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2024 projects and artists

Book by Adam Chanler-Berat
Composed/Lyrics by Julian Hornik
Directed by Annie Tippe


Richard has a play to make! Embarking on a docu-theatre project set in an assisted living facility, playwright Richard mines the residents of the memory care unit for the truth of their experiences; as he digs deeper — and grows closer to his subjects — he faces destabilizing revelations about himself and the community he has become enmeshed in. This meta-theatrical musical is a meditation on aging, purpose, and how we care.


Adam Chanler-Berat is known for his performances in the original companies of Broadway’s Next to Normal, Peter and the Starcatcher, Saint Joan, and Amélie as well as Off-Broadway in I Can Get It For You Wholesale, Assassins, Rent, Fly By Night, Nantucket Sleigh Ride, and Fortress of Solitude among others. As a writer, he was a member of the Civilian’s 2022–23 R&D group. Adam’s play with music, Contra, has been workshopped at Ars Nova, was a finalist for SPACE on Ryder Farm 2018, and a semi-finalist for the 2020 O’Neill Festival New Music Theater Conference. His piece After Peter, to be featured this summer at New York Stage and Film, was workshopped with Barrington Stage in 2021 and was developed in residence at NYSAF in 2022. His project Assisted was developed with Rhinebeck Writers Retreat in 2023, Barrington Stage this past summer, and was awarded the 2024 Rhinebeck Writers Retreat RRR residency.


Julian Hornik is a composer, lyricist, and librettist based in Brooklyn. Shows include Assisted with Adam Chanler-Berat (developed with The Civilians and Rhinebeck Writers Retreat), Three Days with Mark Sonnenblick and Khiyon Hursey (Stanford, Vineyard Arts), Deathbed Edition (Ars Nova, Bedlam), Tenn (Yale), and @QueerZ, commissioned by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. Film/TV credits include Share (A24) and animated musical series Helluva Boss. Recipient of the 2023 Jonathan Larson Grant, the ASCAP Foundation Sammy Cahn Award, and the Lucille and Jack Yellen Award; he is a Bryan Gallace Fellow at SPACE on Ryder Farm. Performances at, amongst others, Joe’s Pub, The Kennedy Center, New York City Center, Stanford Live, and Carnegie Hall.


Annie Tippe is a director and creator of new work, music theatre, and film. With frequent collaborator Dave Malloy, she has directed the world premieres and subsequent productions of Octet and Ghost Quartet. For Octet, she won the Lortel Award for Best Direction and was named an SDC Callaway Award Finalist. Recent: Laura Benanti: Nobody Cares (Audible/Minetta Lane), Julia May Jonas’ Your Own Personal Exegesis (Lincoln Center), Molly Beach Murphy and Jeanna Phillip’s Cowboy Bob (Alley Theatre), Selina Fillinger’s POTUS (Berkeley Rep), Britta Johnson’s Life After (Goodman Theatre; Jeff Award Nominee), Bess Wohl’s Continuity (Goodman Theatre), Tony Meneses’ The Hombres (Two River), and JJJJJerome and James’ Ink (co-directed with Rachel Chavkin; Met Museum) and The Conversationalists (Bushwick Starr). Her short film Help Me Mary won Best Narrative Short at the Lower East Side Film Festival. Former Ars Nova Director-in-Residence, Drama League Directing Fellow, Williamstown Directing Corps.

Written by The Lazours
Directed by Ritesh Batra


Bangladesh is a one-act musical theatre piece about the birth of a new nation from a bloody civil war. A nation forced into being by the audacity of a few good people up against powerful forces. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, it depicts the game of chess that is geopolitics, and countries and peoples that are its pawns. The musical will take us into rooms where the fates of nations are decided, and into the hearts of the people who decide them.


Daniel Lazour is a musical theatre composer. Projects include: We Live in Cairo (NYTW/ART), Night Side Songs (PTC/ART), The Lunchbox (LCT), and the movie musical Challenger: An American Dream. He plays guitar, piano, and tin whistle and releases music regularly with his brother Patrick under the artist name “the Lazours.” He received his BA in music from Columbia University. @frereslazour


Patrick Lazour is a music theatre writer. With his brother Daniel, he is working on various shows including We Live in Cairo, Night Side Songs, and the Lincoln Center-commissioned The Lunchbox with Ritesh Batra. He has developed work during residencies at the O’Neill, UCross, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Yaddo, and MacDowell. He is a Jonathan Larson Grant Award winner and a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. He is proud to be a long-time teaching artist.


