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Melissa Zeph - Executive Producer

Melissa has been with JTP since 2006.  She holds a BA in Business from the University of South Florida and has been working in non-profit management, marketing, public relations and design since her career began. Melissa has worked with The American Red Cross Clearwater, Florida Chapter, The National Drowning Prevention Coalition, Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park, the Clayton Center, and the Town of Cary Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department. In addition to her work with JTP, Melissa enjoys volunteering and mentoring up-and-coming arts managers.

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Jerry Sipp - Producing Artistic Director

North Carolina director, actor and educator Jerry Sipp has been appointed as The Justice Theater Project’s (JTP) Artistic Director. Sipp will be the company’s second artistic director.

A veteran professional theatre artist, Sipp has served as Producing Artistic Director for Temple Theatre in Sanford, The Playhouse Theatre in Rocky Mount and Granville Little Theatre in Oxford.  Sipp is the co-founder of Trio Productions, a professional touring educational theatre with an 18 year touring history across the U.S. and Scotland. He has directed well over 100 productions and performed in over 1oo shows.  Sipp is a member of Actor's Equity Association, the union of professional stage actors in the U.S.  He served for three years as a member of the Board of Directors of the NC Theatre Conference.  Sipp has also seen 12 of his original scripts produced and has won several awards for his playwriting.

For JTP, he has directed the musicals “Ragtime” and “Grey Gardens,” played the lead role of Mitch Albom in “Tuesdays with Morrie” and has worked with JTP as their 2017-2018  season-long producer of “A Soldier’s Play” (October, 2017), “Black Nativity” (December, 2017),  and “Bent” (February 2018) to critical acclaim. He directed JTP’s June 2018 musical “Oliver!” and performed the role of Fagin.


Marguerite LeBlanc - Financial Manager

Marguerite is an avid JTP supporter, a former Board of Directors Executive Committee member, and former Chairperson of the Development Committee. 

Melissa Reilly (Theater Administrator)

Melissa R graduated from Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA with a BA in Human Resources and Psychology.  She has lived in Raleigh, NC for 25 years with her husband and two children, ages 20 and 22.  Melissa has worked with JTP for the past 4 years assisting the Artistic Director and Managing Director doing administrative work for all productions and camps.  Some of her responsibilities include issuing contracts and collecting actor bios, ticket sales, and camp registration and payment.  Melissa’s contributions to JTP continue to grow over time and she has proven to be a valuable staff member insuring things function smoothly behind the scenes for JTP.

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Jackson Cooper (Chairman, Artistic Committee)

Jackson produced artistic programming for the North Carolina Museum of Art, was the Executive Director Chamber Music Raleigh; and credits include - Music Correspondent, Author, Conductor, Actor, Playwright. Assistant Music Director, Durham Savoyards. UNCG theater criticism and conducting. Musical theatre conducting Greensboro Light Opera and Song.  Previous positions:  NC Theatre, TheatreSpark, Resident Music Theatre Consultant and Board PARK Productions, Pittsburgh; Assistant to the Artistic Director, Playmakers. Current: Grant panelist, United Arts Council; Triangle ArtWorks Emerging Arts Leaders; Board Member, Raleigh Business and Professional Network; Raleigh's LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Member, City Club Raleigh and Club Corp.

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Jorie Slodki (Education and Outreach Coordinator)

Jorie has been serving as the chair of JTP's Education & Action Committee for the last two years.   Her favorite experiences have been working with students at East Millbrook Middle School on their service learning projects and teaching creative drama at the JTP summer camp.  When Jorie is not working on JTP education events, she can be found in the community working as the Grants Manager for the Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary.  She is also a member of the Flying Embers, a professional improv troupe in Raleigh, and has worked behind the scenes for shows with Bare Theatre and the Women's Theatre Festival.

Jorie has an MA in Theatre Research from the University of Wisconsin and a BA in Theatre/Anthropology from Indiana University.  She also has a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Iowa.  Her previous positions include Director of Education for Burning Coal Theatre and Jewish Student Life Coordinator at the University of Iowa Hillel.

