Karen Zacarias

Karen Zacarias

Karen Zacarías is 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...
Karen Zacarías is 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.

In the 2015-16 Season, Karen Zacarias will have five world premieres: DESTINY OF DESIRE, Arena Stage, NATIVE GARDENS, Cincinnati Playhouse, OLIVERio: A BRAZILIAN TWIST, at the JF Kennedy Center for the Arts, ELLA ENCHANTED, First Stage, INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH, Milagro Playhouse. Karen Zacarías other plays include THE BOOK CLUB PLAY, MARIELA IN THE DESERT, LEGACY OF LIGHT, THE SINS OF SOR JUANA, the adaptation of Helen Thorpe’s immigration policy memoir JUST LIKE US, and the adaptation of Julia Alvarez’s HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS LOST THEIR ACCENTS…and many more. Karen Zacarías has written many TYA musicals with composer Debbie Wicks La Puma including JANE OF THE JUNGLE, FRIDA LIBRE, LOOKING FOR ROBERTO CLEMENTE, CHASING GEORGE WASHINGTON, EINSTEIN IS A DUMMY, CINDERELLA EATS RICE AND BEANS, FERDINAND THE BULL, and THE MAGICAL PIÑATA.

Karen recently adapted Edith Wharton’s THE AGE OF INNOCENCE at Arena Stage and the celebrated libretto of THE SUN ALSO RISES for the Washington Ballet. New projects include a play for the American Revolution Series for Oregon Shakespeare Theater, a drama for Cincinnati Playhouse, a play for Ford’s Theater, the libretto for SLEEPY HOLLOW for the Washington Ballet, the adaptation of INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH by Luis Alberto Urrea for Milagro Theater, and a Brazilian themed musical “OLIVERIO” for the Kennedy Center. She has just finished translating into Spanish her piece MARIELA EN EL DESIERTO.

Her plays have been produced at The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, The Goodman, Round House Theater, The Denver Theater Center, Alliance Theater, Imagination Stage, GALA, Berkshire Theater Festival, South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, San Jose Rep, and more.

Her awards include: 2010 Steinberg Citation-Best New Play (outside of NYC), National Francesca Primus Prize, New Voices Award, National Latino Play Award, Finalist Susan Blackburn, Helen Hayes for Outstanding New Play.

Plays

  • Native Gardens
    Good fences make good neighbors … right?

    A hilarious hot-button comedy
    You can’t choose your neighbors. In this brilliant new comedy, cultures and gardens clash, turning well-intentioned neighbors into feuding enemies. Pablo, a rising attorney, and doctoral candidate Tania, his very pregnant wife, have just purchased a home next to Frank and Virginia, a well-established D.C. couple with a...
    Good fences make good neighbors … right?

    A hilarious hot-button comedy
    You can’t choose your neighbors. In this brilliant new comedy, cultures and gardens clash, turning well-intentioned neighbors into feuding enemies. Pablo, a rising attorney, and doctoral candidate Tania, his very pregnant wife, have just purchased a home next to Frank and Virginia, a well-established D.C. couple with a prize-worthy English garden. But an impending barbeque for Pablo’s colleagues and a delicate disagreement over a long-standing fence line soon spirals into an all-out border dispute, exposing both couples’ notions of race, taste, class and privilege.

    “Guthrie’s ‘Native Gardens’ is the best stage comedy of the summer”

    – Star Tribune
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    “Native Gardens is a true breath of comic fresh air. It’s a biting, perceptive, and ultimately hopeful sendup to our fraught relationships with those around us – even right next door. Beyond snappy one-liners and garden hose fights, the play challenges audiences to look beyond petty differences and rediscover our shared decency.”

    – DC Theatre Scene
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    “The Guthrie has extended “Native Gardens” another week, and that’s a good thing, because it’s a perfect summer play. It has sharp, witty writing, lots of laughs, a strong cast, a beautiful set, a sense of currency and immediacy, and an ideal summer length: 90 minutes, no intermission. Everything about it clicks and hums.”

