Directing Stage Directors & Choreographers Society  
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Selected Credits: New York & International Two-Page Directing Resume PDF  
  Full Production Credits: Training Programs
Curriculum Vitae PDF  
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  Selected Credits: Regional  
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Richard III

William Shakespeare

Virginia Shakespeare Festival, 2013



A Christmas Carol

adapted by David Zarko

WVIA TV & FM, Sordoni Theater, 2011


Under Milk Wood

Dylan Thomas

Electric Theatre Company, 2010


Lawnchairs (premiere)

Nancy Hasty

Electric Theatre Company, 2010


The Very Nearly Perfect Comedy of Romeo & Juliet

Zuppa del Giorno, based on the Bard

Electric Theatre Company, 2009


A Christmas Carol

adapted by David Zarko

Electric Theatre Company, 2008, 2009, 2010


Arms and the Man

George Bernard Shaw

Electric Theatre Company, 2008


Doubt, a Parable

John Patrick Shanley

The Northeast Theatre, 2008


A Christmas Carol

adapted by David Zarko

The Northeast Theatre, 2007


The O. Henry Conspiracy

created with Richard Grunn & Duane Noch

The Northeast Theatre, 2007


Prohibitive Standards (devised)

Zuppa del Giorno, scenario by Steve Deighan

The Northeast Theatre, 2007


An American Wife (premiere)

Michael Downend and Karen Blomain

The Northeast Theatre, 2007


The Poor of Scranton

Dion Boucicault, adapted by John Beck

The Northeast Theatre, 2006


The Key (devised in part)

Richard Grunn

The Northeast Theatre, 2006


Waiting for the Parade

John Murrell

The Northeast Theatre, 2006


The Woman in Black

Stephen Mallatratt

The Northeast Theatre, 2005


The Waiting Room (premiere)

Simon R. Brook

Virginia Premiere Theatre, 2005


The Same Life Over (premiere)

Mark Medoff

The Northeast Theatre, 2004


Legal Snarls (premiere)

Steve Deighan

The Northeast Theatre, 2004


Lettice and Lovage

Peter Shaffer

The Northeast Theatre, 2004


Three Stories by Chekhov

Anton Chekhov, adapted by David Zarko

The Northeast Theatre, 2003


Noble Aspirations (devised)

Zuppa del Giorno, developed in rehearsal

The Northeast Theatre, 2003


A Christmas Carol (premiere)

adapted by David Zarko

The Northeast Theatre, 2002



The Apple Cart

George Bernard Shaw

Cider Mill Playhouse, 2002


The Glass Menagerie

Tennessee Williams

The Northeast Theatre, 2002


Additional Particulars

Ed Simpson

Keystone Repertory Theatre, 2002



Michael Frayn

The Northeast Theatre, 2002


A Perfect Ganesh

Terrance McNally

The Northeast Theatre, 2001


The O. Henry Conspiracy

created with Richard Grunn & Duane Noch

Sullivan County Summer Theater, 2001


The Foreigner

Larry Shue

Keystone Repertory Theater, 2001


Wenceslas Square

Larry Shue

The Northeast Theater, 2001



Der Talisman (with music)

J. N. Nestroy

National Theater for the Performing Arts, 2001



Mananas de abril y mayo (with music)


Nat'l Theater for the Performing Arts, 2000 & 2001



The Barber of Seville (with music)


National Theater for the Performing Arts, 1999



Grimms' Fairy Tales (premiere with music)

Sheila Biggs, Katie Rosatti, ClayZambo

Nat'l Theater for the Performing Arts, 1999 & 2000



Tour de France (original musical)

Lila Martin

Nat'l Theater for the Performing Arts, 1998 & 1999


Elephant Sighs (premiere)

Ed Simpson

Keystone Repertory Theater, 1998



Lend Me a Tenor

Ken Ludwig

Summer Theatre-by-the-Grove, 1994


Lend Me a Tenor

Ken Ludwig

Michigan Ensemble Theatre, 1993


The Fantasticks

Schmidt and Jones

Michigan Ensemble Theatre, 1992



Greater Tuna

Williams, Sears & Howard

Allegheney Highlands Regional Theater, 1991



The Boys Next Door

Tom Griffin

Summer Theatre-by-the-Grove, 1991


The Nerd

Larry Shue

Summer Theatre-by-the-Grove, 1990



The Bear and The Proposal (premiere)

