Joel was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio. His first encounter with the acting was at the age of 10, seeing his older brother perform the role of Rod Serling in a one act play adaptation of The Twilight Zone. Fascinated by the idea of being onstage he was soon cast in a community theater production of A Christmas Carol at the Woodrow Wilson High School. A few roles at the high school led to several roles in the local community theaters; The Youngstown Playhouse, The Oakland Center for the Arts, and The Newcastle Playhouse among others. The decision to attend university for a degree in acting was an easy one, and he was an eager student of the Department of Theater and Dance at Youngstown State University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Theater.
Having always been enamored with New York City, he moved there in 2000, succeeded in the MMA (mixed martial arts) competition that is apartment hunting and landed a job as a receptionist at Dramatists Play Service, Inc. He worked with several theaters Off Off Broadway such as Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot and the American Globe. Meanwhile, he continued to be promoted at Dramatists, finally ending up as an associate in the Professional Rights Department where he licensed plays for several years to Equity theaters across the country.
Wanting to get back to his roots in acting, he left his position at Dramatists and all of the wonderful folks there to meet a whole new bunch of wonderful people at The Ohio University, where he was accepted into the Graduate Acting Program. During his tenure there he performed in many main stage and second stage lab shows. He made fast friends with the inordinately talented folks in the School of Film, appearing in several thesis films as well as a web series, LJ's Trip.
Two summers at The Monomoy Theater Company and couple gigs later, Joel is the proud owner of an MFA in Acting and a bit of debt in student loans. He is back in NYC now, a proud owner of a couch, and works as a freelance photographer in the daylight hours.