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September 16 – October 15, 2023
(Opening night: Thursday, September 21)
Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center
West Coast premiere
By Alaudin Ullah
Directed by Chay Yew
Music by Avirodh Sharma
What exactly is the American Dream? For Alaudin Ullah’s Bangladesh-born parents, it means opportunity and a stable job. But to comedian Alaudin, America is the home of the New York Yankees and George Carlin. In an autobiographical solo show that the Hartford Courant calls “memorable and meaningful,” Ullah and musician Avirodh Sharma take audiences on a journey of vivid remembrances and discoveries from 1930s Bangladesh to 1970s Spanish Harlem to present-day Hollywood. Through comedy and music, this remarkable play, directed by the acclaimed Chay Yew, recounts the immigrant experience, how this country gets made, and the dreams of those who make it.
Vicki and Carl Zeiger Insights Seminar: Tuesday, September 19 at 6:00 p.m.
Post Show Forum: Tuesday, October 3; Tuesday, October 10; and Wednesday, October 11.
Alaudin Ullah (Playwright) was a trailblazer for the past two decades as one of the first South Asian comedians featured Nationally on HBO, MTV, BET, PBS, and Comedy Central. Limited by negative stereotypes, with little to no representation of his people, Alaudin turned from acting to writing. As a member of the Public Theater’s Inaugural Emerging writers group, he wrote plays about Harlem and Bangladesh. He workshopped and/or produced those writings at The Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Lark Play Development Center, Schomberg Center For Research In Black Culture, LAByrinth Theater Company, New Federal, Cape Cod Theater Fest, and in Chicago (at Silk Road and Victory Gardens). As an actor, he performed his solo show, Dishwasher Dreams, at New York’s Castillo Theater (Fall 2018). Infilm, he co-starred in American Desi and did several voices in the award-winning, animated Sita Sings the Blues. On television, he was featured in Uncle Morty’s Dub Shack (IATV). Vivek Bald’s book, Bengali Harlem, was inspired by Alaudin’s plays and his family’s journey to America. He will be co-directing the documentary of the same name that will air next year on PBS (bengaliharlem.com). Alaudin’s ongoing dedication is to creating stories and characters that counter, challenge, and correct, the misperception of South Asians and Muslims.
Chay Yew (Director) New York credits include the Public Theater, Signature Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop, Rattlestick, Playwrights Realm, Audible Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, National Asian American Theatre Company, and Ma Yi Theatre. His regional production credits include Humana Festival, Goodman Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Berkeley Rep, Center Theatre Group, Alley, Long Wharf, Huntington, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Denver Theater Center, Kennedy Center, Woolly Mammoth, Hartford Stage, Seattle Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Empty Space, Singapore Rep, amongst others. His opera credits includeTanglewood Music Center and LA Philharmonic. An alumnus of New Dramatists, he’s the recipient of the OBIE Award for Direction. From 2011 to 2020, he was the Artistic Director of Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. chayyew.com
Avirodh Sharma (Musician) is considered one of today’s leading exponents of the tabla, carrying on the tradition of percussion rhythm that originated on the Indian Subcontinent. Trinidadian born, Sharma was trained by his father, Dr. Ravideen Ramsamooj, managing director of the East Indian Music Academy who, together with his mother, Bharati Ramsamooj (Principal), have produced over 20,000 students in New York City. As a Director/resident teacher at the Academy for over 24 years, Sharma has trained tabla players nationwide. A multifaceted artist, he is also a composer and producer, with work featured in films, documentaries, fashion shows, on radio and in television commercials. He has been featured in The New York Times, NY Daily News, NY1, TV Asia, STARZ NETWORK, Zee TV and NPR Radio. Sharma has worked with Grammy-winning artists including Shakti and Masters of Percussion - Vikku Vinayakram - internationally acclaimed Kailash Kher, Suresh Wadhkar, Shivamani, Amaan and Ayaan Bangash and many more. He has also collaborated with Asian Underground musician Karsh Kale, fiddler Patrick Mangan (Riverdance), dance choreographer David Parsons and David Bowie’s drummer Sterling Campbell. He’s also made special appearances in music ensembles such as the Queens Symphony, Sukarma, Sufiana, Riyaaz Qawaali and Melodic Intersect. In 2015, his debut recording as a tabla soloist/percussionist was nominated for the 14th Independent Music Awards “Best World Beat Album.” In 2018, he was commissioned by Parsons Dance Company to compose and perform Microburst in NYC’s Joyce Theatre, receiving critical acclaim in Italy and across the United States. He composed and performed for Dishwasher Dreams which was developed at the Joseph Papp Public Theater. A Carribean Savant in rhythm, his performances have captivated audiences in Italy, Switzerland, Nepal, India, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and the U. S. January 2019, he performed at Kumbh Mela, in India, the biggest religious festival in the world, where millions were in attendance. He has appeared recently at the international festivals Artisti in Piazza (Italy), Hindustani Music Fest (Bahamas), Drive East Festival (New York City) and Taj Mahotsav (Taj Mahal, India).