Anton Chekhov, adapted by David Zarko

Catskill Mountain Theater, 1989



Musical Comedy Murders of 1940

John Bishop

Summer Theatre-by-the-Grove, 1989



Kaufman and Friends (music and comedy review)

Geo. S. Kaufman, compiled by David Zarko

Catskill Mountain Theater, 1988



Spoon River Anthology (with music)

Edgar Lee Masters

Catskill Mountain Theater, 1987


Female Transport

Steve Gooch

The Bear Republic Theater, 1984



La Ronde

Arthur Schnitzler

with Greg Fritsch, Rainbow Ensemble, 1984



Division Street

Steve Tesich

The Bear Republic Theater, 1983


Play it Again, Sam

Woody Allen

Rainbow Ensemble, 1983


The Elephant Man

Bernard Pomerance

The Bear Republic Theater, 1982

Richard III A dynamite cast, wonderful creative team, fabulous management -- one of the great experiences of my life. Audiences laughed, moaned, hissed, gasped, and talked back through every show. It was a dream come true. Richard III
  Richard III  
A very funny surrealistic play by Australian playwright Simon Brook, this was a production with old friends and a total joy to work on. It played at the Kimball Theatre in Williamsburg, VA.
There are no reviews that I can find.

A dozen or so years after I played Charlie, I got to direct the show. Larry Shue's premature death was one of the greatest losses American theatre has ever sustained. He grew by leaps and bounds with every show he wrote, and every one of them is a joy to direct and a dream to act.

The review quoted below was very favorable, but made no mention of the direction, nor did it state anything about the show in gereral. The lines below are a chop job.

...a warm fuzzy feeling from a farce or tears in your eyes motivated by both sentimentality and laughter... impressively... "The Foreginer" delights in its perfect simplicity.
Anna Rosenstein -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
This is a wonderful play by Ed Simpson about male bonding and the need that guys sometimes have to run away from it all. The production I directed was the premiere production of the play. It has since been made into an independent film starring Ed Asner and John Cariani.  
There were no reviews.    

When I took the job at TNT (later ETC) I asked the board for criteria for chosing plays. They said to choose anything I wanted to do. So, I did. This play was on the top of my list at the time. It deals with issues that are current and important, uses imagry that speaks strongly to me (as a meditator) and does so with humor and a strong and wiley theatrical flair.  
It's a production done so well that, I guarantee that by the end of an evening at Brooks you will be both kissed by laughter shedding a few tears. For in this play the two emotions beautifully intertwine to create a memorable evening of theater. Hats off to Producing Artistic Director, David Zarko for an exceptional job. The production demonstrates great sensitivity, hard work and incredible nuance to the author's intention.
Joe Caputo, The Scranton Times

"A Perfect Ganesh" is notable for its richly theatrical presentation, well-staged by TNT. It will likely inspire you with questions -- questions that you may not even be able to formulate until after a good night's sleep.
Alicia Grega-Pikul, Electric City

