Sachs was born in San Francisco and grew up in Los Angeles. He graduated from Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy in 1980 and worked as an actor at many theaters in Los Angeles, including the Mark Taper Forum. He made his debut as a professional stage director in 1987 with his own adaptation of The Baron in the Trees at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in Los Angeles, to positive reviews.
The Fountain Theatre
Sachs co-founded the Fountain Theatre in 1990 with Deborah Lawlor. For twenty years, Sachs has guided the Fountain Theatre as Co-Artistic Director and has directed and written many of their acclaimed productions. Over two decades, The Fountain Theatre has won 200 awards for theatre excellence and has been honored by the Los Angeles City Council for "enhancing the cultural life of the City of Los Angeles." It is the only intimate theatre in Los Angeles to have won the Ovation Award (L.A.'s version of the Tony Award) for "Best Production of a Play" four times. For the 2009 Ovation Awards, the Fountain has again been nominated for "Best Production of a Play", and for the newly added category of "Best Season".
Arthur Miller gave Sachs exclusive permission to direct his rarely seen After the Fall (3 L.A. Ovation Awards including Best Production and Best Director). Named “Critics’ Choice” (LA Times) and ran for 7 sold-out months.
He has won many theater awards for directing such plays as the Los Angeles premiere of Fugard’s The Road to Mecca, After the Fall, the West Coast premiere of String of Pearls, Sweet Nothing in my Ear (Fountain Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago, Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis), the LA premiere of Steven Dietz’s Lonely Planet (starring Philip Anglim), The Seagull (starring Salome Jens, Philip Baker Hall and Bud Cort), the celebrated 20th Anniversary production of The Boys in the Band, the west coast premiere of Rommulus Linney’s Unchanging Love, and many others.
In February 2007 Sachs directed the world premiere of his own new adaptation of Strindberg’s Miss Julie at the Fountain in Los Angeles. The production was named “Critics’ Choice” in the Los Angeles Times.
Sachs and Fugard
Sachs was chosen by playwright Athol Fugard as one of the few directors in the United States to premiere his new plays. The collaboration between Fugard and Sachs goes back nearly a decade when Sachs directed the Los Angeles premiere of Fugard’s The Road to Mecca in 2000.
In 2004, Mr. Sachs was the first person, apart from the playwright, selected to direct the world premiere of a new play by Athol Fugard. Sachs directed the world premiere of Fugard’s Exits and Entrances in Los Angeles (3 LA Ovation Awards including Best World Premiere of a New Play and Best Director, 5 LA Drama Critics Circle Awards including Best Production and Best Director). He directed acclaimed regional productions of the play around the country. And he directed the Off-Broadway production at Primary Stages in New York in 2007(New York Outer Critics’ Circle Award nomination for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play, selected as "Ten Best" Productions of 2006/2007 by New York Theatre Writers). He also directed the UK premiere at the 2007 International Edinburgh Festival in Scotland.
In 2008, Fugard gave Sachs the exclusive United States rights to his play, Victory. Sachs directed the United States premiere in Los Angeles and the production was named “Critic’s Choice” and “Best of 2008” in the Los Angeles Times.
Fugard chose Sachs to direct the West Coast premiere of his new play, Coming Home (“Critic’s Choice” Los Angeles Times) in 2009. The production has been nominated for a 2009 Ovation Award for "Best Production of a Play".
ASL Theatre & Film
Sachs was instrumental in launching and supporting the Deaf West Theatre Company at the Fountain Theatre in 1991. The company won the Tony Award for its acclaimed ASL-version of Big River on Broadway in 2003. His play about deafness and cochlear implants, Sweet Nothing in My Ear, was recently made into a television movie starring Jeff Daniels and Marlee Matlin, and presented on the Hallmark Hall of Fame on April 20, 2008. The teleplay and adaptation are by Mr. Sachs himself, and the film was directed by Joseph Sargent.
Recent Stage Productions
In 2006, the J. Paul Getty Museum selected Sachs to direct the inaugural production to launch the opening of their new 450-seat outdoor classical theatre at the Getty Villa in Malibu. For The Getty, Sachs directed the critically acclaimed sold-out world premiere of a new translation of Euripides’ Hippolytos starring Linda Purl.
He directed the world premiere of his own stage adaptation of Stephen Mitchell’s version of Gilgamesh at Theatre@Boston Court in Pasadena in 2007, and directed his own adaptation Miss Julie:Freedom Summer at Canadian Stage Company in Toronto and at the Vancouver Playhouse in 2008/2009.
Also in 2009, Mr. Sachs directed the Los Angeles premiere of Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s Tony-nominated play, Shining City, to positive reviews.
