunny signs and a poster of a kitten that says "Blessed are the Purrr in heart." It's also an acting challenge as all the characters are trying to repress what's roiling inside, with words that are often at odd with their feelings. Under the direction of WaterTower Theatre's artistic director, Joanie Schultz, this ensemble hits every target.

Those targets feel all the more close to home because of the immersive setting, executed by Richard Ouelette, which riffs on the concept of the set for the production Schultz directed for Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., in 2016. The Broadway show, which I saw in 2015, worked on a proscenium stage but is far more emotionally intense and moving in a space where patrons can arrive early and make sock puppets as if they are in the church basement with the actors, who move through the entire room as their stage."

-Nancy Churnin, Dallas Morning News

"Directors don’t always love every play they direct; sometimes the job is to make it appear as if they love the work. Schultz, whose vision is reshaping one of DFW’s best-known professional theaters, clearly loves this play. Her Hand to God is riotous and grab-the-person-next-to-you scary, sometimes at once. The testament to Askins’ writing is that it’s also challenging and unexpectedly moving."

Other Press Links:

-Dallas Voice

-Dallas Observer

-Culture Map

-Broadway World


WaterTower Theater Named Best Theatre 2018

The Dallas Observer named WaterTower Theatre the Best Theatre in Dallas!

“Addison's WaterTower Theatre made bold changes in 2017 and 2018 when they set out to attract a younger and more diverse audience. When their long-time director left, WaterTower brought in Joanie Schultz as artistic director, and she immediately set to work. Schultz ditched a previously announced production of Sunday in the Park With George and replaced it with a new play by Chicago playwright Ike Holter, Hit the Wall, about the Stonewall Riots. In spring 2018 WaterTower staged the world premiere of Regina Taylor's Bread, which explored timely issues including police violence and gentrification. Schultz also established a community engagement program called Intersections to facilitate conversation and offer context for the theater's productions. WaterTower's efforts are paying off. The rest of the year looks even more daring and innovative with the irreverent Hand to God, featuring a foul-mouthed puppet, followed by Schultz's own adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll's House.”

Joanie is Named one of Dallas' Most Fascinating People 2017

“This year, WaterTower Theatre got a savvy new artistic director in the form of Joanie Schultz of Chicago. Schultz has already made some bold choices. The first play she chose to direct was Hit the Wall, Chicago playwright Ike Holter’s 2013 play about the Stonewall Riots.

‘If every play you do is not life-changing, then you’re doing it wrong,’ Schultz said. ‘I don’t know why you would do a play otherwise.’


Schultz is also impacting the local theater community in other ways. She has been a leading light in the conversation about sexual harassment in the theater. She helped arrange for a town hall meeting on the subject at Arts Mission Oak Cliff earlier this month.” -Caroline North

See the article here!