Ritesh Batra is writer/director based in New York. He has made films such as The Lunchbox, Our Souls at Night, and Photograph. He is currently working on a stage musical and his next feature.

Written/Performed by The Bengsons
Directed by Anne Kauffman and Caitlin Sullivan


The Broken Ear Trilogy (working title) is the culmination of 17 years of work by husband and wife duo The Bengsons and their collective of collaborators. In The Broken Ear Trilogy their memoir-musicals Hundred Days, Ohio, and The Lucky Ones — originally made each as standalone pieces — are reimagined into one larger work that tells the story of their lives from birth to an imagined death. With humor, grief, and wildness, this work explores faith, decay, love, and the possibility of intergenerational healing and change. At its heart, The Broken Ear Trilogy is a community celebration meant as an honest reckoning with who we’ve been, a dream of what we could become, and a hopeful gift to the next generation. May we fail as beautifully as possible!


The Bengsons are a married composing and performing duo raising two children in Queens. Their theatre work includes The Keep Going Songs (LCT3), Sovereignty Hymns (La Jolla Playhouse), The Keep Going Song (Actors Theatre of Louisville), My Joy is Heavy (Arena Stage), Hundred Days (La Jolla Playhouse, New York Theatre Workshop, Cincinnati’s Know Theater, SF’s Z Space, US Tour), The Lucky Ones (Ars Nova), Where the Mountain Meets the Sea (ATL’s Humana Festival; Manhattan Theatre Club), Anything That Gives Off Light (Edinburgh Theatre Festival, US tour), you’ll still call me by name (New York Live Arts, Jacob’s Pillow), and Iphigenia in Aulis (Classic Stage Company). They have received the Jonathan Larson and Richard Rodgers Awards and nominations for the Drama Desk, Drama League, and Lucille Lortel Awards.


Anne Kauffman has collaborated with the Bengsons and Caitlin Sullivan on 100 Days, The Lucky Ones, and a workshop of Ohio at St. Ann’s Warehouse. She is a Resident Director at Roundabout Theatre, a frequent collaborator with Pulitzer Prize winning composer and MacArthur award winner Julia Wolfe, Artistic Associate and Founding Member of The Civilians, Co-creator of the Cast Album Project with Jeanine Tesori and Taneisha Duggan, and a Clubbed Thumb Associate Artist and co-creator of the CT Directing Fellowship. Kauffman’s awards include 2024 Tony nominee for Best Direction of a Play for Mary Jane, 2023 Tony nomination for Best Revival for The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, three Obies, the Joan and Joseph Cullman Award for Exceptional Creativity from Lincoln Center, the Alan Schneider Director Award, a Lucille Lortel Award, a Drama League Award, and the Joe A. Callaway. Proud member of SDC.


Caitlin Sullivan is a director and theatre maker based in New York City. Recent work includes Find Me Here by Crystal Finn (Clubbed Thumb), The Keep Going Songs by The Bengsons (LCT3), The Good John Proctor by Talene Monahon (Bedlam), Work Hard Have Fun Make History by ruth tang (Clubbed Thumb), Nova written and performed by Obehi Janice (Pemberley Productions, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh), United States vs Gupta by Deepali Gupta (JACK in collaboration with New Georges), and Sanctuary City by Martyna Majok (NYTW). She is currently developing new work with The Bengsons, Adrian Einspanier, and Martyna Majok. Before moving to New York, Caitlin co-founded Seattle’s critically acclaimed Satori Group. As Artistic Director, she created and/or directed seven original works. Born and raised in Boston, Caitlin is a graduate of Williams College, and an alum of the Drama League Directors Project and Next Stage Residency, the Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellowship, and the New Georges Jam.

