, Joe Calarco, Writer/Director, SSDC

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Joe is the adaptor/director of Shakespeare’s R&J. which ran for a year Off- Broadway, becoming the longest running version of Romeo and Juliet in New York history, and earned him a Lucille Lortel Award.  He also directed the play’s premieres in Chicago (5 Jeff Award nominations including Best Play and Best Director) and Washington, D.C. (Helen Hayes Award nominations for Best Play and Best Director). He also directed the premieres in London’s West End (Evening Standard Award honorable mention for Best Director) and in Tokyo. The play is published by Dramatists Play Service in the U.S. and by Methuen in the U.K. His reworking of Ring of Fire: the music of Johnny Cash toured the U.S. for over a year. Off Broadway credits include the world premiere of the musical In Transit at Primary Stages, The Burnt Part Boys by Mariana Elder, Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky by David Cale and Jonathan Kreisberg at Playwrights Horizons. He directed the critically acclaimed world premiere of the musical Sarah, Plain and Tall (book by Julia Jordan, music by Larry O’Keefe, lyrics by Nell Benjamin) at the Lucille Lortel. A newly revised two act version of Sarah Plain and Tall just premiered at Dallas Theatre Center. He also directed Julia Jordan’s The Summer of the Swans at the Lucille Lortel and Ms. Jordan’s play Boy at Primary Stages. He directed the premiere of The Mistress Cycle by Beth Blatt and Jenny Giering for The New York Musical Theatre Festival. He directed Chris Miller’s and Nathan Tysen’s song cycle Fugitive Songs which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Musical Revue. He recently directed the first New York revival of Irwin Shaw’s anti war play Bury the Dead for The Transport Group. He wrote an original curtain raiser, A Town Hall Meeting, for the production as well.

Regionally, he is an Artistic Associate at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia where he just directed the world premiere of his own play Walter Cronkite is Dead. Other work at Signature includes Assassins (Helen Hayes Award Best Director), the world premiere of Norman Allen’s Nijinsky’s Last Dance (Helen Hayes Awards for Best Director and Best Play), Side Show (Helen Hayes Awards for Best Musical and Best Director), Elegies: a song cycle (Helen Hayes nomination Best Musical), Urinetown (a record breaking 8 Helen Hayes Awards including Best Musical and Best Director ), and the world premiere of his own play in the absence of spring which premiered in New York as the inaugural production of Second Stage’s New Plays Uptown series under his own direction. in the absence of spring is published by Playscripts Inc. and is included in The Best Stage Scenes of 2004 published by Smith and Kraus. He directed the world premiere of Lincolnesque by John Strand and The Glass Menagerie at the Old Globe, the world premiere of the musical The Burnt Part Boys by Mariana Elder, Chris Miller, and Nathan Tysen at Barrington Stage Company, and the world premiere of Short Order Stories by Renee Calarco for Charter Theatre in Virginia. At the O’neill Musical Theatre Conference he has directed Sarah Plain and Tall, In Transit, and Picnic at Hanging Rock. He has directed The Light in the Piazza (Barrymore Award Best Director and Best Musical), The Last Five Years (Barrymore award Best Musical), Elegies (Barrymore nomination Best Director and Best Musical) and M. Butterfly at The Philadelphia Theatre Company, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Shakespeare Theatre in D.C, and Of Mice and Men and My Fair Lady at the Hangar Theatre.  Other regional credits include Suddenly Last Summer, To Kill A Mockingbird, Keely & Du, Educating Rita, How I Got That Story, Goodnight Desdemona, Goodmorning Juliet, Babes In Arms, and Godspell.  He directed Twice Charmed: an original twist on the Cinderella story by Michael Weiner and Alan Zachary for Disney Creative Entertainment. He has directed numerous workshops including Picnic at Hanging Rock at Lincoln Center, Broadcast at Playwrights Horizons and, Liberty Smith, and Meet John Doe regionally.

Other writing work includes, his adaptation of Antigone which was work-shoppedat the National Theatre in London. He is writing the book for the musical Golden Gate with composer Richard Pearson Thomas and the book for the musical The Mysteries of Harris Burdick with composer Chris Miller and lyricist Nathan Tysen, which had its West End premiere in conjunction with Mercury Musical Developments in London and its U.S. premier at Barrington Stage Company as part of William Finn’s Musical Theatre Lab. He was a contributing writer to the musical The Audience for The Transport Group. He wrote My Vacation In Paris, Civil Wars, Salat: eve of destruction, Aftershock, Shakespeare, Will, and Image is Everything for Signature Theatre’s Signature in the Schools program. He is currently writing the book for the musical The Last Days of Cleopatra.

Upcoming projects include a workshop of Dogfight by Peter Duchan, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul at Lincoln Center.

He served as resident playwrigh at Expanded Arts, Inc. for two years. He has been a Joseph Papp artist in residence at Second Stage, is one of New York Theatre Workshop’s "usual suspects," and is a Drama League directing fellow. He also sits on the executive board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). Graduate: Ithaca College.




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