NOV 8, 2018 - DEC 2, 2018 

"Outstanding direction by Claire Karpen and a top-notch cast that brings Aiello's finely written story to life...This affecting, coming of age story about love, loyalty, and longing is laced with clever humor.”

- Broadway World

"Scott Aiello's play about an Italian-American family dealing with a disabled daughter offers no-nonsense American realism."


Strangemen Theatre Company presents


By Scott Aiello
Directed by Claire Karpen
Bernie and Mikey are perched on the edge of adulthood—a sister and brother trapped between the lives they crave and the circumstances they were born into. The children of a working class Italian family in 1990s Chicago, Mikey is torn between unrealized potential and loyalty to his sister, while Bernie, living with a cognitive disability, longs to find her voice but faces a world unwilling to listen. 

The world premiere debut of playwright Scott Aiello, Bernie and Mikey's Trip to the Moon is a heart-wrenching comedy about one family's coming of age, as they reckon with what they're willing to sacrifice to protect one another—and what they won't.
Tue - Fri at 7:15
Sat 2:15 & 7:15
Sun at 2:15
Wednesday, November 21 at 7:15

Detroit Public Theatre

" of the most satisfying and moving new plays I have seen...The cast is uniformly good, but Karpen shines in the lead role. The actress, in her mid-30s, convincingly moves from high school to the nursing home without the aid of age-enhancing makeup."  - DETROIT FREE PRESS

"Claire Karpen as Ernestine is marvelous, filling this woman at all ages with both sweetness and strength." - ENCORE MICHIGAN

 "a masterful performance." - a2artsAddict 

(Quincy Dunn-Baker and Claire Karpen.  Photo by Carol Rosegg)


by Melissa Ross
directed by Mimi O'Donnell
with Claire Karpen and Quincy Dunn-Baker


"As directed by Mimi O’Donnell, Quincy Dunn-Baker and Claire Karpen are funny, real, and devastating as a divorced couple with one last thing to share. "
- The New Yorker

"Melissa Ross’s “Jack".... lands quite the emotional punch. George and Maggie (Quincy Dunn-Baker and Claire Karpen, both pitch-perfect)"
- The New York Times

Directed by Claire Karpen and James Ortiz

Now Available on BROADWAY HD Go Beyond Oz with the Cast of Off-Broadway's The Woodsman
BroadwayWorld FREEZE FRAME: Meet the Cast of Off-Broadway's THE WOODSMAN
TheaterMania Meet the Tin Man and the Cast of The Woodsman VIDEO James Ortiz on Bringing the Untold Story of Oz's Tin Man to Off-Broadway With The Woodsman

Fiasco Theatre's
by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine
London, UK


by A.R. Gurney
directed by Daniel Sullivan

Bedroom Farce
by Alan Ayckbourn
at Westport Country Playhouse

Photo by Carol Rossegg. Featuring Scott Drummond, Carson Elrod, Sarah Manton and Claire Karpen.

"strong are Ms. Lowrance and Ms. Karpen, with easy fluidity and lived-in depths percolating behind their characters’ exteriors." - NYTIMES

"If I had three or four paragraphs to spare, I’d spend them cheering for the cast." - WALL STREET JOURNAL

by Michael Perlman

With Rachel Christopher, Craig Divino, Claire Karpen, Jimmy King,
Ben Mehl, Aaron Rossini, Jude Sandy and Stacey Yen 

Into the Woods &The Woodsman
in the "highbrow/brilliant" quadrant of New York Magazine's Approval Matrix

Glowing reviews for The Woodsman

Co-Directed by Claire Karpen and James Ortiz
Produced by Robb Nanus and Rachel Sussman with Strangemen & Co.
Associate Directed by Devin Dunne Cannon
Music by Edward W. Hardy

Get tickets now at 59E59

New York Times: "Directed by Claire Karpen and Mr. Ortiz, this ambitious production by Strangemen & Co. at 59E59 Theaters has much to recommend it." 