Written by Sanaz Toossi
Co-created by Tala Ashe


How do we become a village again? The Bygones is set somewhere like here, post-something that divided people. Now, instead of retribution and score-settling, a society is trying to attain communal justice and rehabilitation. But one woman’s refusal to forgive threatens to burn down the whole again. Do we have an obligation to forgive? If we do it for the village, is it really forgiveness? What is forgiveness, anyway, and is it truly achievable?


Sanaz Toossi is an Iranian-American playwright and the winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Her plays include English (co-production Atlantic Theater Company/Roundabout Theatre Company) and Wish You Were Here (Playwrights Horizons; Williamstown/Audible). She is currently under commission at Atlantic Theater Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, and South Coast Repertory. Sanaz was the 2019 P73 Playwriting Fellow and a recipient of the Steinberg Playwright Award, the Horton Foote Award, Hull-Warriner Prize, Outer Critics Circle Award, and in 2023, the recipient of the Best New American Play Obie Award. MFA: NYU Tisch.


Tala Ashe Born in Tehran, Iran and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Tala Ashe received a BFA in Acting from Boston University, with additional training from LAMDA and UCB. She recently won an Obie award and was nominated for a Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel for her performance in the Pulitzer Prize winning English at the Atlantic Theater Company. She also starred in the critically acclaimed Vagrant Trilogy at the Public Theater. For five years, she was a series regular on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow playing the 1st Muslim-American superhero on television. Tala has worked at numerous Off-Broadway and regional theatres including The Atlantic, The Public Theater, 2nd Stage, Playwrights Horizons, LCT3, The Old Globe, and OSF. Tala also had major arcs on Smash and American Odyssey on NBC. Other selected guest roles include 30 Rock, Law & Order: CI, and Law & Order. Currently: recurring on HBOMax’s The Girls on the Bus.

Book/Lyrics by Annalisa Dias
Composed/Lyrics by Ronee Penoi
Orchestrations by Danielle Jagelski


The Carlisle Project unravels the complicated legacy and trauma of Carlisle Indian Industrial School in an expressive song cycle, using both satire and ceremony to tell its harrowing history and the brutal assimilation enforced under its motto “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” Indigenous descendants separated by time, place, and experience grapple with the generational trauma and erasure that Carlisle caused, and explore what it means to be Native American now and in the future. With this new musical ritual, Carlisle descendant Penoi (Laguna Pueblo/Cherokee) and Dias create bridges for understanding and intergenerational repair between Native and non-Native peoples living within the settler colonial US today.


Annalisa Dias is a Goan-American transdisciplinary artist, community organizer, and award-winning theatre-maker working at the intersection of racial justice and care for the earth. She is a co-founder of Groundwater Arts and previously director of artistic partnerships and innovation at Baltimore Center Stage. Prior to joining BCS, Annalisa was a producing playwright and acting creative producer with The Welders, a DC playwright's collective; and a co-founder of the DC Coalition for Theatre & Social Justice. Annalisa’s work has been produced or developed by arts institutions across the US and UK, and her artistic work has taken her to South Africa, India, Malawi, Arctic Norway, and more. Annalisa frequently teaches theatre of the oppressed and decolonization workshops and is a sought-after speaker about race, identity, and performance.


Ronee Penoi (Laguna Pueblo/Cherokee) is a composer/lyricist, arts presenter, facilitator, and activist. She is a two-time recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Individual Artist Fellowship for her work as a composer. She is a Sundance Institute Interdisciplinary Program Grantee, and has been commissioned by Pittsburgh Public Theater and Baltimore Center Stage for her work on The Carlisle Project with Annalisa Dias. Her music has been heard at Dickinson College, Hopkins Center for the Arts (Dartmouth College), The Tank (NYC), the Berlind (McCarter Theater), CulturalDC’s Mead Theater Lab, and more. Ronee is currently Director of Artistic Programming and Interim Executive Director at ArtsEmerson, Boston’s leading presenter of contemporary world theatre, as well as Co-Lead of First Nations Performing Arts, an initiative committed to advancing decolonization and the visibility of contemporary Indigenous performing artists in what we call the US.