  Benefactors is one of the most challenging plays I've worked on. Fortunately, I had a cast that was up to it and kept me on track. I staged it in the round which reflected the shifting alliances and loyalties that are the fabric of the play, and helped to illustrate the leaps in time and space that Frayn weaves through his script.
The language demands one's concentration but is riveting and born out of the realities of the specific yet familiar characters. Director David Zarko wisely builds his production around these people, keeping technical elements effectively simple.
Alicia Grega-Pikul, Electric City
This was the premiere production of two related one-acts by Ed Simpson. The actors, Duane Noch, Nathan Anderson, Amber Irvin, and Geoff Gould, are four of my favorites to work with anywhere, anytime, and I love Ed's plays, so this was a fantastic experience that still seems like it happened just last summer.
    There were no reviews
One of the challenges with with deciding to do A Glass Menagerie is that the public seems to think of it as rather glum. I don't see it as glum at all, and we didn't do it that way. Cynthia Hewett played Amanda in her forties, still attractive, caring, and with a sense of humor. She was ambitious and prodding but also charming and likable. This allowed her motives to be understandable and her actions, well-intended. Cynthia's performance brought the play's depth and complexity into full relief.
That is an awesome task for any theater group. TNT's professional company handles the job beautifully. The cast artfully walks a tightrope, tautly drawn over the playing area in their choreographed ballet between the two distant points of illusion and of those rare moments in the theatre. TNT is to be applauded for bringing a classic to the area stage.
Joe Caputo, The Scranton Times
  Once again, TNT has proven itself worthy of the label professional... Whether you've always been in love with live theatre, or you have yet to experience the magic, this production of "The Glass Menagerie" will summon forth your passion.
Alicia Grega-Pikul, Electric City
Michigan Ensemble Theater was an especially ambitious company started by Barry Cole with Gary Garrison and Maggie Lally in Traverse City. We auditioned in three cities, assembled a strong company, and had excellent technical support. Then, when the producer posted reviews on foam core in the lobby, by policy, and one of them spoke unfavorably about the fellow playing El Gallo, the actor threw a fit and got himself fired. The male understudy, Guy Molnar, stepped in on a day's notice and did the rest of a six week run, and beautifully.

But that was the least of it. On the first night of the run, before official opening, the fellow playing Huckleby developed nodes on his larynx and was told he could not sing for five weeks. Maggie looked at me and noted that I knew the show better than anyone else there, so I stepped in that night and did all but the final performance when the original actor was able to come back.
There were reviews but I can't find them.
  What I recall enjoying about this production was its music hall quality; concise scenes that could stand alone, each with a strong motif, and an emphasis on language that is rich in its musicality. I don't know if I was able to get any of that to show in this production, but it was my first chance to direct a play that intimidated me and I will always remember it fondly.
Under David Zarko's consummate direction, Bernard Pomerance's award-winning drama comes alive with sensitivity, resourcefulness and compelling power.  Zarko choreographs his cast on a dark stage minimally set with a runway... Zarko's staging and direction seems to make... ethereal concerns materialize on stage.
Rick Chatenever, The Santa Cruz Sentinel

All I really remember about this production was that the writing amazed me. Shue's craft in telling a story is only outshown by his ability to slide into jokes without warning. His penchant for silliness is unrivaled in its success.

