Aaron Thielen (co-founder) is the current Artistic Director of the Marriott Theatre. He has been associated with the theatre for over twenty-five years. Starting as an actor, Thielen transitioned to the producing side in 2001 and worked through many positions at the theater. As the Artistic Director he has been focused on and an advocate for the creation of new musicals. Most recently he and Michael Mahler wrote the award-winning October Sky the Musical that had its World Premiere at the Marriott Theatre and its West Coast Premiere at the Old Globe in San Diego. This writing team also wrote the award-winning musical HERO, which was produced at the Asolo Rep in Sarasota. Thielen also adapted the Twentieth century Fox film For The Boys into a musical. He was also one of the creative forces of the 2008 World Premiere musical The Bowery Boys. He co-authored a new version of All Night Strut, A Fascinatin’ Rhythm and created the original review Now And Forever: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber with Marc Robin.
Thielen has directed numerous productions including She Loves Me, Oklahoma, Spring Awakening and the World Premiere of the new musical Darling Grenadine. Thielen is on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, which is an organization dedicated to being a catalyst for nurturing musical theatre development, production, innovation and collaboration. His work in Bosnia and Herzegovina began in 2018 with a cultural exchange program, sponsored by the US State Department, that culminated in directing a locally cast full production of the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which opened at the National Theatre of Sarajevo and toured the country. The program continued in 2019 with the creation of a new work called Moja Pjesma (My Song). The success of these international experiences was the catalyst to formally create Broadway Across Borders. He is proud to collaborate on this new adventure with Ryan Nelson who he has worked with for fifteen years.