Danielle Olana Jagelski is a composer, conductor, orchestrator, and creative producer. She is the Artistic Director of Renegade Opera, Producer for First Nation Performing Arts, and Faculty at Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division. A fierce advocate for equity in artistic spaces and citizen of the Oneida Nation/Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe, Danielle is especially passionate about Decolonization through collective creation and performance. A composer of narrative music of all kinds, recent premieres have been with New Native Theatre, Voices of Ascension | Voices of the New, and American Patriots Project, among others. She is the orchestrator for The Carlisle Project by Ronee Penoi and Annalisa Dias and works as music copyist for Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate. Her works have been performed throughout the country including at Roulette Intermedium, Performance Space New York, The Green Room 42, and Shaking the Tree. As a conductor, Danielle is sought out for her execution of contemporary works. She has worked with companies such as Opera Theatre Saint Louis, Anchorage Opera, and Opera Ithaca.

Written, Directed, and Choreographed by John Carrafa
Creative Consultation/Dramaturgy by Carey Perloff


When rookie reporter Marguerite (“Maggie”) Higgins hitches a ride aboard a military cargo jet headed to Seoul at the onset of the Korean War, she begins a journey that will take her to one of the most brutal and surreal battles in American history. Among the US Marines, The Battle at Chosin Reservoir is legendary; the story is passed on to every new recruit. The Chinese and North Koreans haven’t forgotten either. The battle was dramatized in two recent blockbuster films in China and impacts our relationship with those countries to this day. Yet oddly, most Americans have never heard of it. Why not? This new play by writer/director John Carrafa follows Maggie through the genesis and the insanity of Chosin, and examines why the men who were there, including his father, would never speak of it.


John Carrafa is a theatre and TV/film director/choreographer. His work includes the Broadway productions of Urinetown and Into the Woods (Tony Nominations, Obie Award, Lortel Award, Dora Award) Dirty Blonde, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Dance of Death, and the Kennedy Center Sondheim Festival production of A Little Night Music. For television: Only Murders In The Building, The Gilded Age, Succession, Barry, The Knick, Westworld. After contributing to the creation of countless new musicals both on and off-Broadway and regionally, Chosin is Mr. Carrafa’s first full length play.


Carey Perloff is a director, playwright, producer, and educator who served as Artistic Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 1992–2018, where she staged dozens of classical and contemporary plays and nurtured a three-decade collaboration with Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard. Upcoming directing: As You Like It (Santa Cruz Shakespeare), Leopoldstadt (Huntington and STC), Waste (Marin Theatre), The Oedipus Project (Red Bull Theater, NYC), Iphigenia in Tauris (Legion of Honor, SF). Recent directing: The Lehman Trilogy (Huntington and Repertory Theater of St. Louis), Hend Ayoub’s Home? (Voices Festival Productions, D.C.), Ibsen’s Ghosts (Seattle Rep and Williamstown), Pale Fire by Colm Toibin (Gate Theatre, Dublin), Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare Company, Calgary), and A Thousand Splendid Suns at Arena Stage. As a playwright: Vienna, Vienna, Vienna (Finalist, 2023 Jewish Plays Project prize), If God Were Blue (developed at NYSF and Playmakers), Edgardo or White Fire (WTF commission, Finalist O’Neill 2022, workshop at Writer Theater 2024), Higher (Winner, 2011 Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Theater Visions Award), Luminescence Dating (Sloane Foundation Commission, produced at EST, NY and Magic Theater SF, Bay Area Theater Critics Best Original Script), Kinship (premiered at the Theatre de Paris starring Isabelle Adjani and then at WTF starring Cynthia Nixon), and The Fit (SF Playhouse 2019). Perloff is the author of Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater (City Lights Press 2015) and Pinter and Stoppard: A Director’s View (Bloomsbury Methuen 2022).

