“Be prompt. Be pleasant. Be prepared. Be proud.”
Joseph Siravo has been a working actor, director, teacher and producer for more than 40 years. His theatrical roots were set down at St. John’s in the Mask & Wig under the tough-love brilliance of Eugene F. Morrill. The above words of encouragement finished every set of notes distributed to the Mask & Wig by Mr. Morrill and became the foundation for Siravo’s entire professional life.
At SJC, he began his theatrical career at the ripe age of 11, appearing for the first time on stage in Oliver! He was then featured in several Mask & Wig productions: The Music Man, My Fair Lady, The Happy Time, Man of La Mancha, Hello, Dolly!, George M!, Fiddler on the Roof, Anything Goes, West Side Story and The Pajama Game.
With his Mask & Wig foundation supporting him, Siravo attended Stanford University, performing major roles by Aeschylus, Brecht, Strindberg, Sondheim and Shakespeare, but never imagining he would pursue a career as a professional actor. That all changed, however, when he acknowledged his true passion and committed to a life of theatrical story-telling.
Siravo then entered the New York University Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program, training under some of the most influential acting teachers of his generation: Peter Kass, Olympia Dukakis, Ron Van Lieu and Nora Dunfee. As Ms. Dunfee’s assistant and protégé, Siravo began an obsession with Shakespeare that continues to this day. Again, the nurturing guidance of a master teacher planted the seeds for a long and fruitful journey.
Over the past four decades, he has taught at some of the most respected actor-training programs in New York City. After receiving his M.F.A. from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 1980, Siravo joined the NYU grad acting faculty as its youngest member, teaching voice, speech and text with a primary focus on Shakespeare.
He conducted Shakespeare workshops at the Lucid Body Institute, the Terry Knickerbocker Studio, the Michael Howard Studio, the Stella Adler Conservatory and the Playwrights Horizons Theater School. His Shakespeare and Beyond workshop in NYC has been inspiring actors every Monday night with the genius of Shakespeare for the past 20 years.
Siravo first began acting professionally Off-Off Broadway, with the Cooper-Keaton Group at La MaMa, ETC. At New York Stage and Film, he directed Sam Shepard’s Suicide in Bb and coordinated the New Voices play development series, directing presentations of Deborah Pryor’s Burrhead and Wetter Than Water, Howard Brenton’s Sore Throats and Franz Xaver Kroetz’s The Nest and Neither Fish Nor Fowl.
He appeared in productions at Olympia Dukakis’ Whole Theatre Co. in Montclair, NJ, and traveled the country’s regional theatres: Savages at the Seattle Rep; A View from the Bridge, Othello and Sweeney Todd at the Hangar Theatre; Italian American Reconciliation at DC’s Round House Theater; The Sweet Life at Yale Rep; Antony and Cleopatra at Berkeley Rep; Three Sisters at Shakespeare Theatre of NJ; Last Of The Boys at the McCarter Theatre; and Hamlet at the Long Wharf.
He worked Off-Broadway with top directors Arthur Penn in Major Crimes; Mark Wing-Davey in Mad Forest at New York Theatre Workshop; Scott Ellis in Dark Rapture; and Mark Brokaw in Gemini, both at Second Stage and with John Patrick Shanley, who wrote and directed him in Cellini at the Civita Festival in Umbria, Italy.
As a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, he appeared in new plays by John Guare and Joyce Carol Oates; in Lusting After Pipino’s Wife at Primary Stages; Up Against the Wind at New York Theatre Workshop; The Root at The Atlantic; Dream of a Common Language with The Women’s Project; and My Night with Reg at The New Group.
On Broadway: Herb Gardner’s Conversations with My Father, directed by Daniel Sullivan; The Boys from Syracuse at the Roundabout; the First National Tour of Jersey Boys; and the 2005 Tony Award-winning The Light in the Piazza and Oslo, 2017 Tony Award winner for Best New Play, both at Lincoln Center Theater.
On television, he starred as Johnny-Boy Soprano on The Sopranos, In Treatment, Dirty Sexy Money, Hack, Third Watch, Law & Order and as Fred Goldman in FX’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner, The People vs. OJ Simpson. He has also appeared in the films Carlito’s Way, Maid in Manhattan, The Wannabe, Enchanted, Shark Tale, The Wild, A Day in Black and White, Night Falls on Manhattan, Wise Girls, Walking and Talking and Thirteen Conversations About One Thing.
Siravo was lead producer of the feature film Things That Hang from Trees, which received its world premiere at SXSW, its NYC premiere at the New Directors/New Films Festival and its European premiere at the Troia International Film Festival, where it was honored with the Golden Dolphin Award for Best American Independent Feature.
Siravo thanks his family for their tireless support and especially his daughter and muse, Allegra, for her inspiration.