"If Dionysos is grinning, I know it's theater."

Theater Director


Tempest   Critics’ Pick New York Times 2014

I Killed My Mother   Critics' Pick Time Out Chicago 2010

The House of Bernarda Alba   Best Ensemble and best actress in 2004 The New York Observer; 2005 Premio Dams First Prize-Foreign at the University of Bologna, Italy
Julius Caesar   Critics' Pick Time Out New York 2003

Everything That Rises Must Converge   Critics' Pick Time Out New York 2001

King John   Best Production of 2000 in The New York Observer
Victor or Children Take Over   Encore OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR AWARD 1996


texts&beheadings/ElizabethR (Folger, Washington, DC; BAM Next Wave Festival, New York)
"This witty, hourlong performance piece was created by Compagnia's founder, Karin Coonrod, a theater artist of far-reaching inventiveness.  And it deploys what might be called a style that deconstructs to reconstruct."  Ben Brantley, The New York Times, 2015

I Killed My Mother (Greenhouse, Chicago; LaMama, New York)
“…stark poetic production…”
Ben Brantley THE NEW YORK TIMES 2012

“Under Coonrod’s precise direction, they (the actors) utterly physicalize their performances, delivering the immediate goods. Their flirtations with tricky diction and music likewise leave nothing to be desired.”

More Or Less I Am (Grant’s Tomb, New York City)
“…it felt as though we’d created, audience and performers together, a real community. To risk sounding trite, we’d become Whitman’s Americans living in his America.”
Ian Crouch, THE NEW YORKER 2010

Phoenician Women (Columbia University, NYC)
“…the production is more than merely watchable: it is a masterpiece.
Set on a nearly bare stage…Coonrod lets the language of the play and the choreography of the actors take center stage.”
BWOG, Columbia University’s undergraduate magazine, November 2009

Coriolanus (John Jay Theater, NYC)
“…Karin Coonrod’s bold and brilliant new production of Coriolanus…”
John Heilpern THE NEW YORK OBSERVER 2005

Julius Caesar (Lucille Lortell Theater, NYC)
“…Some of New York’s most lucid and satisfying Shakespeare recently has been the vision of a director named Karin Coonrod.”
Linda Winer, NEW YORK NEWSDAY 2003

“Her unshowy knowledge of the text and clear-eyed imaginative intelligence make a thrilling contribution.”
John Heilpern, New York Observer 2003
Critics Picks in TIME OUT NEW YORK 2003

Enrico IV (ART, Cambridge)
“…Karin Coonrod’s galvanic production of Enrico IV…gorgeous nerve-jangling production charmingly macabre as to be terrifying. David Patrick Kelly in the title role…is so persuasive in his presumed lunacy, psychotic-seeming…brilliant in verbal bombarding…the very embodiment of a perceptible but unknowable threat.”
Bruce Weber THE NEW YORK TIMES 2002

Everything That Rises Must Converge (New York Theatre Workshop)
“There isn’t a word here that doesn’t come from ‘A View of the Woods’, ‘Greenleaf’ or ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge’. The ensemble is terrific, smoothly slipping in and out of character. It’s also gratifying to see so many body types—stout, skinny, short and tall—onstage together, like a tiny village bustling about…dark unsettling magic of O’Connor’s art—coming through full force in this exceptionally sensitive translation.”
David Cote TIME OUT NEW YORK 2001

King John ( with Theatre for a New Audience at American Place Theater)
“…a thrilling achievement. Though it has a few inconsequential flaws, Karin Coonrod’s brilliant production of the little-known political drama that swims in murderous expediency is the best Shakespeare I’ve seen for many a season…Coonrod’s intelligent production has a sure touch in its urgent rhythm and pace; its theatricality is innate, not showy; the isolated images within the spare staging are well chosen and memorable…It’s a major contribution to be heard as well as seen.”
John Heilpern THE NEW YORK OBSERVER 2000
Critics Picks in TIME OUT NEW YORK 2000