Much of the credit for the success of this Summer Theatre-by-the-Grove production lands squarely upon the shoulders of director David Zarko, who possesses a sick but extremely creative vision of comedy.
The Indiana Gazette
  This show was so much fun. With apologies to Mr. Allen, I took some liberties with staging. We put the whole play on a sound stage so that the play itself was being shot as a movie with Bogie as the director. We added a grip, and a camera man, and a makeup girl, and the curtain call was filmed and shown on a screen set up for the purpose. It was terrific, and the cast eagerly and generously contributed to making the interpretation work.
With Zarko's resourcefulness evident throughout, the [play] proves to be a winner.  Zarko came up with the novel touch of turning the play into a film-within-a-play... this very creative addition to Allen's original vision will leave even viewers very familiar with the original play delightfully surprised.
Rick Chatenever, The Santa Cruz Sentinel
  I had a terrific cast for this production. They totally understood that in farce it is imperative to play each act as a comic device and not to allow yourself to get caught in playing individual gags and bits. I have to agree with the reviewer on this (I don't always, even when they are positive), they nailed it with class, skill, and an unrelentingly urgent forward motion. Wish I had pictures.
Under David Zarko's deft direction, the ridiculous complications pile up with gravity-defying skill, sending the audience on a dizzying joy ride with the top down and the pedal floored.
Traverse City Herald
  I spent a lot of time with the actors for this production, helping them with accents and language, with relationships, with allowing their interpretations to come from a grounded and genuine place. I got to direct this again for the American Academy many years later, and was thereby afforded a chance to correct my mistakes in not having spent enough time with the arc and unfolding of the story in the earlier production.
Director David Zarko establishes the mood in the first few moments, and the pace is spare and elegant throughout.
Ann Bennett, The Paharonian Green Sheet
I created a word-for-word stage version of the classic tale for this production. The script has been revised and used several times since, but this was the only full production, the others being some variation of a staged reading. Anyone seeking a really unusual and affective Carol that brings all of Dickens' wit, humor, and commentary with it, should check out this script (under "Playwrighting" on the home page.)
    There were no reviews.
This was Zuppa del Giorno's premiere creation. We held weekend meetings and skill-swap sessions starting in August 2002 and periodically until April 2003 before formal rehearsals began. During that time, we created a scenario using classic commedia characters and plots as inspiration, but we named characters and structured plots ourselves. During rehearsal, the physical lazzi was choreographed and a set-piece created so that performances could be largely improvised. There was lots of audience interaction, and even the set-piece changed (by consensus) every night. The four actors played 14 characters with full costume changes.
Daring, innovative, risky, energetic, silly, hysterical, refreshing, outrageous. It may sound like a mixed-up list of adjectives rather than the lead line for a review, but Friday night's performance of the Northeast Theatre's Zuppa Del Giorno: "Noble Aspirations" is just that, and about as varied and spontaneous as the patterns of letters found in a bowl of alphabet soup. Only this time, the "soup of the day" is very fresh, creatively concocted and served up with the theatrical flair one can only expect from the talented professional theater company at TNT.
Joe Caputo, The Scranton Times
These were translation/adaptations I began in the mid-seventies when my high school Russian was still enough available to be up to the task. The plays were brushed up for production in the late eighties, and dusted off for this production 15 years after that. Clockwise starting with the one below, they are The Barbarian, Swan Song, and The Proposal. Check "Playwrighting" for samples.  
  There were no reviews.
I chose this play as a vehicle for the two actresses involved, Page Clements and Mary Ethel Schmidt. Pete Rush gave us a set that was a full two stories high and rotated to reveal different aspects of the same structure which created distinct locations for each of the three acts.
Directed by producing artistic director David Zarko the comedic presentation surely meets the strict criteria set forth by Lettice's unconventional Shakespearean actress mother  -  that is to say it enlarges, enlightens and enlivens.
Alicia Pikul, Electric City
This may be my favorite project of all time. Or at least one of them. Legal Snarls was the second show that Zuppa del Giorno created, and I asked my old pal Steve Deighan to fashion a script in the style of the Marx Brothers, but completely original. I put it all on wheels so that actors could scoot around on a table or chair or bench. Pete Rush, whose brilliant set it was, put us in the square with working doors at three corners and a door frame on the fourth. No effort was made to conceal the "backstage". The whole thing felt like a circus, and was wonderful, zany, fun.
  Director David Zarko consistently guides the action in slapstick circles that visually enforces the audio gymnastics of Groucho's wit.
Alicia Grega-Pikul, Electric City
Tony Award-winning playwright Medoff worked closely with The Northeast Theatre's artistic director David Zarko on the world premiere production of his play. Set in modern-day New Mexico, the minimalist script was subject to substantial change hours before opening last Thursday. Still, the show has received standing ovations from reportedly sizable audiences.
