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January 27 - February 25

Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center



January 27 – February 25, 2024

Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

By Sanaz Toossi
Directed by Arya Shahi

Winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize, the Obie Award, and the Lucille Lortel Award. In a classroom near Tehran, four adult students prepare for an English proficiency exam. They each have a reason for being there: a chance at opportunity, access, or a new calling. But as they bond over this new way to express themselves, they also grapple with the lives they must leave behind. Told with hilarious wit and genuine compassion, Sanaz Toossi’s English is “both a buoyant comedy of communication and a subtle but probing exploration of what it means to speak and feel understood” (New York Theatre Guide).

Running time: One hour and 40 minutes (one act with no intermission).

This production includes strong language.

Vicki and Carl Zeiger Insights Seminar: Tuesday, January 30 at 6:00 p.m.

Post Show Forum: Tuesday, February 6; Wednesday, February 7; and Tuesday, February 13.

Open-Caption Performance: Saturday, February 17 at 2:00 p.m.

English is supported by major production sponsor The Bernard J. Eggertsen, M.D. Fund.

Digital Program

Download the program PDF


“Touching and smartly crafted.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune

“The entire cast is excellent, and they each have funny and poignant moments to shine!” —BroadwayWorld

“Wrought with an emotional delicacy that’s beautifully captured in Arya Shahi’s well-acted production.” —Los Angeles Times

“Emotionally enlightening.” —Los Angeles Times

English earns an audience’s goodwill. The humanity of the characters—their fears and dreams, how they feel about the future—is revealed through humor and pathos.” —Los Angeles Times

“Quietly elegant yet unpretentious. Without a doubt, worth a trip to The Old Globe.” —San Diego Magazine

Cast and Creatives



Sanaz Toossi (Playwright) Iranian American playwright from Orange County, California. Plays: English (Atlantic, Roundabout; Pulitzer Prize, Obie Award, Weissberger New Play Award, Kilroys’ List), Wish You Were Here (Williamstown/Audible, Playwrights Horizons; Stavis Award). Commissions: Atlantic Theater, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Repertory, IAMA Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Other: member of Youngblood, member of Lark’s Middle Eastern American Writers Lab, alumna of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group, P73 Playwriting Fellow. Other honors: Steinberg Playwright Award, Horton Foote Prize, Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award. Television: Five Women, “A League of Their Own,” “Invitation to a Bonfire.” Education: M.F.A. from NYU Tisch.

Arya Shahi (Director) The Old Globe: writer, director, actor for The Old Man and The Old Moon, The Tale of Despereaux. Broadway: composer for Water for Elephants. Regional: The Old Man and The Old Moon (New Victory, Writers Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Wallis, Paramount Theatre), The Tale of Despereaux (Berkeley Rep), The Hunter and The Bear (Writers Theatre). Albums: Bremen, The Way I’m Running, Whole Sun. Novels: An Impossible Thing to Say (Allida/HarperCollins) and the forthcoming sequel. aryashahi.com, @aryashahi.

Sadra Tehrani (Scenic Design) (he/him/his) Iranian-born set and production designer, concept artist based in New York City. Honors: projects featured in The New York Times, BroadwayWorld (winner of Best Off Off Broadway Scenic Design Award), Time Out New York, Shoutout LA, CIVILIAN Hotel. Other: member of United Scenic Artists Local 829. Education: M.F.A. in Production Design from NYU Tisch, M.S. in Architecture from Penn State. Recent credits: assistant art director for “Manifest” (Netflix), concept artist for “The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live” (upcoming on AMC), scenic designer for Sanaz Toossi’s English (Alliance Theatre), associate production designer for Florence + The Machine’s 2022 Dance Fever Tour.

Afsaneh Aayani (Costume Design) Iranian American multidisciplinary artist. Credits: United States, Iran, China, Poland, Sri Lanka, Germany. Education: B.F.A. in Puppetry from Tehran University of Art, M.F.A. in Scenic Design from University of Houston. afsanehaayani.com.

