John received his B.F.A./M.F.A. in acting and Theater from N.Y.U. Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Program, and his M.A. in Educational Theater from Adelphi University graduating Summa Cum Laude. At NYU Tisch School of the Arts he studied with many luminaries of the American Theater: Peter Kass, Olympia Dukakis, Omar Shapli, Paul Sills, Joseph Chaiken, Tony Barsha to name a few. Prior to NYU, he attended Dowling College for 2 years on a Theater Arts Scholarship where he won the Eastern Division Semi-Finals in the American College Theater Festival for his portrayal Yank Smith in Eugene O'Neil's The Hairy Ape.


John performing on his 3rd Solo "Him and His Last Night of Sanity" at the Grover Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village, NYC, by legendary writer, Gary Kott

From 1985-2000, John was an Artist-in-Residence and an Adjunct Professor of Drama at Dowling College in Oakdale, LI, NY. There, he founded and developed his Professional Repertory Theater and moved his Acting School in residence. He produced 3-4 professional theater productions yearly, as well as working in NYC honing his plays with professional actors often bringing them to the College for readings and discussions with students and the community. He also performed leading roles in his and other plays during this period. He founded a New Play Reading Festival featuring distinguished and up-coming playwrights such as Murray Schisgal, Gary Kott, Joe Pintauro, Keith T. Fadelici and numerous others, and offered a diverse offering to the community: A Children's Theater Touring Company, an Improvisation Company, and numerous Symposiums interviewing legendary figures such as: Budd Schulberg, Cliff Robertson, David Newman, and Murray Schisgal. He also taught a full semester of various theater classes. His work was met with praise by both the academic and surrounding residential community, and the media for over 15 years, until Dowling fell into financial difficulties and he had to leave.  The private college closed several years ago. He then started a Website Design business which he runs to this day. More time is available to him and he's seeking to market his numerous works, and create new plays, as well as music and possibly screenplays. 


As an actor and writer John received critical acclaim for his two solos - PERFECTLY NORM-iLL PEOPLE which he wrote, and DIARY OF A MADMAN which he adapted from the Gogol Classic and also performed in New York City on Theater Row.  He also received critical praise in The New York Times, Newsday and other major papers as an actor for his performances in such leading roles as Jerry in THE ZOO STORY, Johnny in FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE, and many others (reviews on the homepage of these performances.) John had the privilege of working with Gary Kott (Producer and Writer of The Cosby Show and other major TV productions) who directed John in a staged reading of Gary's Solo Text HIM AND HIS LAST NIGHT OF SANITY at the Grove Street Playhouse in New York City. John has acted Off-Off Broadway in the 1970’s and 80’s in numerous productions at small art houses like Club 57, the Player’s Theater and others as well as small regional theaters. John co-produced and also performed a leading role in an Indy full-length feature film, OF LIES IN LOVE written and directed by Richard Ficara.


Many of his plays have been produced in full productions and staged readings in New York City: HE AND SHE (Hudson Guild Theater, New York, 1988), HOMESICK and THE BOX (double bill, William Redfield Theater, New York, 1992 with a staged reading at the Total Theater Lab in New York, 1991) DIARY OF A MADMAN (Theater Row Theater, New York) THE LAMP - Staged Reading at The Total Theater Lab and the Harold Clurman Theater, Theater Row, New York. Other productions include: FARMLAND (1989), SNAPSHOT (1989), CHARADE (1990), TOMORROW (1994) and PERFECTLY NORM-iLL PEOPLE. His full length play PRISONERS IN PARADISE received several professional readings in New York City.


John has completed 6 full-length feature films and one short film: THE GARDEN, about a paralyzed one-time Wall Street Wiz, and an Upcoming Journalist both hiding from a past of immense abuse and suffering that surfaces as they embrace one another’s lives, in his garden. TOP STORY, about corrupt media mogul's who create and escalate Tragic News Stories for profit, spinning the truth upside down, making the innocent appear guilty and the guilty, innocent. TIMEKEEPER, about John Harrison and Nevil Maskelyne's forty year war over the prize for Longitude in the seventeen hundreds, HOME, a coming-of-age story about a boy growing up during the Depression, MEN AND THE SEA about the East End Baymen of LI's fight against huge business and political corruption, WE THE PEOPLE, a high-concept comedy about the Presidency, politics and its dirty laundry, and a Short Film EYES IN THE DARK, about John Hamlet, an actor seeking art for art sake confronted by the harsh realities of the acting business, type-casting him as an Italian thug.

His Novella - THE INLET, is a stream of consciousnesses journey started when John was 33, just after the death of both of his parents. The work is about the search for connection - or, re-connection after a great loss spiraling one's mind, heart and spirit into darkness, and the attempt to pull oneself out of that quicksand.  John has also written poetry, prose, and song lyrics. 


With writer Gary Kott

John has produced and directed numerous productions while Artistic Director of his theater, as well as student productions at Dowling College where his company was housed. His work ranged from main stream plays like Death Trap to the Avant Garde, Classics, and his own plays. He also created and produced several Playwriting Festivals and Symposiums with leading writers and artists of the American Theater and Film world such a Cliff Robertson, Bud Schulberg and Murray Schisgal. He built an audience over many years, filling houses for his Repertory Company, and leading Newspaper Reviewers covered all of his productions, as well as offering articles about his work, vision, and effect on both the Academic and Civilian Communities that attended his productions. 


