Nicky Paraiso is an actor, musician, writer, performance artist and curator. He has been Director of Programming for The Club at La MaMa since 2001, and is responsible for its surge of theater, performance, dance and cabaret programming. He is also Curator for the annual La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, celebrating its eleventh season in May 2016. Nicky is a graduate of Oberlin College/Conservatory and holds an M.F.A. from New York University's Graduate Acting Program. He has been a prolific actor at La MaMa, and in New York downtown theater and performance, since 1979. He has worked as an actor and musical director with playwright/actor/director Jeff Weiss and his partner Carlos Ricardo Martinez since 1979. He has also been a member of Meredith Monk/The House and Vocal Ensemble (1981-1990), touring extensively throughout the US, Europe and Japan, and he has performed with, and been a member of, Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks since 1988. Paraiso has also enjoyed working as a performer with artists/creators as diverse as Anne Bogart, Laurie Carlos, Richard Elovich, Dan Froot, Jessica Hagedorn, Fred Holland, Dan Hurlin, John Jesurun, Jeffrey M. Jones, Robbie McCauley, Susan Mosakowski, Ralph Pena, Mary Shultz, Theodora Skipitares, and many others. Nicky is also a critically-acclaimed solo performance artist, whose one-man shows Asian Boys, Houses and Jewels, and House/Boy have been presented at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, Dixon Place, Performance Space 122, Dance Theater Workshop, and on tour in the US, Europe and Asia. House/Boy was presented at the Dublin Theatre Festival in October 2007, and subsequently at the Initiation International Festival 2007 in Singapore. Paraiso's awards include a 1987 New York Dance & Performance "Bessie" Award, a 2004 Spencer Cherashore Fund grant for mid-career actors, and a 2005 New York Innovative Theater Award for his performance in Theodora Skipitares' Iphigenia.
Nicky has served on various theater, dance and music panels, including the Village Voice OBIE Judges Panel in season 2013-2014, as well as being a long-standing member of the New York Dance and Performance Awards "Bessies" Selection Committee since 2006. He is serving on the "Bessies" Steering Committee for the current season 2015-2016. Nicky is a recipient of the 2012 BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) Arts & Artists in Progress Arts Management Award. His writing appears in the anthology Love, Christopher Street: Reflections of New York City (Vantage Point, 2012), edited by Thomas Keith. Paraiso will present a new dance-theater work, now my hand is ready for my heart, to premiere at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre in Fall 2017.