Joe Calarco (Playwright) is a multiple award-winning director and playwright. Off-Broadway credits include Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Drama Desk nomination); the world premieres of Boy and In Transit (Drama Desk nomination) at Primary Stages; The Burnt Part Boys and Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky at Playwrights Horizons; the world premieres of The Summer of the Swans and Sarah, Plain and Tall at the Lucille Lortel; the world premiere of The Mistress Cycle for The New York Musical Theatre Festival; the world premiere of Fugitive Songs; and the first New York revival of Bury the Dead and The Memory Show for The Transport Group. He is the adaptor/director of Shakespeare’s R&J, which ran for a year Off-Broadway and earned him a Lucille Lortel Award.
Regionally, Joe has won Best Director Barrymore Awards for both Ordinary Days at 11th Hour Theatre Company and The Light in the Piazza at Philadelphia Theatre Company. Other shows at PTC include The Last Five Years (Barrymore Award Best Musical), Elegies (Barrymore nomination), and M. Butterfly. At Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, he has directed Assassins (Helen Hayes Award), the world premiere of Nijinsky’s Last Dance (Helen Hayes Award), Side Show (Helen Hayes Award), Urinetown (Helen Hayes Award), Gypsy (Helen Hayes nomination), God of Carnage, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Flick, and John, among others and the world premieres of Nest, The Gulf, The Boy Detective Fails, and Cake Off, as well as the world premieres of his own plays Walter Cronkite is Dead and 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. Other regional work includes the world premiere of Lincolnesque as well as The Glass Menagerie at the Old Globe; the world premieres of the musicals The Burnt Part Boys, The Memory Show, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (also book writer), as well as Kiss Me Kate, Breaking the Code, Romance in Hard Times, Ragtime, A Doll’s House Part 2, Into The Woods, Sister Sorry (world premiere), Waiting For Godot (Berkshire Critics Association Award), and A New Brain at Barrington Stage Company where he is an Associate Artist; The Circus in Winter and LMNOP at Goodspeed; the world premiere of Short Order Stories for Charter Theatre in Virginia; and the world premiere of The Religion Thing at Theater J in Washington D.C. At the O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, he has directed Broadcast; The Toymaker; Sarah, Plain and Tall; In Transit; Picnic at Hanging Rock; and The Shadow Sparrow. He is the director of Twice Charmed: an original twist on the Cinderella story for Disney Creative Entertainment, and his reworking of Ring of Fire: the music of Johnny Cash toured the U.S for over a year.
As a writer, his published work includes Separate Rooms (TRW and included in the Best Stage Monologues of 2020), A Measure of Cruelty (TRW and included in the Best Stage Monologues of 2013 and nominated for a Carbonell Award as Best New Work), Walter Cronkite is Dead, Shakespeare’s R&J (DPS), and In The Absence of Spring (Playscripts and included in The Best Stage Scenes of 2004). He has written a number of plays for teens, including Winter Break (DPS), Spring Break (DPS), 17 and 18 (Playscripts), Signature in the Schools Volumes 1&2 (Concord Theatricals), and the soon to be published 295N, Smile Lines, 12 Million Footsteps, The Spoken Word, and UnResigned, all for TRW. Other adaptations include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare Theater Company), which he has reworked once again for eight actors as Well Met by Moonlight and will soon be published by TRW, and Antigone Renewed, which had its first workshop at the National Theater in London.
He is the book writer for the musicals The Mysteries of Harris Burdick with composer Chris Miller and lyricist Nathan Tysen, which had its West End premiere in conjunction with Mercury Musical Development and its U.S. premiere at Barrington Stage Company, for Golden Gate with composer/lyricist Richard Pearson Thomas (developed at Second Stage and Lincoln Center), and he was a contributing book writer of the Drama Desk Award nominated The Audience (The Transport Group). His current work in development includes The Circus in Winter with composer/lyricist Ben Clark, and A Rhythmic Me with collaborators Jared Grimes and Mark Meadows.
He served as Director of New Works at the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, as resident playwright at Expanded Arts, Inc. for two years, and as Resident Director at Barrington Stage Company. He has been a Joseph Papp artist in residence at Second Stage, sat on the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), is one of New York Theatre Workshop’s "usual suspects," is a Drama League directing fellow, and is a member of The Dramatists Guild.