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Just like you, I do many things.  Most recently, I founded Novel Readings, a company that uses the performance of literary text to produce social justice events and help writers develop their work. I have been working as a professional director since I graduated from the Juilliard School’s (now-defunct, through no fault of my own) Directing Program.  In 2014, I published my first novel, One Man Guy (Macmillan, FSG) and its stand-alone sequel, Hold My Hand, in 2019.  My next book, These Precious Stones, a queer protag YA contemporary epic fantasy, will be out in 2024. 


I am an avid board-game player, food-lover and maker, and recipient of the 2012 Most Improved Player Award for the New York Ramblers, the world’s first openly-gay soccer league.


I believe that art nourishes the soul the way food does the body, that in the age of specialization we must fight extra-hard to prevent ourselves from being pigeonholed, and that love is the answer.

photo credit: Aydin Arjomand

Music and Lyrics by Josh Waletzky
Book by Jeyn Levison
Directed by Michael Barakiva


A star-studded cast of master singers from across the world – Ukraine, Latvia, Berlin, England, and the Americas – will perform this theatrical concert of new Yiddish songs, weaving together a defiant garment of hope

Sunday, March 26th at 1PM and 6PM
Museum of Jewish Heritage
36 Battery Pl, NY 10280
For more information, click here
To buy tickets, click here

Michael Barakiva is a Jewish Armenian from Haifa, Israel who grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey, which were much scarier.  He attended Vassar College, where he doubled in Drama and English.  Upon graduation, he attended the Juilliard School as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Directing. 


He has lived in over 35 apartments in New York City, directed off-Broadway and regionally, routinely cooked dinner for 100+, practiced Iyengar Yoga for almost a decade before finding Crossfit, and loves games and his husband Rafael.

His first novel, One Man Guy, was named to the Rainbow List, Equality Family Council Reading List, and spent over a year as Goodreads #1 LGBTQ YA Novel, and was named as one of Barnes and Nobles' Perfect Valentine's Day YA Novels 2017 list.  The stand-alone sequel, Hold My Hand, was published in 2019, both with Macmillan (FSG).  His third book, These Precious Stones, is due for publication in 2022.  


He is the founding Artistic Director of The Upstart Creatures, a not-for-profit theatre company based in New York City that presents (meta)physical feasts, feeding bodies and souls and the founder and Creative Director of Novel Readings, a company that helps writers develop their work by having professional actors perform it for them.  

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