Joel Reitsma is a product of good, old fashioned Michigan homeschooling. He grew up a chubby, left-handed boy in Lansing, MI, was homeschooled up until the age of 11, and then crossed the threshold into one of the most diverse, problematic charter schools in the state armed with below average reading and math skills, an arguably over-active imagination, and almost no social literacy. Middle school was very… enlightening for him. It was there, in that stuffy fourth floor drama classroom that Joel learned the most about himself and how he was to get along with others around him.
Joel finished school at Lansing Community College, transferred to Columbia College Chicago, where he immediately entered the BFA program and graduated in 2008 with a BFA in Theatre Performance. Since then, he worked professionally, for a couple years at some storefront theatres that don't exist anymore, stopped acting, worked as a Merchant Mariner, obtained his USCG Masters Credential (Captains License), lost 125 pounds along the way, and then started it all over again. He also dug out a little hole of his own in the Chicago Theatre community by writing and performing in his own Solo Performance pieces all around Chicago, which is actually how he met, fell in love with, proposed to, and also married his wife, Laura. He owes all that he is to her influence and passion.
Since Joel's hiatus, he has worked with theatre companies all around Chicago, like Mary Arrchie, Redtwist, Raven, as well as other fun, independently produced projects. None of these greater than when he was fortunate enough to perform in Steep's production of Motortown, for which he earned his very first Joseph Jefferson Foundation non equity award nomination for best actor in a principal role. He is fortunate, thankful, and supremely proud to work and live in Chicago, and to call Steep his artistic home.