Karen Kessler joined the Ensemble in 2007 and her home credits include, directing the world premiere of Brett Neveu’s The Opponent in 2012 - then moved with the show to New York City’s 59E59 Theatres in the late summer of 2014 - the Chicago premiere of Jennifer Haley’s The Nether, the Chicago premiere of Zinnie Harris’s Solstice, and the Chicago premiere of Paul Mullin’s Louis Slotin Sonata. She also performed in the Chicago premiere of Blasted by Sarah Kane, the Chicago premiere of Mr. Kolpert by German playwright David Gieselmann and the US premiere of Gagarin’s Way by Scottish playwright Gregory Burke.
Her other Chicago area work includes a production of A Number at Backstage Theatre Company, the US premiere of Roddy Doyle’s War at Seanachai Theatre Company, the Midwest premiere of Sam Shepard’s The God of Hell at the Next Theatre in Evanston and a staged reading of Susan Nussbaum’s Crippled Sisters for the Goodman Theatre’s New Play Series. Karen is the past artistic director of the Famous Door Theatre where she directed the world premiere of Early and Often, the world premiere of A Mislaid Heaven, (a play that won a Jeff Award for Best New Work), the US premiere of A Going Concern, This Lime Tree Brower and Remembrance. Other Chicago credits include: Alias Grace, Wrens (a play that won a Jeff Award for Best New Work), The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, Hamlet, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Alias Grace for Rivendell Theatre Ensemble-a company which Karen co-founded; and the Midwest premiere of Steve Martin’s The Underpants for Noble Fool Productions. Her credits outside of Chicago include: Hank Williams’ Lost Highway at the Clarence Brown Theatre in Knoxville, TN; Glengarry Glen Ross for the Northern Stage Ensemble in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England; Measure for Measure for Connecticut Repertory Theatre; The Three Musketeers, Scapin, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, and All’s Well That Ends Well at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival; and the Merry Wives of Windsor and The Complete History of America (Abridged) for Idaho Repertory Theatre. Karen lives in Muncie, IN, where she is a professor of directing at Ball State University.