Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj is an Indo-Afro-Caribbean American artist, educator, and activist. He was hailed in the New York Times as “one of the most talented directors in New York these days”. He is the former Artistic Director of New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia as well as a former member of Theater Philadelphia Board of Directors and Chairman of the Diversity Committee for the Philadelphia Theater Alliance.
As a playwright, Maharaj has authored several plays, including Little Rock, a historical drama about the Little Rock Nine (2018 NY Times Critics’ Pick; 2015 Barrymore Award), Daisy, inspired by the life and legacy of the indomitable Daisy Lee Bates, and Hansberry/Baldwin (Semi-Finalist for the Eugene O'Neil Playwright Festival.)
Other Commissioned work includes: The Sanctuary Project, Hope in the Key of Life (Red Mountain Theatre Company – Violins of Hope), Diss Diss and Dis Dat, a hip hop musical inspired by the music of the Funkie Natives, Grey and Twenty-Five, Black Footnotes (Sloan Grant/Ensemble Studio Theater) and Children of the Dream. Co. Written and Co. Conceived work: Sweet Lorraine, The Ballad of Trayvon Martin, Mother Emanuel, (Winner of the 2016 NY Fringe Overall Excellence Award for Musical), History of the Word, a spoken word play with music and Exposures, an urban spoken word choreopoem. Adapted work: Othello: The Panther (Adapted from Othello: The Moore), Exodus, Mississippi Night (Adapted from Abortion); Darfur Nativity (Adapted from Black Nativity), Straight Outta Denmark (Adapted from Hamlet), and Salome: Da Voodoo Princess of Nawlins (Adapted from Salome).
Maharaj founded Voices at the River in 2010, a program designed to support African-American and Latino playwrights both nationally and in Arkansas. He has held artistic residencies with Yale University, New Freedom Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Kennedy Center, Crossroads Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Amas Musical Theatre and Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
He has been honored with the Woodie King Jr. Award for Outstanding Direction and four Vivian Robinson AUDELCO awards for his direction and choreography. Maharaj received eight Broadway World Philadelphia nominations, a nomination for the New York Innovative Theater Award as well a nomination for the S.A.L.T Award for Director of the year. He received grants for the Van Lier Directing Fellowship, Brooklyn Arts Council Grant, Winthrop Rockefeller Grant, Doris Duke Charitable Grant, Andrew W. Mellon Grant and Time Warner Diverse Voices Grant. He is the recipient of The State of New Jersey, the Senate and General Assembly Joint Legislative Resolution and Mercer County, New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders Certificate of Honor as well as the City Council of Philadelphia Citation. His work on The Ballad of Trayvon Martin was chosen as one of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society’s 2016 Moments of the Year. Maharaj is an alumnus of Lincoln Center Directors Lab and TCG Young Leaders of Color in the American Theater
Regional selected Directing/Choreography credits include: Yale University/Yale Dramatic Association (Dreamgirls), New Freedom Theatre (Mother Emanuel, The Black Nativity, The Ballad of Trayvon Martin, Jamaica, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, The Colored Museum, Walk Through Time (World Premier by Pulitzer Prize Recipient, Lynn Nottage) Passage Theatre (Little Rock – 2015 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Play), TheatreWorks (Little Rock), Signature Stage (Sweet Tea), Syracuse Stage (Godspell, Putting It Together (starring Lillias White and Chuck Cooper), Actors Theatre of Louisville (Nightswim and Classyass), St. Louis Black Rep (Damn Yankees), Arkansas Repertory Theatre (Dreamgirls, Intimate Apparel, Little Rock, A Raisin in the Sun), Crossroads Theatre (History of the Word, The Colored Museum), Alabama Shakespeare Festival (Sanctified), Prince Musical Theatre (From the Hip), Theatre of the Stars (Dreamgirls: The 25th Anniversary Production starring Tony Award Winner Jennifer Holliday), The Goodman Theatre (The Black Nativity) and Portland Stage Company (Master Harold and the Boys).
New York City selected Directing/Choreography credits include: The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture (Little Rock), The Public Theatre (365 Days, Memphis Minnie workshop), Classical Theatre of Harlem (Marat Sade), Lark Play Development Center (Man Measures Man, Breathe), New Federal Theatre (Diss Diss and Diss Dat), Rebel Theater (Mother Emanuel – 2016 New York International Fringe Festival), Othello: The Panther, Black Footnotes, Ghosts, Salome: Da Voodoo Princess of Nawlins, Trail of Tears), Making Books Sing (Band of Angels, Shelter in my Car, Chachajis Cup), Amas Musical Theatre (Bubbling Brown Sugar, Damn Yankees, Mamma I Want to Sing, Magpie).