Back to Oz

Bedroom Farce
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, which contains several Westport Country Playhouse veterans who’ve acted together in the company’s previous Ayckbourn productions." - WALL STREET JOURNAL

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.



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


Claire shot this commercial for, directed by Bob Balaban and featuring several talented Improv artists and stand up comics from all over the country.


AT&T/Iphone 5 Commercial 



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.