Alicia Grega-Pikul, Electric City
Mark sent me this play late in 2002, and I was instantly intrigued by it. It is a love story set within a detective thriller. We worked on it together, both before and during rehearsals -- Mark always open to my suggestions -- and right through the last preview. The cast, bless them all, worked with us, relearning whole pages of dialogue as revisions came in, then putting them into performance that night. The result was a strong script that was starkly beautiful.  
    For as successfully as director Zarko has steered the play's course smartly along its bottom line of simplicity, astonishing effects are achieved in Jim Langan's lighting design and Bart Fasbender's sound support.
Alicia Grega-Pikul, Electric City
This play is pure storytelling, and it gave me, the designers, and the actors ample opportunity to refine our various crafts in that regard. For me -- meeting both the demands of the show and the brand-new space -- it meant stripping the production down to what was minimally needed to sustain the tension and thrill of the tale.  
I love this sweet, gentle, touching play. I chose it because I wanted to work with these particular women, together. The play captures the characters' circumstances more honestly than most plays (or movies) about wartime, and with humor.
Refreshingly, John Murrell's "Waiting for the Parade", now on stage at The Northeast Theatre, presents a more complex picture. The drama follows five women on the homefront during World War II, each struggling to survive and make sense of it all as they, as the title suggests, pass the time until war's end. The greatest strength of Murrell's play is that these women are distinct characters, and the greatest strength of TNT's production is the strength of the five actors cast in the roles.
Matt Smith, Electric City
  Richard Grunn came to this show with a few character studies and some puppets. Together we massaged it into a charming piece about self-discovery at a railway station's lost and found.  
There were no reviews. Coleman Smith accompanied on the fiddle.  
When Boucicault finished his New York run of The Poor of New York, he took it on national tour. To encourage attendance, he changed the locality to each city it visited.
While common knowledge dictates no one wants to be poor, Boucicault's uncommonly virtuous characters find the blessings in it. Hunger and endangered shelter aside, they wear their lack of resources like a badge of honesty, and carry hearts so big they spill forth from the ribcage. Appealing to local writer and historian John Beck to localize the antique script, The Northeast Theatre's producing artistic director David Zarko bravely wrestled a beast of a production into being.
Alicia Grega, Electric City
We needed a large cast play with elevated language for the previous season's conservatory grads, and this one fit the bill.
Created by local playwrights on a local theme and setting, and cast mostly with local actors, audiences adored this play. There were still some structural difficulties with the script when we began rehearsals. I suggested edits, deletions and re-writes which the playwrights graciously and enthusiastically incorporated.  
  "An American Wife" is a gift we've waited too long already to open. Unwrap it with your grandmother and your 10-year-old nephew, and marvel at its touching, funny, familiar and brave contents.
Alicia Grega, Electric City
This was a collaborative effort between TNT and the Theatre Program at Marywood University involving six students and five members of Zuppa del Giorno. We developed a scenario with the assistance of Steve Deighan, then improvised a full length play around it until the actors had a strong set piece. No two of the 15 performances were exactly the same.
There were no reviews.  
This was the fourth production I did of this play. Because it is a devised piece, it evolved and changed with each revival. Each new Kyle Carter (on the suitcase, here played by Conor McGuigan) brought something new to the script.
For all its charm, "Conspiracy" could be perceived as slow by eyes accustomed to today's standard of sensory overload. If you can't sit through a silent film you might see your attention span challenged. All the more reason to disengage from your monitor of the moment and experience the imaginative instigation of live theater in its purest form.
Alicia Grega, Electric City
This brilliantly taut play is a dream to direct, and much trickier for the actors than I first realized.
Perhaps the greatest challenge of presenting this play is ensuring the balance Shanley intends. Under the direction of The Northeast Theatre's producing artistic director David Zarko, this production aces that test. Each of the play's four characters is equally likable while also proving a little unsettling. Each has a good case and presents a good argument. Each really appears to care for the boy Donald Muller and genuinely want what is best for him. And that is why the play is not about the issue of sexual abuse at all. And neither is it about the church. That is merely the backdrop on which these characters relate to each other, or more accurately, fail to relate to each other.
Alicia Grega, Electric City
This was my second production directing, having also played Bluntschli when I was in my thirties. I would welcome several other chances. I love Shaw, understand him, and am fairly good at conveying what is needed to actors of a certain skill. The Electric Theatre Company's new production of the play is fully invested in maximizing its comedic potential of Shaw's work
Alicia Grega, Electric City

