Montclair’s Vanguard Theater Company Announces New Managing Director

Jessica Sporn and Janeece Freeman Clark Managing Director Jessica Sporn [left] and Janeece Freeman Clark, co-founder and Artistic Director of Vanguard Theater Company

From Vanguard Theater Company:

Vanguard Theater Company is excited to announce and welcome Jessica Sporn as the company’s new Managing Director. Ms. Sporn began her role as Managing Director on October 1, 2017.

The Board of Directors of Vanguard is excited to have Sporn accept this position and are confident she will successfully help Vanguard in its artistic mission: DREAM: Diversity, Reciprocity, Education, Awareness and Mentorship. “Jessica brings a combination of leadership, talent, energy, and vision to Vanguard,” said Janeece Freeman Clark – co-founder and Artistic Director of Vanguard. “I look forward to working with her to continue our tradition of excellence and diversity, and take the company to new heights and as we expand our ability to bring the transformative magic of the performing arts to different communities from all around the Montclair/SOMA area.”

Sporn comes to Vanguard after 20 years with Gas Lamp Players, which she incorporated as a not for profit in 2007 and helped grow to a robust, year-round performing arts company in residence in the Glen Ridge School District. In her years with Gas Lamp Players, she developed a strong reputation as an arts leader, creating a legacy of excellence and community involvement through producing musicals, developing educational and scholarship programs, and contributing to enhancements of the Glen Ridge performing arts facilities. Sporn is also an accomplished visual artist, who offers classes online and in her studio, and creates stencils, stamps and Judaica products, among other pieces. Originally an actress, she switched to law after becoming involved in politics. Then, after her first daughter was born, she turned her love of art into a career. Recently, she designed the artwork for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s campaign to assist Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, and previously designed artwork for Miranda after the Orlando shooting in June 2016.

Sporn said this about her new position as Managing Director: “I was forever changed by the student body at New York’s High School of Performing Arts, which I attended as a teenager. Meeting, working and growing with people from every culture, class, and color, enriched and transformed my life. I admire Vanguard’s mission of bringing together professional and aspiring performers from diverse communities and look forward to helping it grow and succeed in every way possible.” Sporn is especially excited to work alongside Freeman Clark, who brings decades of professional performance credits to Vanguard, as well as a commitment to education and mentorship.  Freeman Clark is also a Resident Artist at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Guest Resident Artist at Seton Hall University, and a Masters’ Candidate at Westminster Choir College at Rider University.

Vanguard’s upcoming production is “The Music Man in Concert,” starring Kate Dawson (“A Christmas Carol” at Madison Square Garden) as Marian Paroo, and Juan Drigo (JD) Ricafort (“In the Heights,” Washington, DC) as Harold Hill.  In true Vanguard tradition, these professionals will work with, and mentor, a cast of aspiring professional performers, as well as members of the community, in a reimagining of this classic musical. “The Music Man in Concert” has two performances only, December 16 and 17, at The Theater at SOMS. For more information, visit

Founded in 2015 by veteran actors and educators Janeece Freeman Clark and Daryl Stewart, Vanguard Theater Company is a unique 501(c)(3) theater company dedicated to diversity, mentorship, community engagement and education. Vanguard serves people of all ages, races, genders and nationalities in the Northern New Jersey area and New York City. The company is committed to producing collaborative and re-imagined musical theater works through multi-cultural casting and the use of professional artistic mentorship.