Michael Barakiva is an Armenian/Israeli theater director and writer who lives in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan with his husband, Rafael. He was born in Haifa, Israel and grew up in the suburbs of Central New Jersey, which were much scarier. He attended Vassar College, where he double majored in Drama and English, after which he attended the Juilliard School's Drama Division as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Directing. He has been living in New York City since.
After graduating from Juilliard, Michael supplemented his directing stipends by working as Wendy Wasserstein's typist as well as assisting established directors, including Mark Brokaw and Chris Ashley. His notable directing credits include the premieres of WELCOME TO MY RASH and THIRD by Wendy Wasserstein, the first workshop of the 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, UP by Bridget Carpenter at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and a production of Anton Chekhov's THE SEAGULL at the Blue Heron Arts Center. Michael has directed regularly at Syracuse Stage (Tim Bond, Artistic Director), as well as in and around the Bay Area, where he'd like to live one day because the lack of humidity is his idea of heaven, in spite of what it does to his hair.
Michael dabbled with writing in his twenties by translating/adapting classic plays he'd been hired to direct. Around the time he turned thirty, he lost two of his mentors (both writers) and found that writing was one of the few things that curbed the profound sorrow and grief that followed. His first play, STRING THEORY, published by ConnotationPress (http://www.connotationpress.com/drama...), was co-written with Amy Boyce Holtcamp and Sarah Braunstein and performed at his alma mater, Vassar College. Around the same time, he began writing ONE MAN GUY at the encouragement of his inimitable editor, Joy Peskin. He's currently working on his second novel, a post-apocalyptic science fiction/fantasy adventure entitled THE AETHER WILD, with Rosemary Andress and Suzanne Agins. Other writing projects include HERETIC, a play inspired by the Ancient Roman scientists/philosopher Lucretius, commissioned by the Sloan Foundation, and his blog, Awful Goodness (www.michaelbarakiva.blogspot.com).
Michael is also the Artistic Director of The Upstart Creatures, a theater ensemble he formed dedicated to throwing (meta)physical feasts. In May 2013, Michael and the Upstarts presented a day-long reading of their adaptation of John Milton's PARADISE LOST, complete with two gourmet, multi-course meals prepared and served by the company. They are currently in the process of adapting PARADISE LOST into a musical. www.upstartcreatures.com
Michael has taught Advanced Directing at the National Theater Institute (NTI) at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, where he was married to Rafael Ascencio on May 26th, 2013. His an avid board-game player, and an active member of the New York City Ramblers, the world's first openly-gay organized soccer club, where he was voted Most Improved Player in 2011. He loves to cook, practices Iyengar yoga because he believes in alignment, loves New York City but would consider living somewhere else equally fabulous, and believes that the need for story is an integral part of the human experience.