Rachel Chavkin

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Rachel Chavkin
Born (1980-07-20) July 20, 1980 (age 39)
EducationNew York University (BFA)
Columbia University (MFA)
Years active2008–present
Spouse(s)Jake Heinrichs (m. 2011)

Rachel Chavkin is an American stage director, best known for directing the musicals Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 and Hadestown, receiving Tony Award nominations for both and winning for Hadestown.


Chavkin was born in Washington, D.C., where her parents were civil rights lawyers. She was raised in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland.[1][2] Chavkin has a BFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts (2008).[3]

She has directed and created many works for The TEAM, including award-winning and internationally touring plays, such as Roosevelvis, Mission Drift and Architecting.[4][5]

She directed Three Pianos which ran Off-Off-Broadway at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater in March 2010[6] and then at the New York Theatre Workshop in December 2010 to January 2011.[7] She won the 2010 Obie Award, Obie Special Citation for Three Pianos.[8][9]

Chavkin directed Dave Malloy's Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which ran Off-Broadway in 2013-2014.[10] Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 received the 2013 Obie Award, Special Citation.[11] Under her direction, the musical opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on November 14, 2016. At the 71st Tony Awards, the musical received twelve nominations, the highest number for the 2016-17 season, including a nomination for Chavkin for Best Director of a Musical.

She directed The Royale by Marco Ramirez, Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center, which opened in March 2016.[12][13] She was nominated for the 2016 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play for directing The Royale.[14] She received the 2016 Obie Award, Direction, for The Royale.[15]

Chavkin directed the folk opera Hadestown, written by Anaïs Mitchell, which opened officially at the Off-Broadway New York Theatre Workshop on May 23, 2016.[16] Following productions in Edmonton and London, Hadestown opened on Broadway in April 2019 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. She went on to win the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical. She directed Anything That Gives Off Light at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2016, in a co-production with The TEAM and The National Theatre of Scotland.[17]

In 2018, she directed Lempicka, which premiered on July 20 at the Williamstown Theater Festival.[18]

Chavkin directed the world premiere of Dave Malloy's Moby-Dick, which opened at the American Repertory Theater of Harvard University on December 11, 2019.


In an article in American Theatre, Diep Tran noted that she has a "diverse slate of work" united with "a distinctively multisensory sensibility.... When she staged Meg Miroshnik’s The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls at Yale Repertory Theatre, she included a live female punk band; her work with the TEAM routinely blends text, video, and pervasive sound design. 'She can squeeze a lot into a small space, and yet it feels epic and sprawling,' said Ars Nova artistic director Jason Eagan."[19]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2013 Obie Award Special Citations Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical Nominated
2014 Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Director Nominated
2016 Obie Award Best Director The Royale: A Play in Six Rounds Won
Elliot Norton Award Outstanding Director, Large Theatre Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Won
2017 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical Won
Tony Award Best Direction of a Musical Nominated
American Ingenuity Award History Won
2019 Tony Award[20] Best Direction of a Musical Hadestown Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical Won
Outer Critics Circle Awards[21] Outstanding Director of a Musical Won
2020 Elliot Norton Award Outstanding Director, Large Theatre Moby-Dick Won


  1. ^ Pressley, Nelson (October 6, 2017). "'Great Comet' director follows Tony nomination with D.C. premiere". The Washington Post.
  2. ^ Paulson, Michael (March 27, 2019). "Her 'Great Comet' Glowed. Now She's Heading to 'Hadestown'". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "People Who Make Theatre: Rachel Chavkin of THE TEAM". HB Studio. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Meet the Directors". The New York Times. 3 February 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  5. ^ "COIL 2012: Rachel Chavkin on The TEAM's "Mission Drift"". Culturebot. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  6. ^ Horwitz, Andy. Three Pianos culturebot.org, March 7, 2010
  7. ^ Grode, Eric. "Taking Schubert for a Wild Joy Ride" The New York Times, December 1, 2010
  8. ^ Three Pianos lortel.org, accessed May 18, 2016
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew. " 'Circle Mirror Transformation', 'Aliens', Metcalf and More Win OBIE Awards" Playbill, May 17, 2010
  10. ^ "Staging a Sisterhood". The New York Times. 3 February 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  11. ^ Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 lortel.org, accessed May 18, 2016
  12. ^ The Royale lortel.org, accessed May 18, 2016
  13. ^ The Royale lct.org, accessed May 18, 2016
  14. ^ Viagas, Robert (April 28, 2016). "'She Loves Me' Leads Drama Desk Nominations". Playbill.
  15. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Winners Announced for 61st Annual Obie Awards" Playbill, May 23, 2016
  16. ^ Clement, Olivia. " Hadestown Opens Tonight at New York Theatre Workshop" Playbill, May 23, 2016
  17. ^ "Edinburgh" theteamplays.org, accessed May 18, 2016
  18. ^ Vine,Hannah. "First Look at Carmen Cusack and Eden Espinosa in Lempicka at Williamstown Theatre Festival". Playbill. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  19. ^ Diep Tran. "Rachel Chavkin’s Great Comet of a Career" American Theatre, September 18, 2015
  20. ^ McPhee, Ryan (2019-04-30). "2019 Tony Award Nominations: Hadestown and Ain't Too Proud Lead the Pack". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  21. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (2019-04-23). "Hadestown, Tootsie & Oklahoma! Lead 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2019-04-23.

External links[edit]