Coleman Ray Clark (he/him/his) is a director and artistic producer in New York City.
He loves collaborating with playwrights, actors, and designers on new plays and musicals. As a director, he’s guided by his ears, and often, everything else follows.
Most recently, Coleman directed the world-premiere of M. Can Yasar’s folk-musical ONLY PLACE I BELONG at The Tank. Also in 2022, Coleman directed and co-created PAPA with his wife, playwright, and actor, Bailey Lee, through a residency at New Hazlett Theater in Pittsburgh, PA. Other directing includes BLUE MARBLE (OR THE OWEN PLAY), a world-premiere outdoor/livestreamed production co-created with The What Co., PARADE by Steven Yockey, featuring Academy Award-winner Jaime Ray Newman and Patch Darragh as part of The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues. Lizz Bogaard’s virtual short-play WAZE featuring Ed Weeks (The Mindy Project), Caroline Aaron (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Daryl Edwards (Manifest), and Jay Jay Warren, produced by Playdate Theatre.
In March 2019, Coleman directed and produced the site-specific production of BARE at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Greenwich Village, NYC. The sold-out run became known as “Bare in The Church” as videos of the production reached thousands of LGBTQ+ youth online. Coleman later worked with the original director of BARE, Kristin Hanggi, as a co-producer of BARE: THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION featuring Michael Arden, Jenna Leigh Green, Jon Hartmere, and more, which they filmed on Zoom and presented as a virtual gala on BroadwayWorld.com.
Coleman was previously the deputy director of The 24 Hour Plays, where he worked in various capacities since 2016. He produced THE 24 HOUR PLAYS: VIRAL MONOLOGUES, a process that won global acclaim as one of the first virtual theater initiatives in 2020. The New York Times called them “artifact[s] of a disconnected time”. Coleman worked with over 1,000 artists worldwide (including Daveed Diggs, Jake Gyllenhaal, Cynthia Nixon, and more) to write, rehearse, and record over 500 monologues. He produced special collaborative rounds of Viral Monologues with Pride Plays/Michael Urie, Broadway Advocacy Coalition, Developing Artists and more.
Through partnerships with The 24 Hour Plays in 2020 and 2021, Coleman co-produced THE MANIC MONOLOGUES (Drama League Award nominee) with McCarter Theatre Center/Debbie Bisno, co-produced Lisa Loeb and Beth Wishnie’s musical TOGETHER APART (raising over $35,000 for The Actors Fund), produced and edited J. Holtham’s HUMAN EVENTS for The America Democracy Project, produced THE DRAMATISTS GUILD OF AMERICA/FOUNDATION AND THE LILLYS AWARDS 2020, and co-produced and video edited LET’S TALK LYMPHEDEMA featuring Steve Guttenberg.
In 2021 and 2022, Coleman worked as a management assistant at the theatrical general management firm 101 Productions on DEAR EVAN HANSEN (Broadway, US tour, and London), PRETTY WOMAN (US tour), and more.
In 2019, Coleman founded The What Co. alongside his wife and theatrical partner, Bailey Lee. The What Co. serves as a working playground for artists to devise new theatrical pieces. The idea was born in 2018 after they spent the summer at The Aris Project, a cohort of artists in Damariscotta, Maine from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. That summer, they created six short plays, titled AN EVENING OF ORIGINAL WORK, which they transferred to Playwrights Horizons Downtown as a one-night event.
Coleman grew up in Arkansas, where he became known to his relatives as “Johnny from Springdale”, a character he created at the age of two who wore his grandmother’s boots and a cowboy hat, and often spoke with a thick country dialect. From there, Coleman would often recreate his favorite TV shows, musicals, and books as plays performed for his family in the “playroom” with sheets hung as curtains, lampshades angled for lighting, and often elaborate cardboard boxes stacked as sets. Anyone who knows Coleman today knows that he continues to bring this kind of creativity and joy to everything he does.
While still in high school, Coleman founded New Threshold Theatre (NTT), a youth-run theater company focused on bringing a professional edge to children’s theater in Fayetteville, Arkansas. During his three years as artistic director of NTT, he produced seven full-length plays and musicals, culminating in his production of INTO THE WOODS. Coleman created NTT’s NEW THRESHOLD THEATRE: LIVE, a biweekly public-access television program featuring short-form comedy sketches written and performed by teens. He also developed a number of NTT’s original plays which toured nursing homes, played the New Year’s Eve celebration Last Night Fayetteville, and most notably performed at Crystal Bridges, Arkansas’ world-class art museum, in the traveling “Van Gogh to Rothko” exhibit.
Coleman graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre directing and a minor in business management. Coleman is a Stage Directors and Choreographers Society associate member and alumni of the SDC Foundation intern program. 2019-2021 Manhattan Theatre Club Jonathan Alper Directing Fellow.
Coleman has been trained by BLIND SPOT for perceiving and dismantling racial inequity, The Transgender Training Institute for supporting and affirming Transgender and Non-Binary people, Event Safety Alliance for COVID pathogen preparedness, and Arts & Sciences for COVID Compliance Officer (CCO) & COVID Safety Training for Theatre Production.
Most of all, Coleman enjoys forming meaningful relationships with artists and taking chances. You’ll never catch him doing the same thing twice.