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John DeSotelle, Artistic Director

Deborah DeSotelle, Managing Director


Nuance Theatre, founded by Artistic Director John DeSotelle, has been in operation since 2013. Nuance refines the ideas and ideals of its predecessor, the Fitzwater Theatre Company, which created theatre of lasting resonance in California and upstate New York.


Nuance prides itself on its innovative approach to staging; creating a world in which the life of the play, in all its subtlety and truth, can emerge. We strive to spark new insight into well-loved works through a deep exploration of the text ( and context), and occasion audiences to see with new eyes. 

The name nuance speaks of the fine-tuned work of devoted actors, the subtlety of masterful pieces, and the utmost care with which we pursue our craft.

Our Work:

Our 2014 production of Clifford Odets’ Awake And Sing was staged in a complete, consummately reconstructed tenement apartment, which the actors inhabited without escape, only leaving the stage when exiting the apartment itself. In the course of the play, entire meals were served, authentic records were played (and broken), and bold audience members venturing to open a drawer or cabinet, found the personal effects and belongings necessary to the characters’ daily lives. The audience, nearly surrounding the stage on all sides, sat at the very walls of the apartment, viewing the play through skeletal beams as though peering into an unobserved reality.

More recently still, Nu•ance created a seemingly simple two-piece set, for its production of Condemned; an evening of Tennessee Williams one-acts (May-June 2015). What began as the subtly painted sky and section of railroad track in ‘This Property Is Condemned’, was transformed with poetic simplicity before the audience’s eyes into the creaking floorboards and bleak warehouse window in Talk To Me Like The Rain And Let Me Listen. Later, a secret element concealed above the actors’ heads made audiences gasp in wonder and surprise, as the pounding rain of a real summer storm began to beat down upon the stage, wetting the actors’ faces and hands. True to nature, the rain ebbed and flowed alongside the characters’ bouts of silence and torrents of speech, creating a breathtaking atmosphere so prescient to the piece that it might have been said to become a character itself.


Nuance Theatre is closely associated with the John DeSotelle Acting Studio, and tends heavily towards a Meisner-based process (living truthfully through imagined circumstances). Several students of the program have gone on to become Nuance Theatre company members, debuting in Nuance productions, to great acclaim. Nuance believes strongly in developing the work and careers of emerging artists, and will always favor a promising early-career actor, director, stage manager, designer, or producer who shares our love of making theatre. 


Nuance is wholeheartedly devoted to collaboration, and creating a community of actors within what is, too often, a solitary occupation. To this end, we hold a weekly actors’ cold-reading group, hosted at our 43d street location, casting and reading a play of our choosing for practice and enjoyment. Our door is always open, and we are known for forging new artistic friendships and connecting artists from all corners of the field. 

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