Professor Polanco is the 2018 recipient of Kent State University’s Outstanding Research and Scholarship Awards and the 2013 recipient of Ashland University’s Taylor Excellence in Teaching Award.
A member of Actor’s Equity for more than two decades, his acting credits include “Thenardier” in the Broadway national tour of Les Miserables, Missionaries at Brooklyn Academy of Music directed by Elizabeth Swados and starring Josie DeGuzman, the U.S. premiere of David Hare’s adaptation of Brecht’s The Life of Galileo directed by Mark Wing-Davey at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California, Arthur Miller’s Resurrection Blues at The Signature Theatre Company, A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theatre directed by Scott Ellis, as well as performances at Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Cleveland Play House, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cain Park, Porthouse Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, and Dobama Theatre.
Film and television credits included the soon to be release An American Pickle starring Seth Rogan, The Lifeguard starring Kristen Bell, The Next Three Days directed by Academy Award winner Paul Haggis and starring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks, the The Ides of March directed by George Clooney and starring Ryan Gosling and Marisa Tomei, “Downward Dog”, “Guiding Light,” and “As the World Turns,” along with work on many commercials, industrials, and advertisements for television, radio, print, and the internet.
Directing credits include La Gringa; Intimate Apparel; Macbeth; Bus Stop; The House of Blue Leaves; Night Train to Bolina; Sunday in the Park with George; Measure for Measure; The Spitfire Grill; Guys and Dolls; Return to the Forbidden Planet; Dead Man Walking; Jesus Christ Superstar; Anyone Can Whistle; Godspell; Sweeney Todd; True West; Cloud Tectonics; Waiting for Lefty; I Love, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Circle Mirror Transformation which was selected as an Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region II Alternate Production; and the Midwest premiere of Elizabeth Swados’ Missionaries for which he was a finalist for Northern Ohio Live! Magazine’s Award of Achievement in Theatre.
Polanco is the founder and advisor for Latin/x in Theatre, Kent State University’s first Latin/x student theatre group. His writing on links between acting methodology and the psychology of optimal experience has been published by the Stanislavski Studies and Routledge. He is also a certified teacher of the Michael Chekhov technique.
He received his M.F.A. from Case Western Reserve University and his B.A. from Temple University.