My first week as Executive Director of Opening Act …

Greetings Opening Act Community!

It is with great honor and joy that I introduce myself to you as Opening Act’s new Executive Director. For nearly two decades, I have been deeply committed to improving the lives of New York City youth by providing meaningful and impactful experiences that extend way beyond the classroom. In my first week with Opening Act, I’ve had the opportunity to see our programs in action, participate in improv exercises with our students, and get to know the amazing team behind the curtain. It has been magical to sit in a front-row seat and watch first hand how the success stories that I’ve read about actually unfold.

Zareta Ricks, Executive Director

Zareta Ricks, Executive Director

We’ve all heard the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child; however, many of our villages need some repair. As a result, our young people need caring community members to step in, show up, and take on the role of village builders to ensure they have opportunities that ignite their creativity and brilliance with continuity and intention. This is why I joined Opening Act. Already from my first week in our classrooms, I have witnessed students authentically connecting with their teaching artists and ensemble-mates, displaying a strong sense of trust and willingness to collaborate fully (without smartphones in hand)! My time in the office, listening, learning, and asking questions has left no doubt in my mind that the villages I saw this week in classrooms across the city were built with care and intention.

The support I’m receiving as I step on stage during this watershed, 20th Anniversary year for Opening Act is incredible, and I cannot wait to celebrate with the larger community at our 20th Anniversary Play Reading Gala on April 6th! As we move towards the spring and the young people in our programs create performances straight from their hearts and minds, I’m energized to partner with you, so that we – together – can change the lives of our youth one act at a time.

With applause,





Zareta Ricks