Sara Thompson - Dramaturg

Sara has a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Maryland, where she wrote her dissertation on alternative Shakespeare companies and methods of attracting the neo-bohemian audience demographic. Sara has an MA in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, and BAs in Theatre, English, and History from UNC-Greensboro. A cultural historian, her research interests extend beyond theatre history and Shakespeare to the production of cultural capital, audience and reception studies, and interpersonal and intercultural communication. As a dramaturg, she has worked for the Georgia Shakespeare Festival in Atlanta and Triad Stage in Greensboro, as well as dramaturging in the Washington, DC area on productions of The Matchmaker, Moliere, Impromptu, and Troilus and Cressida. In Raleigh, Sara has dramaturged for Raleigh Little Theatre and the Women's Theatre Festival, and will be the dramaturg for Burning Coal Theatre Company's production of The Great Celestial Cow next spring. She spends her daytime hours as the Communications and Program Development Manager for Habitat for Humanity of North Carolina. 

Juan Isler - Resident Sound Designer

Juan is a music business graduate of Winston-Salem State University. He has experience on and behind the stage. His acting ability was seen in The Wiz (Burning Coal) Porgy and Bess (JTP) Memphis (RLT) and Ain't Misbehavin' (NRACT). His sound design was heard in Bent (JTP) King Charles III (Burning Coal) Blood Done Sign My Name (RLT) and Ain't Misbehavin' (NRACT).

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Slee Arnold - Marketing and Communications


Art Inspiring Change

Since 2004, The Justice Theater Project has produced professional shows combined with discussion, outreach and advocacy.

We receive State Arts Resources support from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the N.C Department of Cultural Resources and supports exemplary arts organizations that set standards of excellence for the state that produce high quality arts programs, provide educational and outreach opportunities for children and adults, and have strong leadership and management.

Operating support each year is provided by the City of Raleigh based on recommendation of the Raleigh Arts Commission.

Project support is provided by The United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.

Each summer we provide youth summer theater camps in Raleigh at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on Leesville Road,  and Durham at the Emily K Center. All camps provide an extraordinary amount of scholarships for the students, and a fair wage for the professional and support staff. In June we offer a week of Master Classes for Teens.

We encourage you to become a season member, volunteer to build a set, join a committee, audition for a show, and become a part of the JTP family.

Internships for college students are available each semester.

JTP is the only theater company in the Triangle that produces a year-long exploration of a single, social justice theme.

JTP believes that the arts create jobs and provides financial remuneration for all professional artistic participants.

JTP creates diverse programming on the stage and behind the scenes.

Our Advocate Spotlight program established in 2016 provides a public platform for 35 nonprofits each season.

During the 2019-2020 season of shows leading into a presidential election, JTP will address the issue of communication, or lack thereof, in our country. “From Monologue to Dialogue: Open Communication Opening Minds” consists of five main stage productions, one annual holiday show, and two youth summer theater camps.

Since 2004, JTP has engaged over 69,000 audience members, and actively and continuously engages and attracts a diverse racial and cultural composition of actors, board and committee members, and volunteers.



Board Members

Jim Falanga - Chairperson

Marcia Mattox- Vice Chairperson

Regina Brooks-  Treasurer

Ann Bozek - Secretary

Theresa Baumgartner

Dr. Kaye Evans

Obelia Exum

Sean Gargan

Bonny Moellenbrock

Elizabeth Thomsen

Stephanie Ziegler

The Mission of JTP:

The mission of The Justice Theater Project is to produce compelling theater experiences that create community dialogue and give voice to social concerns.

The Vision of JTP:

The vision of The Justice Theater project is to connect, inspire and impact our community through engaging performing arts outreach, education and advocacy.

Core Values of JTP:

•    Diversity, inclusion and equity

•    Dignity, humility and respect

•    Mindfulness of mission

•    Artistic excellence and integrity of process

•    Community engagement and collaboration