Barry Edelstein is an American theatre director, author, and educator. He was appointed as Artistic Director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California, on October 17, 2012. Previously, he was Director of the New York Shakespeare Festival / Public Theater's Shakespeare Lab conservatory, 2007-2012, and Director of the Public Theater's Shakespeare Initiative, 2008-2012.
Edelstein was born in Paterson, New Jersey, on March 11, 1965, and grew up in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. He graduated from Fair Lawn High School in 1982. He graduated from Tufts University summa cum laude in 1986 and won a Rhodes Scholarship. He matriculated at Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1986 and graduated in 1988 with an M.Phil. in English Renaissance Drama.
Known for his productions of Shakespeare, he has directed nearly half the canon. For the Public Theater, he staged Julius Caesar starring Jeffrey Wright at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park and The Merchant of Venice, featuring Ron Leibman's OBIE Award-winning portrayal of Shylock. At the Williamstown Theatre Festival, he directed As You Like It starring Gwyneth Paltrow. From 1998-2003 he was Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company, where he directed Richard III starring John Turturro and Julianna Margulies and The Winter's Tale starring David Strathairn as well as the world premiere of Steve Martin's The Underpants, which he commissioned; Ben Jonson's The Alchemist starring Dan Castellanetta; and Molière's The Misanthrope, starring Uma Thurman in her stage debut and Roger Rees; and Ferdinand Bruckner's Race in his own adaptation. He also produced an additional twelve productions at Classic Stage Company, featuring artists such as Turturro, Tony Shalhoub, Christopher Lloyd, Bill Irwin, Mira Sorvino, Amy Irving, Michael Greif, JoAnne Akalaitis, Philip Glass, Anne Bogart's SITI Company, Big Dance Theatre and others. Other New York credits include Arthur Miller's All My Sons (Williamstown, then New York's Roundabout Theatre which won the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Revival); and Steve Martin's Wasp and Other Plays (The Public). He has directed many contemporary and classic plays at leading regional theaters.
Edelstein has written about Shakespeare in particular and the theater in general for the New York Times, Washington Post, The New Republic, and American Theater. His book Thinking Shakespeare (called by New York Magazine "a must-read for actors") was published by Spark Publishers in 2007, and his book Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions, was published by Harper Perennial in 2008.
Edelstein has taught Shakespearean acting at the Juilliard School, New York University's Graduate Acting Program, and the University of Southern California. He has lectured and taught masterclasses around the USA and the world.
Edelstein lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Hilit and their daughter, Tillirose.
- Weber, Bruce (2009). "Barry Edelstein in the New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- "Review of THINKING SHAKESPEARE". Backstage. September 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-23.[dead link]
- "Barry Edelstein Profile in Schenectady Gazette". Schenectady Daily Gazette. July 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-23.