Karen Zacaríasis one of the most produced playwrights in the nation. She is one of the inaugural Resident Playwrights at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and is a core founder of the LATINX THEATRE COMMONS. She is the founder of Young Playwrights’ Theater, an award winning theater company that teaches playwriting in local public schools in Washington, DC. Karen lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and three children.
Karens’s award-winning plays include the sold-out/extended comedy THE BOOK CLUB PLAY, the sold-out world premiere drama JUST LIKE US (adapted from the book by Helen Thorpe) at Denver Theater Center, the Steinberg –citation award play LEGACY OF LIGHT , the Francesca Primus Award winning play MARIELA IN THE DESERT, the Helen Hayes Award winning play THE SINS OF SOR JUANA , the adaptation of Julia Alvarez’s HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS LOST THEIR ACCENTS. Karen also has a piece in the Arena Stage premiere of OUR WAR. Her TYA musicals with composer Debbie Wicks la Puma include JANE OF THE JUNGLE, EINSTEIN IS A DUMMY, LOOKING FOR ROBERTO CLEMENTE, CINDERELLA EATS RICE AND BEANS, FERDINAND THE BULL, and FRIDA LIBRE. Her musical CHASING GEORGE WASHINGTON premiered at The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and went on a National Tour. Her script was then adapted into a book by Scholastic with a foreword by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Karen is currently working on the adaptation of Edith Wharton’s THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, a drama for Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and a Brazilian themed Oliver Twist musical: OLIVERIO: A BRAZILIAN TWIST ON DICKENS for the Kennedy Center. Her libretto of THE SUN ALSO RISES for the Washington Ballet received accolades in the New York Times and she is currently writing the libretto for THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW with Washington Ballet artistic Director Septime Webre. She is proud to be currently commissioned to write new plays for Arena Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Ford’s Theater, Adventure Theater, and First Stage.
Her plays have been produced at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Arena Stage, The Goodman Theater, Round House Theater, The Denver Center, Alliance Theater, Imagination Stage, GALA Hispanic Theater, Berkshire Theater Festival, South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, San Jose Repertory Theater, GEVA Theater, Horizon’s Theater, People’s Light and Theater, Walnut Street Theater, Arden Theater, Milagro Theater, Teatro Vista, Aurora Theater, and many more.
Her awards include: New Voices Award, 2010 Steinberg Citation-Best New Play, Paul Aneillo Award, National Francesca Primus Prize, New Voices Award, National Latino Play Award, Finalist Susan Blackburn, Helen Hayes for Outstanding New Play.
Karen is the first playwright-in-residence at Arena Stage in Washington, DC and has taught playwriting at Georgetown University. She is the founder of Young Playwrights’ Theater, an award-winning theater company that teaches playwriting in local public schools in Washington, DC. YPT won the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House as one of the most innovative arts programs in the nation. The YPT curriculum is currently being used in public schools in DC, VA, MD, New Orleans, Detroit, and Texas and is published on Amazon as “WRITE TO DREAM.”
Karen is represented by the Graham Agency and published by Dramatic Publishing. Karen is fluent in English and Spanish and highly proficient in Danish and French. She has BA with distinction from Stanford University and a Masters in Creative Writing from Boston University. Born in Mexico, Karen now lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and three children.