Sarah Gitenstein

Theatre Director, Educator and Performer


Sarah Gitenstein 

Sarah is a freelance director, educator, and performer in Chicago and works as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the MFA Directing program at Northwestern University. Her research at Northwestern titled The Body Onstage: Best Practices in Directing addresses how to reduce harm in theatrical spaces while actively investigating how to bring our authentic selves into a collaborative process. Sarah hails from Washington, DC and graduated from Kenyon College with a theater degree and Northwestern University with an MFA in Directing. Directing credits include work at Chicago Commercial Collective, Curious Theater, American Theater Company, A Red Orchid Theatre (Sick by Seven) and Raven Theater. For The New Colony, Sarah directed Kate and Sam Are Not Breaking Up (Jeff Nomination-New Work) and the Off-Broadway, national tour and commercial run of 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche (Winner Best Production 2012 New York International Fringe Festival).   She is married to the actor Jared Fernley and mom to their kiddos, Charlie and Isaac.


Current Shows

Sarah was recently nominated for a 2023 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Director and Best Production for the sold out run of Raven Theatre’s Right to Be Forgotten by Sharyn Rothstein.




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And thus Sharyn Rothstein’s gutsy “Right to be Forgotten,” which has been very shrewdly cast and honestly staged at the Raven Theatre by the capable young director Sarah Gitenstein, comes as an incisive and sharp-toothed relief… And this is a zesty staging: Gitenstein knows how to use her minimal set and large amount of space to inject varying levels of stress and tension. Everything feels very much in the moment. No one at this show is likely to be bored.”

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune 3.5 Stars

What makes this dark comedy pack a punch is that every line is delivered completely straight—no mugging necessary. Each character is a clearly defined archetype, and the humor comes not from slack-jawed pandering, but from the relatable absurdity of the situation. Gitenstein’s direction toward dryness allows every line of Rothstein’s script to shine on its own merits.” – Tristan Bruns, Newcity Stage

“For though technically a comedy, Right to Be Forgotten  is also a fast-talking “problem play” that knows its stuff, under the brisk and even brusque directing of Sarah Gitenstein” – Richard Green, Talking Broadway


Quiche is brilliantly funny and a delight to pick up on the film and cultural references. The play is directed by Sarah Gitenstein, who gives the actors the room to develop their characters. It is smoothly paced and has some great holy sh#! moments. Just like quiche, this show is meant to be shared with friends!Chicago Theater Beat


Gitenstein, Hobgood, Linder and the hilarious ensemble have cooked up something truly, wonderfully ridiculous.Timeout Chicago




Directed by Sarah Gitenstein for the New Colony, 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche was a cult hit in Chicago last year, and arrives at the Fringe gleaming with comic polish.Timeout New York
The direction by Sarah Gitenstein leverages every joke to the maxHyReviews



…this slap-happy, five-character comedy has now settled into the SoHo Playhouse, where its raw and magnetic dementia seems destined to attract a cult following.New York Times
★★★★★ – a mixture of laughter, discomfort and heart-pounding terrorTime Out Chicago



RECOMMENDED! Joel Kim Booster’s roller-coaster script gets a tight, entertaining staging under director Sarah Gitenstein.Chicago Reader
confident and energetic, and will have you laughing at every turnGapers Block



Director Sarah Gitenstein stages perfectlyChicago Tribune
Expertly directed by Sarah GitensteinChicago Sun Times




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An arresting young actress named Sarah Gitenstein, wholly willing to dig deep and howl out her wounded innards with sufficient force to jolt you out of your uncomfortable seat.Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
As Alison, Gitenstein brings a breathtaking passion to the stage; torn apart by what she learns, Gitenstein manages to lift the play from its true-story origins to true art.John Beer, TimeOut Chicago



Sarah Gitenstein makes the climactic moment of truth genuinely breathtaking… the play’s snappy dialogue, shocking subject matter and remarkable leading performance give the Fringe a welcome infusion of quality.TimeOut NY (Four stars)
[Asmus’] ability to create realistic, natural dialogue for the stage is sensational…Andrew Hobgood does an excellent job directing an exceptional


It’s such a powerful performance; I’m very much looking forward to seeing what she does next (and her work in this play should propel her to the top of the Chicago acting ranks).Francis Sadac,
Gitenstein is so vulnerable and emotionally-exposed that as an audience member you don’t know how to react:  you want to hug and console her but at the same time you want to keep your distance, because, man, this chick could snap any time and you’ll be down on the floor picking up the pieces. It’s such a powerful performance; I’m very much looking forward to seeing what she does next (and her work in this play should propel her to the top of the Chicago acting ranks).Francis Sadac,
Jen (Sarah Gitenstein). Seen early sniping at her husband and dismissing “his” choice to break with tradition and leave the bike at home, it’s easy to view her as the adult wet-blanket and antagonist. That simple setup is shed quickly for a more nuanced characterization, which Gitenstein renders wholly and convincingly. She’s a voice of reason, both for and against her own better judgement.Dan Jakes, Timeout Chicago


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