Karen Cardarelli Steps Down at Emerald City After 23 Years

Karen Cardarelli Steps Down at Emerald City After 23 Years

Emerald City Theatre Executive Director and Co-Founder Karen Cardarelli announced today that she is stepping down after 23 at the helm.

Cardarelli and her husband Alyn began ECT in 1996. Over two decades later, the venerable institution produces and an annual slate of shows that “respect the dignity and creativity of children.” Along with classes and community partnerships. Cardarelli cultivated strategic partnerships with organizations like Broadway In Chicago, KPMG-Family for Literacy, and Chicago Public Schools. She led a capital project resulting in the company’s Little Theatre (the nation’s first theater for the very young) and helped create programs such as the One Fund, which has provided a free book and a free play to thousands of Chicago Public Schools students.

“I know this Board and Executive Staff believe as deeply as I do in ECT’s mission,” Karen says. “From the stage to the classroom, we have the honor of being an arts organization that gets to truly change lives. This outstanding group of people will continue activating a remarkable theater community for Chicago’s children.”

The board and executive team have decided not to replace Cardarelli. Instead, they plan to focus more on a democratic arts governance model, expanding shared leadership among the company’s artists and administrators, including Artistic Director Jacqueline Stone and Managing Director Annie Rezac. Cardarelli will remain a prominent member of Emerald City’s team, serving in an ambassadorial role.

About author

Jason Epperson

Jason is a producer, manager, and designer with 17 years of experience in Chicago, New York, and in the touring market. In 2015, he founded Lotus Theatricals - the publisher of Performink, and an independent commercial producing company - with Abigail Trabue.