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John Stoltenberg and Michael Poandl
Among the hats John Stoltenberg wears are novelist and author, creative director and communications strategist, and avid theatergoer. Decades ago, in college, he began writing, producing, directing, and acting in plays. He continued through grad school—earning an M.F.A. in theater arts from Columbia University School of the Arts—then lucked into a job as writer-in-residence and administrative director with the influential experimental theater company The Open Theatre, whose legendary artistic director was Joseph Chaikin. Meanwhile Stoltenberg’s own plays were produced off-off-Broadway, and he won a New York State Arts Council grant to write plays. Then his life changed course: He turned to writing nonfiction and what became a distinguished career as a magazine editor. But he kept going to the theater, the art form that for him has always been the most transcendent and transporting and best illuminates the acts and ethics that connect us. He tweets at @JohnStoltenberg. Since graduating American University in 2013, Michael Poandl has pursued opportunities that combine his twin passions of politics and the arts. In the pursuit of advocating for the arts on the level of public policy, he currently serves as the Fundraising Associate for the Americans for the Arts Action Fund, the only organization dedicated exclusively to electing pro-arts candidates on the national level. Having studied Theatre and Art History in college, he remains an active theatre artist, and is proud to frequently contribute to DCMetroTheaterArts.com as a critic and interviewer.