This Residency’s All Lesley Reads visitor is the award-winning playwright Karen Zacarías.
Karen Zacarías has been named by American Theater Magazine one of the most-produced playwrights in the country, as well as one of the most-produced theater-for young-people playwrights. Her new play, The Copper Children, about an explosive child separation case set in 1905, premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in early March 2020; her subversive telenovela play Destiny of Desire was to have a run at the Cincinnati Playhouse, the Milwaukee Rep, and the Guthrie. Her bilingual adaptation Romeo y Juliet is postponed at Cal Shakes, along with twenty productions of her plants-and-borders political comedy Native Gardens.
Zacarías’s plays include Mariela in the Desert (short-listed for the Susan Blackburn Prize and winner of the Latino Playwrights Award and the Primus Award), The Age of Innocence, The Book Club Play, Legacy of Light (which received a Steinberg citation), The Sins of Sor Juana (named a Helen Hayes Outstanding Play), Just Like Us, Into the Beautiful North, and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents.
She is the founder of the award-winning Young Playwrights’ Theater, which teaches playwriting in Washington, D.C. public schools, and is a core-founder of the Latinx Theatre Commons, a national organization that seeks to update the cannon with diverse Latinx stories.
In 2019, Zacarías was voted a Washingtonian of the Year for her arts advocacy by Washingtonian Magazine. She also received a 2019 Sine Fellowship at the American University School of Public Policy for connecting art with policy-making. She is a recipient of the 2019 Lee Reynolds Award for social, cultural, or political change with theater given by the League of Professional Theater Women, and was honored with the 2019 Medallion by the Children’s Theater Foundation. She was also a 2019 speaker at TEDX Broadway.
Zacarías has a BA in International Relations from Stanford University and an MA in Playwriting from Boston University. Born in Mexico, she now lives in Washington, D.C. with her three children, her husband, and two dogs.