Huffington Post: "Excitingly, they should improve and grow by leaps and bounds as they continue to mount works. Fans of Pigpen Theatre Co. and original theater in general take note."

Timeout New York (CRITICS PICK): "Touching on mortality, futility and fate, The Woodsman is a grown-up fairy tale that proves happiness is a worthwhile goal, even if it doesn’t last ever after."

TheatreMania: "Just as no measure is left un-choreographed, no moment is left without emotional intention, creating an efficient engine that powers a robust heartbeat."

Vulture: "There's not an unconsidered moment: Every element contributes, echoes, foretells. Many a production costing 100 times as much could benefit from Strangemen's level of attention to storytelling detail."


Here us talk about INTO THE WOODS with BWW TV's Richard Ridge:

INTO THE WOODS is featured in The New Yorker

Photo by IOULEX


Huffington Post features article about THE WOODSMAN
by Steve Schonberg interviewing Claire Karpen and co-director James Ortiz

"I think that our culture right now is so technological and in some ways so virtual, and our response to that is that we're really hungry for things that are tangible," Karpen continued. "There's something about the woods, and the mystery of the woods that needs to be experienced... which is why I also think people go to the theater."

Read more:

Photo by Hunter Canning


"I fell head over heels." - Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Paul Coffey, Claire Karpen and Matt Castle.  Photo by Matt Pilsner.

"And as rendered by the Baker and his Wife (Mr. Steinfeld and Jessie Austrian), Cinderella (Claire Karpen), Little Red Riding Hood (Emily Young) and a maternally warped witch (Jennifer Mudge), these songs of reckoning come across as some of the most poignant declarations of ambivalence Mr. Sondheim ever wrote."

- Ben Brantley's NYTIMES review.

Classic Stage Company

With Dave Quay, Carson Elrod and Claire Karpen.  Photo by Richard Termine.

"The entire cast excels... Ms. Karpen has an earthy deadpan style that well suits her character’s frequent exclamations of disgust at her employer’s behavior."

- Charles Isherwood, The New York Times


co-directed by Claire Karpen and James Ortiz at 59E59:

"The grace of the staging by Ortiz and codirector Claire Karpen is aesthetically captivating while also impressively precise in its storytelling. " - Theatremania

"Creative, entertaining, haunting, and beautifully tragic."

"The real triumph is the unity of the company... The result is theater with a sense of urgency and imagination that I want to experience all the time." -

"Strangemen and Co’s The Woodsman, with their deep respect for story and transcendent stagecraft, stands out as one of the most authentic presentations of Oz that I have ever seen." - New York Theatre Review

"Spare, inspiring, moving, delightful theatre!" - 

Workshopping a new play with Fault Line Theater Company: 

The Cherry Orchard, directed by Tara Ahmadinejad
MFA Columbia Graduate Directing program


music and lyrics by Mike Pettry
book by Claire Karpen and Mike Pettry

2012 ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Workshop participant with Stephen Schwartz
2012 ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Lyric Award recipient Mike Pettry

Three high school seniors try to escape their West Virginia roots by making a short film, but are soon seduced by the idea of starting a porno production company. For a small fee, locals get to act in pornos that the kids write, film, and produce. They get to refine their filmmaking skills and save money for college, but find themselves growing up much too fast. 

Demos below feature the talents of Alex Brightman, F. Michael Haynie, Hannah Elless, Lorinda LIstitza, Lindsay Mendez and Jason "Sweettooth" Williams.



Claire Karpen with Beth Fowler in Don't Talk to the Actors at Penguin Rep.

"Claire Karpen carries off Lucinda’s obsessive work ethic and jarring outfits with panache." 

The New York Times review of Don't Talk To Actors by Tom Dudzick, directed by Thomas Caruso at the Penguin Rep Theater in Stony Brook, NY. 


A short independent film The House on Cox Curve

directed by Eamon O'Rourke and produced by Sophie Finkelstein.