JV Mercanti was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. He is a director, teacher, and casting director.
JV received his BA from NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Studies, concentrating on Educational Theater and English Literature. During this time he also took numerous acting and directing classes, learning the basic techniques of stage craft while performing in shows at night. In the first semester of his Senior year, JV was hired as an intern in the Casting Office at Roundabout Theatre Company in NYC. Before graduation JV was a full-time assistant to Jim Carnahan. In that first summer and fall projects included the Tony Award winning revivals of 1776, Michael Mayer's A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, and Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall's CABARET, among many others.
After a year or so in Casting JV began working as an Assistant Director. With Nicholas Martin he worked on George Bernard Shaw's YOU NEVER CAN TELL (Roundabout) and BOSOMS AND NEGLECT (Signature). JV assisted Rob Marshall on LITTLE ME (Roundabout) starring Martin Short and Faith Prince. He then spent a year as the Resident Director on the first national tour of Roundabout's CABARET rehearsing and putting-in the Sally Bowles' of Joely Fisher and Lea Thompson.
JV left the tour after a year to pursue his MFA in Directing at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts. Under the tutelage of professors such as Amy Saltz, Barbara Marchant, Debra Hedwall, and Michael Miller, JV studied the Meisner technique and all aspects of acting, directing, and stage craft. He completed his course work in 2003, completing his thesis and graduating in January of 2007.
Graduate school summers were spent as a Casting Associate on productions such as Roundabout's FOLLIES (starring Blythe Danner, Judith Ivey, and Polly Bergen) and the West End to Broadway transfer of NOISES OFF (starring Tony winner Katie Finneran). Upon finishing class work at Rutgers JV served as the assistant director on the West End to Broadway transfer of A DAY IN THE DEATH OF JOE EGG (starring Eddie Izzard).
JV began a fruitful collaboration with the Texas-based theater company Amphibian Productions (Kathleen Anderson Culebro, Artistic Director) where he directed the US premier of THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE TRAGIC LIFE AND TRIUMPHANT DEATH OF JULIA PASTRANA, THE UGLIEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD -- an environmental show taking place almost entirely in the dark with the actors moving through and around the audience -- which saw an extended run at NYC's Greenwich Theater. For Amphibian he also directed MATT & BEN, ICARUS, and DARK PLAY OR STORIES FOR BOYS, as well as numerous readings.
JV began work as a Producing Associate for Nederlander Producing Company of America, working on the revivals of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (also Casting Associate) and LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (Tony Award winning revival). He also saw the development of many new plays and musicals. It was during this time that he developed a working relationship with David Leveaux leading to work as the Casting Director and Producing Associate on the Broadway revival of CYRANO de BERGERAC starring Kevin Kline, Jennifer Garner, and Daniel Sunjata.
JV spent a brief moment as an Acting Coach for the short-lived CW series TBL: The Beautiful Life before returning to his theatrical roots as the Associate Director of Martin McDonagh's new play A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE starring Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell, directed by John Crowley.
At this time JV began his professional teaching career as an adjunct at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus, teaching absurdism to sophomores. Texts for this class included Beckett's ENDGAME, Suzan Lori Park's THE AMERICA PLAY, and Caryl Churchill's HEART'S DESIRE, among others. Basing his teachings in a text based analysis of the play, students were able to grasp the idea of creating reality and honest, human behavior in an absurd world.
JV then spent two years at the University of Miami in Florida as a Visiting Assistant Professor and Lecturer. Classes included Introduction to Meisner for freshmen, Acting 20th Century European Drama for Seniors, Directing 1 and 2 for juniors and seniors, and Auditioning, among others. While at UM he also produced and directed the BFA Senior Showcase in NYC and LA, gathering many industry professionals to attend. JV was also able to bring many of these professionals to the university for workshops and seminars, including Jim Carnahan who cast two graduating seniors in the non-equity, world tour of Green Day's AMERICAN IDIOT directed by Michael Mayer.
JV left the University of Miami to work on the Broadway production of ROMEO & JULIET. JV had been deeply involved in the development of this production for some three years before finally securing the international film star Orlando Bloom to play the title role of Romeo. With the casting of rising theater star Condola Rashad as Juliet the rest of the cast quickly fell into place. JV served as both the Casting Director and Associate Director on this production.
JV's first book, IN PERFORMANCE: Contemporary Monologues Late Teens - 20s, was published by APPLAUSE in October 2013. Including a lengthy introduction on choosing and rehearsing a proper monologue, each piece is accompanied by a play synopsis, a character description and a list of questions the actor should ask him/herself while rehearsing. IN PERFORMANCE: late 20s - 30s was released in November 2014. Two more editions are currently in process: Teens and 40s.
Currently JV is the Head of Acting for the Musical Theater Program at PACE University in NYC. Most recently he has taken over the position as Artistic Director for Apothecary Theatre Company based out of Brooklyn, NY.