Jonathan Tessero is a leading Executive Producer and Stage Director of variety content for television, touring, and theater. With showrunning skills honed from leading world-class teams crafting high-profile, high-budget events, his work has appeared on Broadway, The Las Vegas Strip, network television, and in concert, sporting, and theatrical venues around the world. Combining the ability to contribute equally to the development of songs, sketches, and scenes as a director, writer, creator of specialty material, music supervisor/arranger, media and design director, and performance producer, his unique toolbox places him squarely at the forefront of a new generation of bespoke variety programming and musical performance creators capable of spearheading an idea or an opportunity through fruition.
He shares an Emmy Nomination for his work on CBS' coverage of Super Bowl XLVII, when more than fifteen live television shows and countless radio programs broadcast from two multi-stage production compounds under his creative direction during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVII.
On Broadway, he directed and developed the creative for "Ruben and Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular" as well as the Broadway adaptation and presentation of his "The Stars of Christmas" tour for its Tony-Award Winning producers. The New York Times called Ruben and Clay's Christmas Show "A Christmas Miracle" and his direction "Really Funny." A throw-back to the televised variety specials of the eighties and nineties, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathi Lee and Hoda, and Metro Magazine all called the show "a hilarious must see!" with Theater Scene praising "The Marvelous Company... The Skillful Script... and Jonathan Tessero's Expert Direction."
Creativity is intelligence having fun.
Retitled "Home for the Holidays" for its Broadway engagement, the "Stars of Christmas" brought together American Idol Winner Candice Glover, The Voice Winner Josh Kaufman, and America's Got Talent Winner Bianca Ryan to perform his arrangements of more than 30 Christmas favorites played by a nine-piece rhythm and brass band. Playing 53 performances over six weeks at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre it was ranked as one of the top ten best Christmas concerts in New York by Metro Magazine, and rated "Broadway's #1 Christmas Show" by Showstopper VIP. The New Yorker praised the show as a "victory lap" for competition show winners and his direction was applauded as "excellent" by Black Tie Magazine who "enjoyed every minute of this enchanting show."
He made his Las Vegas Strip debut with The Bronx Wanderers, providing the long-running hit show with an entirely new physical production, revised book, and large-format projection system when it relocated to the Mat Franco Theater at The Linq Hotel and Casino. The Las Vegas Sun called the new production a "Must See!" with The Las Vegas Tribune raving to "Get Ready for a Big Surprise. Everything is Bigger and Better!".
In anticipation of its twentieth anniversary, his reboot of the Beyonce-headlined Essence Festival shattered attendance records to become the largest music festival in America and the 8th largest in the world. With a completely reinvented creative approach to the 14-stage and seven hundred thousand square foot event, the festival attracted an additional 130,000 attendees to achieve its first 500,000+ attendee crowd.
He has directed documentaries on The Final BCS National Championship (SMG Worldwide) and The Stage Door Canteen (National World War II Museum) starring Angela Lansbury, Mickey Rooney, and Branford Marsalis and produced Bianca Ryan's triumphant appearance on America's Got Talent: The Champions, which was selected to kick off the format's latest spin-off. Earning praise from all four judges as well a mid-performance standing ovation from the audience, her performance of the pop hit Say Something was tweeted by Christina Aguilera, is available on iTunes in its entirety, and was subsequently performed on Pickler and Ben. In 2014, he achieved his childhood dream of being included in the souvenir program of a musical for contributing additional material and traveling with Dame Edna’s Glorious Good-ByeTour as its music director, earning praise from critics and audiences alike. He has created, conducted, and produced pops programming for orchestras all around North America and has created apps, content, events, and entire festivals for corporations like McDonald's, Chase, Ford, Entergy, Disney, Working Mother Media, and Time, Inc.
Through his executive production firm, Side Effects Include, he and his team create camera-ready music brands and spectacular once-in-a-lifetime live events for television and touring.
A child piano prodigy, he plays fine Yamaha Grand Pianos in the studio, at home, and anywhere else someone is likely to sing along.