Ken Cazan has directed more than 160 productions of operas, musicals, and plays for over fifty opera and theater companies in America, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Having started as a professional actor/singer/dancer, he is known for his thoughtful approach to storytelling and character and relationship development. In season 2015, he directed Britten's The Prodigal Son for the Central City Opera with whom he is a frequent collaborator. Also in 2015, he directed Tobias Picker's and Gene Scheer's Therese Raquin for the Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theatre. In the fall of 2014, Mr. Cazan directed the world premiere of the Kaminsky/Campbell/Reed opera As One to open the BAM 2014 fall season in collaboration with American Opera Projects. As One was named one of two Best Productions of Opera in New York in 2014 by slate.com and received international rave reviews. Ken Cazan also produced the west coast premiere of The Henze/Bond collaboration, The English Cat for the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where Mr. Cazan is a full professor and Chair of the Vocal Arts and Opera programs, as well as Resident Stage Director. Other career highlights include directing the world premiere of Lieberman and McLatchy's Miss Lonelyhearts for the Juilliard School's 100th Anniversary celebration and the American premieres of Mozart's Mitridate re di Ponto for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Handel's Agrippina for the Ft. Worth Opera, and the first American production of Britten's Gloriana for the Central City Opera. He also staged West Side Story as the inaugural production of the new Kilden Theatre complex in Kristiansand, Norway and for the Vancouver Opera. In the fall of 2013, he directed Britten's Prodigal Son in collaboration with Mo. James Conlon and the Los Angeles Opera at the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles. In the summer of 2013, Mr. Cazan directed productions of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music and Heggie's Dead Man Walking for the Central City Opera,the latter recently being chosen as one of the Denver area's ten best theatre events in the Denver Post by the Post theater critic. Upcoming, Mr. Cazan will direct the 60th anniversary production of the world premiere of Douglas Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe for the Central City Opera. Additionally, Mr. Cazan has written the libretto for a new opera, Frau Schindler, in collaboration with Los Angeles based composer, Thomas Morse. Frau Schindler was commissioned by a major opera-theatre company in Munich, Germany (to be announced in a press announcement in spring of 2016). Mr. Cazan will direct the world premiere of Frau Schindler.
Musicals directed (aside from the above) include The Cradle Will Rock, A Little Night Music, Oklahoma, The Seven Deadly Sins (which he also choreographed), Paul Bunyan (which he also choreographed and designed), a staged reading of the new musical Ophelia, and The Fantasticks (all for professional theater and opera companies). Plays include Lettice and Lovage, Waiting for Godot, The Inca of Perusalem, Not About Heroes, To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Mr. Cazan, along with pop composer Billy Pace (best known for his hit single, Us, on Celine Dion's album Let's Talk About Love), has written the book and lyrics for a new rock musical, Prodigy, about the professional life and death of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Prodigy received a highly acclaimed staged reading for Los Angeles Festival of New American Musicals.