Damon Dering of Phoenix's Nearly Naked Theatre: 100 Creatives

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Phoenix is brimming with creativity. And every other year, we put the spotlight on 100 of the city's creative forces. Leading up to the release of this year's Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome to the 2014 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today: 15. Damon Dering.

If you're looking for Damon Dering, chances are good you'll find him reading.

"I read over a hundred plays a year," the Phoenix-based actor and director. "So when I'm not prepping a show for production or directing, I'm reading plays."

See also: Phoenix Artist J.B. Snyder: 100 Creatives

Dering has lived in the Valley for three decades and is the founding artistic director of Nearly Naked Theatre. Over the course of his career, he's worked with companies including Phoenix Theatre, Scorpius Dance Theatre, Childsplay, Theater Works, and Stray Cat Theatre. And he's gearing up for yet another busy season of shows.

"Nearly Naked is bringing The Album Project: Jagged Little Pill in from L.A.," he says. "It's a lot of stress getting a show in from another city."

The show, a theatrical adaptation of Alanis Morissette's iconic record, kicks off what Dering describes as "a very exciting and ambitious season" that includes Debbie Does Dallas, The History of the Devil and Angels in America.

Sounds like a lot of costume changes -- and a little Morissette-style irony for a company whose name flirts with nudity. Don't ya think?

I came to Phoenix with a desire to be in the big city. I realized I was way too talented and way too gay for Cottonwood, Arizona.

I make art because I have no choice. It has been my passion since I was a child. A child-child. I used to take over the sandbox and make everyone put on plays there.

I'm most productive when I am surrounded by talented and collaborative people.

My inspiration wall is full of dark and sexy images.

I've learned most from the school of "what not to do." I enjoy watching bad art as much as good. You can learn a lot from a train wreck.

Good work should always be honest. Challenge both artist and audience.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more money. Support the arts, people!

See the 2014 edition of 100 Creatives:

100. Bill Dambrova 99. Niki Blaker 98. Jeff Slim 97. Beth May 96. Doug Bell 95. Daniel Langhans 94. Nanibaa Beck 93. Nicole Royse 92. Ib Andersen 91. Casandra Hernandez 90. Chris Reed 89. Shelby Maticic 88. Olivia Timmons 87. Courtney Price 86. Travis Mills 85. Catrina Kahler 84. Angel Castro 83. Cole Reed 82. Lisa Albinger 81. Larry Madrigal 80. Julieta Felix 79. Lauren Strohacker 78. Levi Christiansen 77. Thomas Porter 76. Carrie Leigh Hobson 75. Cody Carpenter 74. Jon Jenkins 73. Aurelie Flores 72. Michelle Ponce 71. Devin Fleenor 70. Noelle Martinez 69. Bucky Miller 68. Liliana Gomez 67. Jake Friedman 66. Clarita Lulić 65. Randy Murray 64. Mo Neuharth 63. Jeremy Hamman 62. La Muñeca 61. Kevin Goldman 60. Emily Costello 59. Kerstin Dale 58. Vara Ayanna 57. Nathaniel Lewis 56. Ruben Gonzales 55. Lisa Poje 54. Bobby Zokaites 53. Frances Smith Cohen 52. Julie Rada 51. David Miller 50. Xanthia Walker 49. Kyllan Maney 48. Cary Truelick 47. Constance McBride 46. James D. Porter 45. Allyson Boggess 44. Abigail Lynch 43. Ashley Cooper 42. Jaclyn Roessel 41. Brandon Boetto 40. Melissa Dunmore 39. Gavin Sisson 38. Rossitza Todorova 37. Monica Robles 36. Josh Kirby 35. Jesse Perry 34. Yai Cecream 33. Nathan Blackwell 32. Carley Conder 31. Ben Willis 30. Nicole Michieli 29. Brian Cresson 28. Tyson Krank 27. Mikey Estes 26. Anwar Newton 25. Sarah "Saza" Dimmick 24. Tato Caraveo 23. Jorge Torres 22. Laura Spalding Best 21. Shawnte Orion 20. Mike Olbinski 19. Christina You-Sun Park 18. Jon Arvizu 17. Anya Melkozernova 16. J.B. Snyder

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