Texas Tech University

Dean Nolen, M.F.A.

Associate Professor | Head of Acting/Directing
Theatre and Dance

Email: dean.nolen@ttu.edu

Phone: 806-834-6656

Office: Maedgen Theatre 248

Ronald Dean Nolen, Assistant Professor of Acting, received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from the School of Drama, Yale University where he was honored as a Constance Welch Scholar, and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and Music from Hardin-Simmons University. An award-winning actor, Mr. Nolen has originated roles in over a dozen new plays and musicals from Broadway, where he co-starred as Harry Bright in the original Broadway cast of the smash hit Mamma Mia! to off-Broadway where, in summer 2019 he created the role of Ken in Rob Ackerman's Dropping Gumballs on Luke Wilson (directed by award-winning playwright Theresa Rebeck) as well as others including the roles of Terence in Theresa Rebeck and Alexandra Gersten-Vasillaros' critically-acclaimed Pulitzer-Prize finalist Omnium Gatherum, as well as the role of Jeffrey in Rob Ackerman's Tabletop, for which he received a 2001 Drama Desk Award. Other New York credits include performances at Manhattan Theatre Club, The Working Theatre, VOICETheatre (company member), and Naked Angels Theatre Company as well as some of our nation's most prominent regional theatres including Yale Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geva Theatre, The Wilma Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Lyric Stage, Shakespeare Theatre, D.C., Virginia Stage Company, TheaterWorks, New Stage Theatre, among others.

Internationally, Mr. Nolen traveled in 1999 to St. Petersburg, Russia where he joined in a collaboration between graduate students from Yale School of Drama and the St. Petersburg Academy of Theatre Arts, led by David Chambers and Nikolai Pesochinsky, respectively, in a reconstruction of Meyerhold's 1926 (then highly controversial) production of Gogol's Revizor (The Inspector General), which was ultimately performed at the International Theatre Festival in Amsterdam, Holland. On television, Mr. Nolen guest-starred as Dan Enright opposite Sam Waterston on “Law & Order;” as Philip Montrose opposite Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni on “Law & Order: SVU;” and as Nigel Hammaker opposite Taylor Schilling and Margo Martindale on “Mercy.” Other television appearances include “Fling” (Pilot) with Amy Sedaris and the late Sidney Pollack, “Crossing Jordan,” “Criminal Intent,” “All My Children” as well as a performance as Harry Bright on the 2001 Tony Awards in the original cast of Mamma Mia!

As a director, Nolen's work includes the World Premieres of Division Avenue at the June Havoc Theatre in New York City (which earned 9 Midtown International Theatre Festival Awards including Outstanding Direction and Production) and the play's subsequent production for Contemporary Theatre of Dallas in November of 2013, and Shauna Kanter's Birds on a Wire in both the U.S. as well as the 2012 International Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland. Other productions include Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd, Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (Or What You Will), Wilder's Our Town, Horton Foote's The Roads to Home, Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart's Hello, Dolly! For TTU's School of Theatre and Dance, Nolen has received two KC/ACTF Meritorious Achievement Awards for his direction of Kander and Ebb's Cabaret and Danai Gurira's Eclipsed, in addition to the School's site-specific production of Amanda Green and Doug Wright's Hands on a Hardbody.

In March 2013, Nolen collaborated with Country Music star Larry Gatlin and co-wrote, with Gatlin, the book for his original musical Texas Flyer. Nolen is also developing “Godley”, a pilot for series television as well as a new play - The Maladjusted Oyster by Louis Irwin - based on the lives of artists Clint Hamilton, Andy Warhol, and Nathan Gluck.

Prior to teaching at Texas Tech, Mr. Nolen was Artistic Director and Assistant Professor of Theatre at Hardin-Simmons University. Prior to that, he taught Acting at Eastern Connecticut State University and conducted master classes at Wilkes University and Old Dominion University as well as teaching privately while maintaining a professional career as an actor. He has trained under the late master teacher Earle Gister, Evan Yionoulis, Wesley Fata, Walton Wilson, Barbara Somerville, David Chambers, Jessica Wolf, Mary Lyn Henry, Dr. Patricia McAdams, Dr. Jaynne Middleton and Larry Wheeler. An accomplished researcher/writer, he will soon begin work on the 8th Edition of The Film Encyclopedia, published by HarperCollins.

Professor Nolen served as Producer on the documentary film “None Less Than Heroes: The Honor Flight Story,” which chronicles the journey of World War II veterans traveling free of charge to Washington, D.C., to experience the memorial built in their honor. The film, narrated by Oscar-nominee Gary Sinise, made the rounds on the festival circuit after being completed in summer 2011.

A member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG/AFTRA), Theatre Communications Group, Texas Educational Theatre Association, Musical Theatre Educators' Alliance, Tau Alpha Phi and Alpha Psi Omega, he is also one of three recipients of Hardin-Simmons University's 2006 Outstanding Young Alumni Award. In February 2019, Nolen led as Artistic Director the launch of Lubbock's first Equity theatre, Outpost Repertory Theatre in residence at LHUCA.

Dean Nolen

Degrees Held:

Master of Fine Arts, Acting, Yale University
Bachelor of Arts, Theatre and Music, Hardin-Simmons University

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Drama Desk Award – Outstanding Ensemble, Tabletop (2001)
  • MITF Award – Outstanding Direction, Division Avenue (2013)
  • MITF Award – Outstanding Production of a Play, Division Avenue (2013)
  • Critics' Forum Award – Outstanding Lead Actor for The Winner at Lyric Stage (2007)
  • Critics' Forum Award – Outstanding Supporting Actor for The Philanthropist at The Open Stage (1991)
  • Outstanding Young Alumni Award, Hardin-Simmons University 2006
  • Constance Welch Scholar, School of Drama, Yale University 1999-2000
  • Irene Ryan Acting Nomination KC/ACTF 1988
  • Irene Ryan Acting Nomination KC/ACTF 1985


Nolen, Ronald Dean, ed. The Film Encyclopedia 7th Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 2011
Nolen, Ronald Dean, ed. The Film Encyclopedia 6th Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 2008
Klein, Fred and Nolen, Ronald Dean, eds. The Film Encyclopedia 5th Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 2005
Klein, Fred and Nolen, Ronald Dean, eds. The Film Encyclopedia 4th Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 2001
Klein, Fred and Nolen, Ronald Dean, eds. The Film Encyclopedia 3rd Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 1998