Henry VI, 1,2,3 (The Public Theater, NYC)
“…for the resourceful Karin Coonrod…what is merely tedious on the page can take on wit and fire for a stage…prodigiously inventive Ms. Coonrod…has telescoped and rearranged the text to sustain a galloping pace and to keep bewilderment to a minimum…Coonrod’s take is refreshingly novel…”
Ben Brantley, THE NEW YORK TIMES 1996

“The moment the disembodied voice ‘masterpiece theater’ voice intones a snooty introduction to the two-part six-hour “Henry VI, Parts 1, 2 and 3” at the New York Shakespeare Festival, we suspect we have stumbled into the grip of confident hands…this people’s theater…radically grunged down, gutted, scribbled upon and reconfigured into a dark slash of stage with audiences on both sides…Coonrod has come up with an audacious, lucid, visceral and entertaining vision for these problematic plays.”
Linda Winer NEW YORK NEWSDAY 1996

“The director, Karin Coonrod and her very strong cast have created a vivid intense production that also plays up Shakespeare’s jokes---and so for once it is possible to care about the fate oef the infant king and the causes of the Wars of the Roses…the staging is remarkably unstuffy…. Coonrod has created some particularly powerful moments as when Joan of Arc and the just-killed English general Talbot silently stare at each other, or when the rebellious Duke of York makes his passionate final speech.”

“It is fitting that, as the Shakespeare marathon draws to a close, a sharp, intelligent, rising young woman will transport us to pre-Richard III England. Her ambitious mission: to essay how the Houses of York and Lancaster became as messy as the House of Atreus. In the male-dominated field of American stage directing, this makes Coonrod a warrior-queen in her own right.”

“The great virtue of this big but inventively bare-boned production was the director Karin Coonrod’s ability to make clear the complex narrative."
Vincent Canby THE NEW YORK TIMES 1997

Victor Or Children Take Over (Ohio Theater, NYC)
“…a smashing revival..Coonrod’s intelligent visually compelling staging taps into what adults find both frightening and exhilarating in children: a pure streak of anarchy…for a stylized director, working with an inordinately stylized piece, she is admirable for refusing to coast on the play’s surface.”
Ben Brantley THE NEW YORK TIMES 1996

“If I were asked to select a favorite among the plays presented this season in New York, it would be Arden Party’s production of Roger VItrac’s Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir (Victor or Children Take Over). This show is the ultimate romp. Although I was not of age to witness the short run of the original production in 1928, I did rush to the 1962 revival directed by Jean Anouilh. His production was received as one of the events of the season, but compared to Karin Coonrod’s extravaganza it was a boring museum piece…”
Rosette C. Lamont THEATER WEEK 1996

"Exceptionally well acted, Karin Coonrod’s staging of Sexton’s 1971 retelling of tales by the Brothers Grimm conveys the perversity, sadness and savage irony that make this collection of poems so seductive and disturbing.”
Lou Charbonneau THE VILLAGE VOICE 1992

King Lear (Ohio Theater, NYC)
“Karin Coonrod directs from sharp angles, but our perception is more often than not generously enlarged. This is shrewd, imaginative staging…”
Charles McNulty THE VILLAGE VOICE 1994

The Importance of Being Earnest (Ohio Theater, NYC)
“This Earnest is an original, offering new, often startling, interpretations of well-loved characters. Under merciless white lights Coonrod catches them scrambling to strike the perfect pose over a postmodern cucumber sandwich.”
Francine Russo THE VILLAGE VOICE 1992

The Giants of the Mountain (Ohio Theater, NYC)
“Arden Party is presenting a superb version of this rarely performed play in an all too brief run at the Ohio Theatre on Wooster Street. Pirandello is commenting on our dramatic traditions…it is a lesson for us what theater can, and ought, to be; potent, mysterious, open to multiple interpretations, both teasing and fulfilling its audience. The design elements are sensitive yet vivid, the acting in the large cast ranges from good to brilliant, and the overall direction by Karin Coonrod, is masterful.”
Richard Hornby New York Press 1988