Board of Directors
Joe Raiola, President/Artistic Director
Since joining the Theatre Within Workshop in the late 1970s, Joe Raiola has had a flourishing career as a satirist, producer, and workshop leader.
For 33 years, through the end of 2017, Joe was an Editor at MAD Magazine, churning out a steady stream of pointed political satire and pure silliness.
As a performer, Joe appears around the country in his acclaimed first amendment show, The Joy of Censorship, which he has performed in 44 states.
As a producer, Joe co-created the Annual John Lennon Tribute with Theatre Within Workshop Founder, Alec Rubin, in 1981. In 2006, shortly after Alec’s death, Joe established Theatre Within as a non-profit dedicated to having a positive social impact through its workshops and productions.
Under Joe’s leadership, the Annual John Lennon Tribute soon evolved from a small neighborhood gathering to an important New York City charity concert.
In 2008, Joe brought Yoko Ono and WhyHunger together, resulting in the launch of the “Imagine There’s No Hunger” global campaign. In 2014, in recognition of his achievements, he was a recipient of TimeWarner’s prestigious Richard D. Parsons Community Impact Award.
In 2015, Joe set Theatre Within on a new course, focusing on providing ongoing, free workshops for those whose lives have been impacted by cancer at Gilda’s Club, NYC. For his overwhelmingly positive impact, Joe was chosen as one of NY1’s “New Yorker of the Week” in 2017.
After 40+ years, Joe remains committed to furthering Theatre Within creative and life-affirming mission.
Helene Cohen, Director/Event Director
Helene Cohen is the manager of Client Services and the Arts Access Initiative, a unique program developed by Bergen Performing Arts Center to make the live performing arts accessible to individuals who would otherwise be unable to experience the arts by offering free tickets. Since joining bergenPAC in 2016, Helene has grown the initiative from 11 organizations to 75, distributing over 22,000 tickets to the various groups and individuals that make up the extensive outreach of the program. Along with her management position, she curates the Sandy Bennett Art Gallery, creating exhibitions with international artists such as Young Mi Kim to legendary photographer Chuck Stewart to community based projects supporting young artists.
Prior to joining bergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey she was president of Dakotah Blue Entertainment, a concert promotion and event production company formed in 2007
Dr. Ron Marino, Director
Dr. Ron Marino is a pediatrician at NYU Winthrop University Hospital. He has a passionate interest in the humanistic side of health care. His work with school communities and families reflect his appreciation of the holism so necessary to foster well-being, even in the face of illness. As a music lover, musician and former disc jockey, he has a deep understanding of the comfort that music can bring to the human condition.
A longtime fan of the Beatles, Dr. Marino happened on Theatre Within’s Annual John Lennon Tribute in 2011. Inspired by the event, he reached out to the Theatre Within board to explore ways of supporting its charitable and life-affirming mission.
Dr. Marino is enthusiastic about getting the word out that arts and creativity are essential healing modalities that must be brought to populations in need. The mission of Theatre Within exemplifies that!
Mike Tassone has a history of volunteerism and activism. He was a founding member of The Farm Community, an intentional community in Summertown, Tennessee. Founded in 1971, on the principles of nonviolence and respect for the earth, The Farm Community evolved from the largest hippie commune in the world to a modern-day ecovillage and a vibrant example of sustainable living.
While a Community member, Mike ran a printing press and managed marketing tours for The Book Publishing Company, which published books by members of the Community, such as Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin, Monday Night Class and The Caravan by Stephen Gaskin, and The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook and Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler. In addition, Mike served as the sound man and tour manager for the Farm Band, which traveled throughout the USA and Europe promoting the ideals of community and sustainability.
Mike is now a semi-retired business software consultant, living on Long Island since 1985. He has been a “Marquee Member” of WFUV radio for more than 15 years, helping with the station’s fundraisers on a regular basis.
Mike is excited to be a member of Theatre Within’s Board of Directors and is looking forward to helping expand the reach and positive impact of the organization’s wonderful programs. “In my heart and my soul, I believe in helping people. I believe this opportunity has presented itself to me at a good time in my life and I am excited at the prospect of taking on something new.”
Jill’s motto is Imagine…then create! She has dedicated the past 25 years to promoting music and art in classrooms, hospitals and homes beginning with her music program “Jingle with Jill.” Currently, she is Founder and President of Girl from the Grotto Inc., a non-profit organization that provides beach themed gift boxes and sea inspired events for medically ill children 3-18 years. She also holds special events for young patients and their families and knows first-hand the benefits of creative expression during an otherwise challenging time. Jill is thrilled to align with the goals of Theatre Within and the annual John Lennon tribute. As a singer and songwriter and forever fan of John Lennon, Jill looks forward to working towards new and powerful ways to spread the timeless message of peace and love.