Melissa Caolo


Melissa Caolo has enjoyed a career managing in several capacities in the performing arts. Her roots as a stage manager and production manager, and arts administrator led to opportunities as an educator. Her work in stage and production management includes positions at major American dance companies, touring extensively in the United States and throughout the world; most notably, New York City Ballet, Trisha Brown Dance Company, and the Martha Graham Dance Company among others.

Currently she is the Production Director of the National Dance Institute (NDI) in New York City. Here she oversees all administrative and technical aspects of the production needs of the organization’s programs and performances. This ranges from showcases in all 50 of the New York City schools served by NDI, performances at its facility in Harlem and at the professional venues where NDI dancers perform in New York City and beyond.

From 2012 – 2021 Melissa was Managing Director at Camp Broadway LLC where she developed new programs, training processes for artists, and expanded the company’s national footprint. Here she facilitated the development of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, and the Roger Rees Awards, leading the Production and General Management services provided to the programs by Camp Broadway.

Prior to her work at Camp Broadway, she served as Production Manager for Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment (NWE) overseeing booking and presentation of Broadway shows in China. Here she also led the development of the inaugural session of the Cultural Trade and Industry Exchange Program, a training session for Chinese arts managers and cultural government officials in the best practices of commercial theater in The United States.

Through her work building professional development and training programs at various companies, Melissa developed an interested in teaching. This led to several opportunities including the role of Program Coordinator for the Commercial Theater Development graduate certificate program in the Arts Administration Department at Boston University’s Metropolitan College. She contributed to the curriculum design and launch of the program. While no longer the Program Coordinator, she continues as Part Time Lecturer for the course Creative Strategies for Performing Arts Businesses and co-instructor for Global Presenting and Producing. Other education credits include, Adjunct Lecturer at Baruch College, and Fairleigh Dickenson University, and Industry Coordinator/Adjunct Lecturer at The New York Institute of Technology, and Technical Director at Sarah Lawrence College.

Melissa was the recipient of a Chadwick Fellowship in 2022 using this opportunity to learn case writing and teaching methods. As a result of the fellowship, she has completed two cases, which have been used in courses and lectures at Boston University, Baruch College, and University of North Carolina. She continues to write and develop cases featuring the business of art making for use in academic programs. Currently there are very few cases about commercial producing and creation, making these cases the first collection of their kind.

Whether building training programs for artists, or formal instruction in colleges and universities, education in the production and operational aspects of the arts has become a passion. This work has been recognized with several awards and honors including the President’s Citation for Special Contribution to the Dance Department at Sarah Lawrence College. Under her leadership Camp Broadway was awarded a special Drama Desk Award, and she was on the Emmy Award winning team of the 2020 Roger Rees Awards.

She is a proud alumnus of Emerson College, Boston, MA graduating with a BFA in Production Management. She continued her education with internships at Boston Ballet, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, North Shore Music Theater and a Production Management Fellowship at Lincoln Center Institute.