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    – Minnesota Post
    Cast & Crew
    2 women // 2 men

    2-4 extras

    View Photo Gallery >
    Production History:
    Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, Victory Gardens, Old Globe Theater, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Trinity Repertory Theater, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Intiman Theater, Florida Studio Stage, Vermont Stage, WaterTower Theater
  • Destiny of Desire
    Destiny of Desire
    “An unapologetic and subversive Telenovela for the Stage”

    On a stormy night in Bellarica, Mexico, two baby girls are born — one into a life of privilege and one into a life of poverty. When the newborns are swapped by a former beauty queen with an insatiable lust for power the stage is set for two outrageous misfortunes to grow into one remarkable destiny. “A writer of...
    Destiny of Desire
    “An unapologetic and subversive Telenovela for the Stage”

    On a stormy night in Bellarica, Mexico, two baby girls are born — one into a life of privilege and one into a life of poverty. When the newborns are swapped by a former beauty queen with an insatiable lust for power the stage is set for two outrageous misfortunes to grow into one remarkable destiny. “A writer of comedic skill” (Variety), Karen Zacarías infuses the Mexican telenovela genre with music, high drama and burning passion to make for a fast-paced modern comedy.

    “Terrifically entertaining theatrical roller-coaster “Destiny of Desire…is a zany, funny delight”

    – LA Times – Charles McNulty

    “Destiny of Desire” may owe a debt to soap operas, miniseries and potboilers of the most shameless variety, but it also shares storytelling DNA with Shakespeare’s romances, in which children are lost, lovers are separated and the lurking threat of death and destruction makes happy endings all the more delectable.” Read More

    – LA Times – Charles McNulty

    “Simply fabulous and riotously funny…highly entertaining. (Destiny of Desire) would make a good Broadway musical.“

    – Chicago Tribune – Chris Jones
  • Legacy of Light
    Legacy of Light
    “What is the science of love?”

    Two women scientists, living hundreds of years apart, explore the meaning of love, motherhood, family, art and science in this contemporary comedy. Legacy of Light juxtaposes the story of Émilie du Châtelet, a mathematician, scientist, and lover of the great 18th-century philosopher Voltaire, who became unexpectedly pregnant at 42, and that of...
    Legacy of Light
    “What is the science of love?”

    Two women scientists, living hundreds of years apart, explore the meaning of love, motherhood, family, art and science in this contemporary comedy. Legacy of Light juxtaposes the story of Émilie du Châtelet, a mathematician, scientist, and lover of the great 18th-century philosopher Voltaire, who became unexpectedly pregnant at 42, and that of a 21st-century physicist desperately trying to conceive a child.

    “This is a work with its heart in the right place, one in which the comic machinations emanate from a source of bona fide light.”

    – Peter Marks, Washington Post

    “Zacarías has written this entertaining play with a shrewd eye for the economies and interests of today’s theater. It is a flight of fancy with a relevant component, containing expansive roles that will be popular with performers. Women, especially, will admire the strength, intellectual depth and human qualities of the play’s female characters.”

    – VARIETY

    “Legacy of Light is an intellectual joyride from start to finish that confronts a universal question: How do women balance a passionate yearning for science with maternal instinct?”

    – Rosalind Lucy, DC Theater Scene

    “If Karen Zacarías’ new play Legacy of Light is any indication of where play writing is headed then pop the champagne, we have a lot to celebrate.”

    – Stark Insider
  • INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH
    In PROGRESS: FIRST DRAFT- Based on the hilarious and heart-wrenching book by Luis Alberto Urrea- Inspired by the Movie The Maginificent Seven, Nayeli leaves with her best friends goth Vampi, and gay-bar ownder Tacho, to sneak into the US to bring seven Magnificent Mexican Men to defend their town from drug dealers. The epic journey from Sinaloa, Mexico, to , San Diego and finally to Kankakee Illinois- is...
    In PROGRESS: FIRST DRAFT- Based on the hilarious and heart-wrenching book by Luis Alberto Urrea- Inspired by the Movie The Maginificent Seven, Nayeli leaves with her best friends goth Vampi, and gay-bar ownder Tacho, to sneak into the US to bring seven Magnificent Mexican Men to defend their town from drug dealers. The epic journey from Sinaloa, Mexico, to , San Diego and finally to Kankakee Illinois- is laugh out loud funny and gut wrenching at the same time.