» John B. Benitz
Associate Professor

College of Performing Arts
Department of Theatre
John B. Benitz
Acting for the Camera
Office Location:
Moulton Hall 209
Phone:
714-744-7055
Email:
Education
Sarah Lawrence College, Bachelor of Fine Arts
Brandeis University, Master of Fine Arts in Acting
Video Profile
Biography

John has directed theatre in Boston, Off-Off-Broadway and in some of L.A.’s premiere theaters.  He directed the West Coast premieres of Borderlands, an original play about Bosnia, which was a Best Pick in the LA Weekly, and the Off-Broadway play Fortune’s Fools at the McCadden Theater in Hollywood, also an LA Weekly Best Pick and for which he won a Dramalogue Award.  He also directed What I Heard About Iraq by Simon Levy, which performed on college campuses, in theaters and performing arts centers in New York, California, Washington State, Montreal and at the famous LaMama Theatre in Manhattan.

John has performed Off-Broadway at Ubu Rep, the Odyssey and Fountain Theaters in L.A., Shakespeare Orange County and regionally at the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago, to name a few. He has been seen on film and television nationally. Most recently, he played the lead role in a new Discovery Channel series titled Proof of Life, as part of the Kidnap and Rescue series, which aired in April. He is a member of both SAG and Actors' Equity.

John wrote and directed the award-winning film Children of the Struggle, which was shown in film festivals across the country, featured on PBS, and seen in high schools and colleges nationwide. It was also recognized by the NAACP Film Commission for its true and poignant portrayal of the fight for black voting rights.

John received his BFA from Sarah Lawrence College and his MFA in Acting from Brandeis University. He is certified to teach the Chubbuck Technique of Acting, an acting technique used by award-winning actors Brad Pitt, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, and Jim Carrey, among many others.

Most recently John directed the world premiere of If All the Sky Were Paper by bestselling author Andrew Carroll at Chapman University. This production was subsequently invited to perform at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in February as part of the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival as a representation of excellence in college theatre.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications
Was project coordinator for an NEA Grant application that was awarded $20,000 to create a series of staged readings of Andrew Carroll's, If All the Sky Were Paper. John will direct the production in numerous cities around the country, as well as The Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles. 2013-2014
Project director for grant application that was Awarded $10,000 for California War Letters Preservation Project. Expanding on earlier efforts to preserve and share American war letters, director John Benitz and historian Andrew Carroll will collaborate on a new project focusing specifically on California veterans. Performances will provide both a way to share already collected stories and encourage new community contributions.
Completed post-production on the only film about high profile acting coach to the stars, Ivana Chubbuck. The film entitled, The Power of the Actor will be ready for distribution through Amazon and educational markets this summer. Chubbuck is known for working with Brad Pitt, Jim Carrey, James Franco, Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Jake Gyllenhaal, among numerous other Oscar nominated and Oscar winning actors. 2013
Director of performance of "If All the Sky Were Paper" by Andrew Carroll at Seattle Repertory Theatre. This one night engagement was a sold out, standing room only performance with professional actors from the Seattle area. The performance was covered by the local NPR affiliate in an interview with the author, as well as a front page article in the Seattle Times.
Director of performance of "If All the Sky Were Paper" at the Mt. Baker Theatre in Bellingham, WA. This one night engagement was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and featured local professional actors.
ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education) Conference, Washington DC. August, 2012. Chair of panel on the future of multi-media training and integration into traditional theatre performance training.
Saddleback College, Distinguished Guest Lecture Series. Presented 1.5 hour lecture to approximately 150 members on the actor’s process entitled, “On the Day: An Actor’s Revelation”. May 11, 2012.
Presenter/Lecturer: “The Chubbuck Technique: Creating a Winning Screen Performance” at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, Los Angeles. 2011.
Interviewed with Andrew Carroll on Dialogue with Doti and Dodge, SoCal PBS station on the creation and production of “If All the Sky Were Paper”. 2011
Lead Actor in a television episode titled "Proof of Life" within the Kidnap and Rescue series that was seen nationally on The Discovery Channel. Aired March 2011.
Director of If All the Sky Were Paper by Andrew Carroll at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. Chosen as a national finalist participant of the Kennedy Center American Theatre Festival. 2011.
ATHE Conference, Los Angeles. 2010. Chair of panel on the future of “traditional” theatre programs in a multi-media marketplace.
UFVA (University Film and Video Association) Conference, Burlington, VT. 2010. Panelist on subject of film and theatre program collaborations.
Presenter/Lecturer: “The Chubbuck Technique: Creating a Winning Screen Performance” at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, St. George, Utah. 2010.
Director of World Premiere performance of, "If All the Sky Were Paper" by Andrew Carroll in the Waltmar Theatre, Chapman University. November 2010.
Director of Bus Stop, by William Inge. Waltmar Theatre, Chapman University. 2010
Director of Turkey Day, by Matt Olsen. ATHE (American Theatre in Higher Education) Conference, Los Angeles. 10 Minute play performance.
Voice Over Artist for Global Hybrid II Gallery Installation, Long Beach, CA for artist Richard Turner.
Director of If All the Sky Were Paper, by Andrew Carroll. Staged reading of a new play, Odyssey Theatre, Los Angeles. 2009
What I Heard About Iraq, by Simon Levy. Guest Artist, Director. Western Washington University. 2007
What I Heard About Iraq, by Simon Levy. Guest Artist, Director. Idiom Theatre, Bellingham, Washington. 2007
Interviewed on two occasions on WAMC Northeast Public Radio (22 stations covering 7 States), for direction of the play, What I Heard About Iraq. 2006
Interviewed on the Canadian Broadcasting Company(CBC), on topic of my direction of Simon Levy's play, What I Heard About Iraq in Montreal. 2006.