Karen Hartman is a 2019 John Simon Memorial Guggenheim Fellow who writes about human beings in the crosshairs of history. Her play Good Faith: Four Chats about Race and the New Haven Fire Department premiered at Yale Repertory Theater in 2019, directed by Kenny Leon.
Three acclaimed recent works, Roz and Ray (Edgerton New Play Prize), The Book of Joseph, and Project Dawn (NEA Art Works Grant, NNPN Rolling World Premiere) had ten productions across the country in the 2016-18 seasons, premiering at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, People's Light, Seattle Rep, and Victory Gardens. The Book of Joseph set records as the highest grossing play in the history of Everyman Theatre in Baltimore.
SuperTrue (Kilroy's List of top plays by women) premiered at Know Theater in Cincinnati in 2018. In 2017, Ms. Hartman received the Deborah Salzer Award for Excellence in Arts Education from Playwrights Project in San Diego. In 2014 -15, Ms. Hartman held the Playwrights' Center’s McKnight Residency and Commission for a nationally recognized playwright.
Current musical collaborations include Alice Bliss (with Jenny Giering and Adam Gwon), for Playwrights Horizons based on Laura Harrington’s contemporary wartime coming-of-age novel, winner of the Weston-Ghostlight New Musical Award, and Rattlesnake Kate with singer/songwriter Neyla Pekarek, commissioned by the Denver Center, based on Pekarek's album Rattlesnake.
As a librettist, Ms. Hartman wrote new dialogue for Mozart’s Magic Flute premiering with Pacific MusicWorks at Seattle’s 1200-seat Meany Center in May 2015. She and composer Graham Reynolds won the Frederick Loewe Award for Music Theater for their pop opera MotherBone. ALICE: Tales of a Curious Girl (Music by Gina Leishman, adapted from Lewis Carroll), was produced by Dallas Theater Center and many other companies, and won the AT&T Onstage Award. Sea Change, a musical with score by AnnMarie Milazzo, was a finalist for the O’Neill Musical Theater Conference.
Goldie, Max, and Milk premiered at Florida Stage and was nominated for the Steinberg/American Critics Award (Best New American Regional Play) and the Carbonell Award (Best New Play in Florida). Gum, which premiered at Baltimore’s Center Stage, has seen dozens of productions at theaters and universities across the country and in Europe. Her many other works include Goliath (Dorothy Silver New Play Prize); Leah’s Train (Weissberger Award Finalist); Going Gone (N.E.A. New Play Grant); Girl Under Grain (Best Drama in NY Fringe); Wild Kate (adapted from Moby Dick) and her Euripides adaptation Troy Women, which has become a staple of college theaters. She is one of five writers of The Antigone Project, with productions off-Broadway, at Baltimore’s Rep Stage, and Portland’s Profile Theater.
Ms. Hartman’s plays have been performed in New York at the Women's Project, National Asian American Theatre Company, P73, and Summer Play Festival, and at regional theaters including Cincinnati Playhouse, Dallas Theater Center, San Diego Rep, Theater J, the Magic, and elsewhere. They are published by Theater Communications Group, Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts, Autumn House Press, Backstage Books, and NoPassport Press.
Hartman’s personal and political essays have been published in the New York Times and the Washington Post. She wrote an introduction for Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas, published in 2017 by Playwrights Canada Press.
A New Dramatists alumna and past Core Member of the Playwright’s Center, Ms. Hartman’s work has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation at Bellagio, the National Endowment for the Arts, Princeton’s Hodder Fellowship, the Helen Merrill Foundation, Space at Ryder Farm, Hedgebrook, MacDowell Colony, the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, a Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award, a Joseph A. Callaway Award from New Dramatists, a Jerome Fellowship, and a Fulbright Scholarship. She has been a guest artist at the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain.
Ms. Hartman grew up in San Diego and graduated from Yale University and the Yale School of Drama. She is Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington, and just returned to Brooklyn after four years in Seattle. In summer 2018, she earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Karen Hartman's play Project Dawn will receive its premiere at People's Light in their 42nd season. The play is the first World Premiere to emerge from the company's New Play Frontiers Residency & Commission program.