John has a long history of music in his own life, and his family's life - his mother being an Opera Singer. Throughout his childhood he played the Violin, then Trumpet for 10 years in Jr. / Sr. High School, and at age 14 started playing the Drums and the guitar. He never stopped playing the guitar. He has written many songs, but has not completed recording all of them. This is a project set to be completed in 2020. He considers his songs, mini-plays that are scored, as well as instrumentals he calls “SoundSculptures” which are edits from long improvisational solo jams on his guitar.


Several of his students and young actors who performed in his plays have moved on to high-level careers listed below.  It seems fitting to put their photos here. 


Now 64 years old and having time to write more fully again, John has created his new website as an infrastructure to give exposure to his past body of work, most written between the ages of 28 and 42 and new work. Anyone can download copies of his plays and screenplays right on the site. There are also Works in Progress with samples, that he intends to complete over the next few years. As new works evolve, he will put them on the site and announce them to those on his mailing list and on social media. If you're not on his mailing list - please sign up on his website at the bottom of any page. Or here.

John has Produced most of the work in his resume and list of productions, and directed many as well.


From Left to Right:
Rick Miller (Peter), Tom McCleeshe (Jerry) in Edward Albee's "The Zoo Story".
Gary Kott (Writer/Producer "The Cosby Show" and many others) Interview in one of my "Legends" Symposiums at Dowling. Andy, Rick, Denise Welborn (helped in editing my solo script with great expertise and directed me in this solo with great skill), our Stage Manager, and myself in Perfectly Norm-iLL People, Solo Performance. Myself in the Performing Arts Center Lobby at Dowling.

If you are going to tell the truth, don't water it down. If you have to water it down, you might as well tell the entire lie, and stop calling it truth. 

To seek to charm, focus on pleasing, being liked, looking hot, licking the adoration of applause and appeasement, bask in vanity-stroking, or use other such forms of seduction for safe, predictable, self-praise through the arts, creates nothing but hedonistic masturbation shared between the coward performer and narcissistic audience. Art must hold no compromise, no censorship, must be unapologetic, and fueled by the need to explore and express a complete truth fully despite the audiences reaction and overall social outcome. Stubborn purity and self-sacrifice rides the wave of true artistic expression. 

Art requires the courage to create and express an independent, authentic truth, through a personal vision, despite what others think, or want you to think. It comes from a place of deep empathy and curiosity delving into the unknown and the known.  Artistic expression is always fueled by a fierce  independent mind, courageous heart, complete independence from the status quo, an intolerance for abuse, and an unconditional love for the audience - even if the audience is composed of idiots, morons, criminals and bigots. In fact, those are the audiences that need art the most!

Growth of self and culture will not happen, when narcissism, opportunism, and ego is motivating choice.

When artists succumb to the pressures of culture, or cult, rather than defying those pressures, they become part of the criminality that's accepted as normal; a deception shared as tolerable behavior within the hedonist culture we presently live in.  In that space, the image of someone matters more than the depth of that person, and market value supersedes human value. Living within that kind of self-chosen lack of consciousness. they do not see the greater purpose beyond their one personal life or how the arts feed their mindless needs, or, the one era they live in that the arts can provide witness to. They block it by muddying the mess with their glossy limitations, because they are focused more on what is known rather than what needs to be discovered, and they continually pull back from new ideas rather than forge forward. Limited, safe ideas and choices, that fuel their narcissism, become the only forms of expression they know played to audiences who have embraced them - and it becomes its own paradigm of useless stupidity, passed off between those involved as great when it is trash. Nothing could be more dangerous because they have joined forces with the problem rather than the solution. 

The arts only side with solution to open doors to possibility. Entertainment always sides with the problem to soothe the pains the problem cause.

Perhaps one day cultures will stop listening to their Politicians and start listening to their Artists, and the primitive torture going on in nearly all walks of life, will cease. 

We are at a crossroads in 2020 - one between our long struggles from primitive existence, and a huge potential for learning and growth beyond anything we've ever known before. A transcendence to important new heights of human potential is possible but must remain grounded in the humane, not materialism or simply the technological. The Arts, if allowed to be Art, if supported fully and unconditionally, if its power is understood for the long term changes they offer, can be embraced by all people and holds the real key to transformative human evolution - though higher consciousness. Because Art, is truly what we mean by "Unconditional Love" when we use those words meaningfully; not vain or conditional love - but the kind of love that moves one to nurture, sacrifice for others, and not resent it but instead to feel honored to serve the full acceptance of all that is nurturing, kind, beautiful, and mysterious. That is where art lives, because it has something urgently important to share, to gift transcendence to both artist and audience through it's creation, and presentation. 

Anything less is a destructive, de-evolving travesty, despite the costuming, long-winded rhetoric, clever psychologically manipulative sales pitching, endless propaganda, and evil marketing finesse involved. 

We must say NO to all of this nonsense, because if we, the artists do not say NO, you can forget those running the show saying NO and instead will continue to throw fuel on the fire.

That lot are seeking dollar signs, not consciousness, like all good Chimps lunging hungrily after a banana.

John Monteleone
Sag Harbor, NY
February 20th, 2020

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