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Rachel Chavkin

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Rachel Chavkin
Born (1980-07-20) July 20, 1980 (age 43)
EducationNew York University (BFA)
Columbia University (MFA)
Jake Heinrichs
(m. 2011)
RelativesSara Rosenbaum (mother)

Rachel Chavkin (/æˈv.kɪn/; born July 20, 1980) is an American stage director best known for directing the musicals Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 and Hadestown, receiving nominations for a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for both and winning for Hadestown in 2019.

Early life and education[edit]

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] She is a non-practicing Jew.[3]

She has a BFA from New York University and an MFA from Columbia University.[4]


Chavkin currently holds the position of Artistic Director at The TEAM, and has worked to direct and produce many pieces for The TEAM, including award-winning and internationally touring plays, such as Roosevelvis, Mission Drift, and Architecting.[1][2]

She directed Three Pianos which ran off-off-Broadway at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater in March 2010[5] and then at the New York Theatre Workshop in December 2010 to January 2011.[6] She won the 2010 Obie Award, Obie Special Citation for Three Pianos.[7][8]

Chavkin has worked in collaboration with actor and fellow playwright Taylor Mac across multiple projects, including The Lily’s Revenge, Act 2 (HERE); and with Chris Thorpe, including Confirmation and Status

Chavkin directed Dave Malloy's Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which ran off-Broadway in 2013–2014.[9] Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 received the 2013 Obie Award, Special Citation.[10] 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.[11][12] She was nominated for the 2016 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play for directing The Royale.[13] She received the 2016 Obie Award, Direction, for The Royale.[14]

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.[15] 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.[16]

In 2017, Chavkin was presented with the Smithsonian Award for Ingenuity along with Dave Malloy.

In 2018, she directed Lempicka, which premiered on July 20 at the Williamstown Theater Festival.[17]

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.

The Thanksgiving Play made its Broadway debut at the Hayes Theater in 2023, directed by Chavkin.[18] It was the first play by a female Native American playwright (Larissa FastHorse) produced on Broadway.[19]

On February 22, 2023, it was announced that Chavkin would be directing the Broadway-aimed Gatsby musical, which will premiere in 2024 at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[20] [21][22]

Directing style[edit]

In an article in American Theatre, it was 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."[23]

Personal life[edit]

Chavkin married Jake Heinrichs in 2011.

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[24] Best Direction of a Musical Hadestown Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical Won
Outer Critics Circle Awards[25] Outstanding Director of a Musical Won
2020 Elliot Norton Award Outstanding Director, Large Theatre Moby-Dick (2019) Won


  1. ^ a b Pressley, Nelson (October 6, 2017). "'Great Comet' director follows Tony nomination with D.C. premiere". The Washington Post.
  2. ^ a b Paulson, Michael (March 27, 2019). "Her 'Great Comet' Glowed. Now She's Heading to 'Hadestown'". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Everything You Need to Know About 'Hadestown' Director Rachel Chavkin". Alma. April 29, 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  4. ^ "People Who Make Theatre: Rachel Chavkin of THE TEAM". HB Studio. May 12, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  5. ^ Horwitz, Andy. Three Pianos culturebot.org, March 7, 2010
  6. ^ Grode, Eric. "Taking Schubert for a Wild Joy Ride" The New York Times, December 1, 2010
  7. ^ Three Pianos lortel.org, accessed May 18, 2016
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew. " 'Circle Mirror Transformation', 'Aliens', Metcalf and More Win OBIE Awards" Playbill, May 17, 2010
  9. ^ "Staging a Sisterhood". The New York Times. February 3, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  10. ^ Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 lortel.org, accessed May 18, 2016
  11. ^ The Royale lortel.org, accessed May 18, 2016
  12. ^ The Royale lct.org, accessed May 18, 2016
  13. ^ Viagas, Robert (April 28, 2016). "'She Loves Me' Leads Drama Desk Nominations". Playbill.
  14. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Winners Announced for 61st Annual Obie Awards" Playbill, May 23, 2016
  15. ^ Clement, Olivia. " Hadestown Opens Tonight at New York Theatre Workshop" Playbill, May 23, 2016
  16. ^ "Edinburgh" theteamplays.org, accessed May 18, 2016
  17. ^ Vine,Hannah (July 25, 2018). "First Look at Carmen Cusack and Eden Espinosa in Lempicka at Williamstown Theatre Festival". Playbill. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  18. ^ Paulson, Michael (June 2, 2022). "'The Thanksgiving Play' Sends Up America. Now It's Coming to Broadway". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 15, 2024.
  19. ^ Thacker, Stacy. "Larissa Fasthorse Becomes First Native American Woman Playwright on Broadway". Native News Online.
  20. ^ Masseron, Meg; Gans, Andrew (February 22, 2023). "Rachel Chavkin and Sonya Tayeh Join Gatsby Creative Team; Musical Sets 2024 Premiere". Playbill. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  21. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie (February 22, 2023). "Florence Welch-scored 'Gatsby' musical announces world premiere directed by Rachel Chavkin". Broadway News. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  22. ^ Wild, Stephi. "GATSBY, Featuring Music By Florence Welch, Directed by Rachel Chavkin, Will Premiere at A.R.T. in 2024". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  23. ^ Diep Tran. "Rachel Chavkin's Great Comet of a Career" American Theatre, September 18, 2015
  24. ^ McPhee, Ryan (April 30, 2019). "2019 Tony Award Nominations: Hadestown and Ain't Too Proud Lead the Pack". Playbill. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  25. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (April 23, 2019). "Hadestown, Tootsie & Oklahoma! Lead 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations". Broadway.com. Retrieved April 23, 2019.

External links[edit]