Amanda Zieve (Lighting Design) The Old Globe: Crime and Punishment, A Comedy, Dial M for Murder, Hair, Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show, Tiny Beautiful Things, Barefoot in the Park, Native Gardens, The Wanderers, Rich Girl. San Diego: The Untitled Unauthorized Hunter S. Thompson Musical, Put Your House in Order (La Jolla Playhouse), Evita, Cabaret, Rock of Ages (Cygnet). National: Off Broadway, Goodman, Goodspeed, Signature Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse, Two River Theater, Music Theater Heritage, San Diego Symphony. Broadway: associate on Escape to Margaritaville, Bright Star, Allegiance; assistant on Hamilton; 15 other productions. Education: B.A. in Theatre from CSU Northridge. amandazieve.com.

Megumi Katayama (Sound Design) The Old Globe: debut. Off Broadway: The Light in the Piazza, The Life (NYCC Encores!), Regretfully, So the Birds Are (Playwrights Horizons), The Nosebleed (LCT3), for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf (The Public), Our Brother’s Son (Signature), Generation Rise (Ping Chong/New Victory), The Gett (Rattlestick). Regional: tour of Cambodian Rock Band (as co-designer); Alley Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, Long Wharf, Yale Rep, Studio Theatre, Arena Stage, Everyman Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, Cincinnati Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, Two River, Skylight Music Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, Dorset Theatre Festival, more. Education: M.F.A. from Yale School of Drama. megumikatayama.com.

Ana Bayat (Dialect Coach) Multilingual storyteller with over three decades of experience in theatre, film, voice-over, translation, language/dialect coaching worldwide. Languages: fluent in U.K./U.S. English, Persian, Spanish, French; proficient in German, Catalan, Italian. Creator: critically acclaimed solo show Mimi’s Suitcase (NNF Grant in Innovative Arts, shortlisted for an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award at Edinburgh Festival Fringe). Recent: coached Glenn Close to speak seamless Persian in the Apple TV+ series “Tehran,” dialect coach for English at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Barrington Stage, Studio Theatre (also as cultural and casting consultant). Education: conservatory training in the Stanislavski system, post-graduate diploma in Speech and Dramatic Arts, M.A. in Film and the Moving Image, M.A. in Audiovisual Translation, B.A. in Language and Linguistics (U.K.). anabayat.com, @theanabayat.

Caparelliotis Casting (Casting) The Old Globe: English, Exotic Deadly, Under a Baseball Sky, What We Talk About…, Dial M for Murder, Mala, Shutter Sisters, Hurricane Diane, Noura, They Promised Her the Moon, Tiny Beautiful Things, Barefoot in the Park, The Wanderers, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Skeleton Crew. Select Broadway: Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, Grey House, Ohio State Murders, Macbeth, The Minutes, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, King Lear, Hillary and Clinton, Ink, The Waverly Gallery, Three Tall Women, Meteor Shower, A Doll’s House, Part 2, Jitney, The Glass Menagerie, Blackbird, Disgraced. Additional theatre: MTC, Signature, Atlantic, Vineyard. Television: “New Amsterdam” (NBC), “American Odyssey” (NBC).

Chandra R.M. Anthenill (Production Stage Manager) (she/her/hers) The Old Globe: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Exotic Deadly, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Trouble in Mind, Krapp’s Last Tape, What You Are, Tiny Beautiful Things, Globe for All (2017–2023), The Lorax, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Guys and Dolls, Camp David, The Comedy of Errors. Regional: The Garden, 2020 POP Tour, Junk (La Jolla Playhouse), Fun Home, Beachtown, Roz and Ray, Into the Beautiful North, Outside Mullingar, The Oldest Boy, Oedipus El Rey, Honky (San Diego Rep), El Huracán, Mud Row, The Last Wife, Bad Jews, Sons of the Prophet, True West, Fool for Love, Spring Awakening, Assassins, Company (Cygnet), Pippin (Diversionary).

Anjee Nero (Stage Management Swing) The Old Globe: Cabaret, Destiny of Desire, Come Fall in Love, Almost Famous, The Gardens of Anuncia, The Heart of Rock & Roll, Bright Star, Allegiance, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Benny & Joon, October Sky, Rocky Horror Show, Life After, The Wanderers, Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show, The Twenty-Seventh Man, A Room with a View, Kingdom, The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, Be a Good Little Widow, more. Broadway: Bright Star. Regional highlights: Bright Star (Kennedy Center), Fly, Sideways, Ruined, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Herringbone, The Seven (La Jolla Playhouse), Ruined (Huntington Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Kiss Me, Kate (Hartford Stage), Venice (Center Theatre Group), Antigone (SITI Company).