- Side Man (2010) starring Christine Lahti, LA Theatre Works
- Shining City (2009) Los Angeles premiere
- Coming Home (2009) West Coast premiere
- Victory (2008) United States premiere
- Exits and Entrances (2007) Off-Broadway, NYC
- Miss Julie:Freedom Summer (2007) world premiere, Los Angeles
- Gilgamesh (2007) world premiere adaptation
- Hippolytos(2006) Getty Villa, Malibu, world premiere translation
- String of Pearls (2006) Los Angeles premiere
- Exits and Entrances (2004) world premiere, Los Angeles
- After the Fall (2002) Los Angeles
- Sweet Nothing in my Ear Victory Gardens, Chicago
- The Road to Mecca (2000) Los Angeles premiere
- Lonely Planet Los Angeles premiere
- The Seagull
- The Boys in the Band 20th Anniversary production
- The Baron in the Trees (1987), adaptation
- The Golden Gate (1991)
- Sweet Nothing in My Ear (1998)
- Mother's Day (1999)
- Central Avenue (2001)
- Open Window (2005), Pasadena Playhouse
- Gilgamesh (2007), adaptation
- Miss Julie: Freedom Summer (2007), new version of August Strindberg's Miss Julie
- Bakersfield Mist (2012)
Sachs' work as a director in Los Angeles has received many awards in Los Angeles; he is the only director in Los Angeles to have won the Ovation Award (L.A.’s version of the Tony Award) for Best Director of a Play twice.
- 2009 Zelda Fichandler Award - SSDC Foundation, to recognize an outstanding director who is making a unique and exceptional contribution to the theatre in their region. (nomination)
- Best Director, 2009 (Coming Home) - LA Weekly Award
- Best Director, 2008 (Victory) - NAACP Theatre Award
- Best Director, 2005 (Exits and Entrances) – Carbonell Award nomination, Florida
- Best Director, 2004 (Exits and Entrances) - Ovation Award, Los Angeles
- Best Director, 2004 (Exits and Entrances) - Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award
- Best Director, 2004 (Exits and Entrances) - L.A. Weekly Award nomination
- Best Director, 2004 (Exits and Entrances) - Maddy Award, Los Angeles
- Best Director, 2003 (Sweet Nothing in my Ear) - Minneapolis
- Best Director, 2002 (After the Fall) - Maddy Award
- Best Director, 2002 (After the Fall) - Ovation Award
- Best Director, 2000 (The Road to Mecca) - Maddy Award
- Best Director, 2000 (The Road to Mecca) - Robby Award nominee
- Best Director, 1996 (Lonely Planet) - Robby Award nominee
- Best Director, 1994 (‘Night Mother) Drama-Logue Award
- Best Director, 1994 (Ashes) Drama-Logue Award
- Best Director, 1993 (The Seagull) Drama-Logue Award
- Best Director, 1992 (Cuckoo’s Nest) Drama-Logue Award
- Best Director, 1991 (Fanon’s People) Drama-Logue Award
- Best Director, 1990 (Golden Gate) Drama-Logue Award
- Best Adaptation, 2007, (Miss Julie) Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle nomination
- Best Adaptation, 2007, (Miss Julie) L.A. Weekly Theatre Award nomination
- Media Access Award for Theatre Excellence (Open Window)
- Finalist, 2001 (Central Avenue) PEN West Literary Award for Drama
- Finalist, 1998 (Sweet Nothing in my Ear) PEN West Literary Award for Drama
- Best Play, 2001 (Central Avenue) Back Stage Garland Award
- Best Play, 2001 (Central Avenue) Beverly Press Maddy Award
- Best Play, 1999 (Mother's Day) Garland Award Honorable Mention
- Best Playwright, 1990 (Golden Gate) Drama-Logue Award
- California Governor’s Media Access Award for Theatre, 1997 (Sweet Nothing in my Ear)
- Citation of Appreciation, 1996, Los Angeles City Council for "enhancing the cultural life of the City of Los Angeles"
-  Fountain Theatre
-  Los Angeles Times July 15,1987
- "LA Stage Alliance"
- "Sachs and Fugard:Peeking Through the Stage Door" LA Weekly May 20, 2004
- "A New Athol Fugard Play Strides On Hollywood's Meaner Streets" New York Times May 25, 2004
- "Stephen Sachs" Lortel Archives - Internet Off-Broadway Database
-  LA Weekly Jan 28, 2008
- "Best of Theatre 2008" Los Angeles Times
- "Sweet Nothing in my Ear" Internet Movie Data Base
- "Open Window"Pasadena Playhouse
- "Hippolytos" Getty Villa press release
- "Miss Julie:Freedom Summer" Vancouver Playhouse
- LA Ovation Awards