Texas Tech University

Dean Nolen, M.F.A.

Associate Professor | Acting
Theatre & Dance

Email: dean.nolen@ttu.edu

Phone: 806-834-6656

Office: Maedgen Theatre 248

Ronald Dean Nolen (Associate Professor of Acting, School of Theatre & Dance at Texas Tech University) received his Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Yale University (Constance Welch Scholar) and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and Music from Hardin-Simmons University. An award-winning actor, 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 Mamma Mia! to off-Broadway, creating the role 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. In 2018, Nolen rejoined playwrights Rob Ackerman and Theresa Rebeck, who directed the latter's new play Dropping Gumballs on Luke Wilson, for its sold-out premiere and off-Broadway run. Other New York credits include Manhattan Theatre Club, The Working Theatre, VOICETheatre, and Naked Angels Theatre Company as well as major regional theatres including Yale Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geva Theatre, The Wilma Theater, Dallas Theater Center, The Alley Theatre, Lyric Stage, Virginia Stage Company, TheaterWorks, and New Stage Theatre, among others. Guest-starring roles in television series include Philip Montrose on “Law and Order: SVU,” Nigel Hammaker on “Mercy,” Dan Enright on “Law and Order,” among others.  An accomplished director and writer, Nolen helmed the world premiere of Miki Bone's Division Avenue for the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City (MITF Award for Outstanding Direction and Production) and a subsequent production for Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, as well as the U.S. and International premieres of Shauna Kanter's Birds On a Wire for the International Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland. As a writer, he collaborated on the book for the Larry Gatlin musical TEXAS FLYER (also director) and served as editor of The Film Encyclopedia, by Ephraim Katz, published by HarperCollins. He co-produced the documentary “None Less than Heroes,” a film about the Honor Flight program which brings World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit memorials built in their honor. Nolen is a member of Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild (SAG/AFTRA), Texas Educational Theatre Association, Musical Theatre Educators Alliance, Theatre Communications Group, Tau Alpha Phi, and Alpha Psi Omega – National Honorary Dramatic Fraternity.

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