I first created the script for a full production in 2002, using the word-for-word format, meaning that the entire written text is spoken and characterized from the first person. In 2007, we revived the piece as an annual fund raiser. At first, it was mostly read from chairs, and each year it took on more and more staging with the more active sections (such as Fezziwig's party) memorized.

In 2010, I staged the entire piece, and the actors valiantly kept up. In 2011 we did a fund raiser for WVIA, and even though I played Scrooge and told the actors we were going to keep it simple, they insisted on recreating most of the staging. It's always a great experience and completely appropriate to the season. If you're looking for a fresh approach to A Christmas Carol, check out the samples under "Playwrighting".

    There were no reviews.
The basic conceit for this production was that the lovers were red-nosed clowns caught up a world dominated by characters from commedia dell'arte. The clowns, ever innocent and seeking affection, grabbed our hearts, while their families and friends, focused on status and image, led them terribly wrong.

As Mercutio’s (wisecracking) final words in Romeo and Juliet demonstrate, there is a place for humor even in the midst of the ”gravest” tragedy. Maximizing this model to its most ridiculous proportions, Zuppa del Giorno’s "The Very Nearly Perfect Comedy of Romeo and Juliet" is a schizophrenic experience likely to leave you with mixed emotions. The intriguing modern commedia production continues at Electric Theatre Company in Scranton through Sunday.
Alicia Grega, Electric City


We began with the notion that the play tries to be a comedy (most of the time) until very late in the story. Mark McKenna directed the clowns, Angelo Crotti worked with me on the commedia, and I did my best to knit it all together while playing two small roles. My only regret was not being able to see the whole thing, uninterrupted. Audiences loved it (aside from a few Shakespeare purists).

A funny play with a dark undercurrent, it moves the audience quickly through contrasting moods and emotional colors. This was a premiere production but the script needed little work, and what work was needed, the playwright quickly picked up on her own.

If you act before the end of the month, you can see the "dark comedy" in its perfectly charming world premiere at Electric Theatre Company. "Lawnchairs" is set in a vaguely Southern suburban backyard in 1967. ETC producing artistic director David Zarko directs his keen four-member cast to a subtly comedic exploitation of a script that's notably been scrubbed clean of nonsense.
Alicia Grega, Electric City

Dylan Thomas' play has more than 60 characters. We did it with six actors. I distributed the narration among all the actors, and of course everyone played about ten roles. The action moved in almost a dance-like fashion over the beautiful and evocative set by Matt McCormick. . . . director David Zarko's artful staging brings clarity. . . The six-member ensemble portrays these and 40 more characters with an affectionate compassion.
Alicia Grega, Electric City
Those who believe... that Havel magically restored Czechoslovakia's cultural freedom, are strongly encouraged to visit "Wenceslas Square"... the sensitivity of Shue's play comes through.
The National Theater Magazine
  We did this play several times with different Dooly's (Lou Rabon was the second, and appears here on the right.) We even took it to Vilnius, Lithuania in June 0f 1995, where is was performed at Vaidilos Ainai Teatros, Lithuania's first non-state sponsored theatre company. In that production, I took the part of Vince, otherwise played by Steve Deighan.
...imaginatively directed by... David Zarko... "Wenceslas Square" weaves a spell like the heady tonic of a foreign city on an unprepared tourist.
Showbiz NY
Every time we mounted this show, it grew. But the staging that I created in its first incarnation -- with all the action taking place in a long, lateral alley between two blocks of audience seating -- never varied to any significant degree, even in Vilnius. The set consisted of four chairs and a table that became all the elements needed.
If you are only going to see one local play this season, make the The Northeast Theatre's production of Larry Shue's "Wenceslas Square" . . . [it] is theater at its best.
Joe Caputo, The Scranton Times
We began developing this piece as a monodrama for Richard Grunn (the fellow on the floor). One afternoon we decided that we really needed another actor to improv a scene in order to find the interplay between the two characters Richard was playing, and Duane Noch happened to be around. Ten minutes later, the show was a two-hander.
  Meticulously constructed... high-quality entertainment.  A wildly humorous pastiche (using) vaudevillian, Chaplinesque and commedia dell'arte techniques. 
The Austin American Statesman
The absolute beauty of this production is that it embraces theater in this purest fashion -- actor, passion and some light.  You are in for a treat...
Scranton Times
The physical comedy of the play - a goofy keystone cop chasing a criminal, a trick reclining chair that dumps people on the floor - gives it a unique, vintage charm.
. . . reminiscent of a Charlie Chaplin movie: lots of humor, sometimes slapstick, played with an underlying gentle and intelligent sensibility.  I found myself belly laughing --- the kind of good deep laugh that sustains us long after we have stopped laughing --- the kind of laugh that makes us feel... well... better about things.
The River Reporter