Rachel Chavkin by the Forward

Forward 50 | Rachel Chavkin: Reinventor Of The Broadway Musical

If, in the years since “Hamilton,” you’ve heard buzz about a Broadway show of thrilling originality, chances are it was directed by Rachel Chavkin. Chavkin, the director responsible for “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812,” which debuted on Broadway in 2016, and “Hadestown,” which opened on the Great White Way this spring, has at the age of 39 cemented a reputation as the most innovative director of musical theater around. She’s particularly skilled at taking adaptations of age-old stories — “Great Comet” is based off a 70-page section of “War and Peace;” “Hadestown” on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice — and making them look and sound almost alarmingly new. “The purpose of myths is that we refashion them for our moment,” Chavkin told the Forward in April. Just how far is she willing to take that venture? Here’s a clue: Her follow-up to “Hadestown” was playwright and composer Dave Malloy’s “Moby Dick,” which she premiered at Boston’s American Repertory Theater in December.

Breakfast: Ronnybrook yogurt and granola from the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market.

What’s the last thing you listened to on your phone? I’ve been listening addictively to “Dolly Parton’s America,” which is a podcast.

Earliest Jewish memory: Probably playing pool with the kids at a Seder that we used to attend. The person who hosted had a pool table in the house, so that’s what we would all do after we escaped.

Heroes: Robert F. Kennedy for the sort of spiritual remaking of his lifetime, the willingness to be changed. Marian Wright Edelman for her commitment to fighting for civil rights for children in this country. And Jack Geiger and John Hatch — they started the first community health center.

What is your favorite thing about being Jewish? I would say just my family’s heritage, including a skepticism of being Jewish.

What app can you not live without? Probably the WNYC app.

Weekend ritual: Definitely “CBS Sunday Morning” with my husband. I love the formula of the different stories from week to week. It’s a very tender time to have coffee and be together.

Read more:

The Forward’s April conversation with Chavkin about “Hadestown.”

The Forward’s interview with Chavkin about “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812.”

The Forward’s thoughts on an early preview of Chavkin and Malloy’s “Moby Dick.”

Follow Rachel Chavkin on Twitter @rachelchavkin or Instagram @rachel.chavkin


Rachel Chavkin: Reinventor Of The Broadway Musical

Recommend this article

Forward 50 | Rachel Chavkin: Reinventor Of The Broadway Musical

Thank you!

This article has been sent!