Based on the novel by Walter Mosley
Music/Lyrics by Eisa Davis
Book by Walter Mosley and Jerome Hairston
Music Direction by Ben Moss


Devil in a Blue Dress: The Musical adapts the first in Walter Mosley’s popular series of Easy Rawlins novels, telling the tales of Black Los Angeles through the noir genre. Set in 1948, World War II veteran Easy Rawlins and his murderous friend Raymond ‘Mouse’ Alexander must solve the mystery of missing white woman Daphne Monet, a femme fatale sought by the most powerful white men in the city. Daphne likes the lifestyle of the Black side of town and recently unemployed Easy has a mortgage to pay. Dewitt Albright, a white gangster/fixer, puts these elements together and makes Easy an offer he can’t refuse. With songs by Eisa Davis (Bulrusher), and a book by Walter Mosley with Jerome Hairston, this new musical follows Easy through the juke joints, bars, hardworking, and hard drinking parts of LA — unearthing the raw poetry of a people, place, and time you won’t find in any history book.


Eisa Davis is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY, thrilled to return home to Berkeley Rep and Ground Floor. She is the author of the play Bulrusher (Best of Bay Area Theatre 2023, Pulitzer finalist) and the co-librettist of its opera adaptation with Nathaniel Stookey, premiering at West Edge Opera this summer. Other plays include Angela’s Mixtape and The History of Light, recently published by 53rd State Press, and Mushroom, directed by David Mendizábal. Her work as a writer and actor on screen includes Justified: City Primeval, She’s Gotta Have It, Kindred, Mare of Easttown, The Wire, and the upcoming projects The Madness, Relay, and Ex-Husbands. She has recorded two albums of original music and written three music-theatre works, including The Essentialisn’t (Ground Floor 2016) and Devil In A Blue Dress with Walter Mosley. The recipient of awards from the Herb Alpert Foundation, Creative Capital, USA Artists Foundation, Eisa is a Berkeley High and YMP alum.


Walter Mosley is the author of more than 60 critically-acclaimed books of fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and plays. His work has been translated into 25 languages. From the first novel he published, Devil in a Blue Dress with its protagonist Easy Rawlins, Mosley’s work has explored the lives of Black men and women in America — past, present, and future. He has had several of his books adapted for film and TV including Devil in a Blue Dress, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, the Apple TV+ production of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, and the forthcoming film The Man In My Basement. His short fiction and nonfiction essays have been published in a wide range of outlets including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Nation. He is also a writer and an executive producer on the John Singleton FX show, Snowfall.


Ben Moss (he/him) is a music director, performer, songwriter, and orchestrator. Broadway conducting credits include Head Over Heels and Amélie. Other credits: Penelope (Signature Theatre), Salty Brine’s Bigmouth Strikes Again (Soho Theatre, UK), Azul (Eugene O’Neill Theater Center), Oratorio for Living Things (Ars Nova, Obie & Lortel Award), Isaac Oliver’s Lonely Christmas (Ars Nova), Heather Christian’s Prime (Playwright’s Horizons “Soundstage”), The Hello Girls (Prospect Theater), Spring Awakening (Deaf West), Arlington (Vineyard Theatre), Alexandra Silber’s After Anatevka (Audible), Chasing The Song (La Jolla Playhouse), America is Hard to See (Life Jacket, Edinburgh), Spring Awakening (1st National Tour), Ben Moss & Friends (The Duplex), The Bongo Hour with Peter Smith & Sandy Honig (The Slipper Room), and appearances at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. He is the composer of the new musical Don’t Call Me John! and the music director of the Broadway Sings concert series. On all platforms @benkmoss and

Book/Lyrics by Shannon Burkett
Composed by Heather Christian


The Female Pope is the highly disputed story about a woman, disguised as a man, in the 9th century who rose to the papacy. A young girl, desperate to go to school, agrees to dress as a boy with the promise of an education. In doing so, she unlocks a passion for learning that will propel her to the most powerful position in the world, a stunning achievement that could threaten the very existence of the Catholic Church itself.


Shannon Burkett co-wrote/directed/produced an award-winning stop-motion animation short film (Cannes Film Festival, Montreal, Melbourne, Woodstock, RiverRun, AmerDoc, and many more) which is part of a musical comedy Perfect Little School (Raindance). Musicals: The Female Pope, with music by Heather Christian (Pipeline Arts Award, NAMT, Finalist – O’Neill Musical Theater Conference, Larson Grant Finalist, Apples & Oranges: Sing Tank, AWE Conference), So You Wanna be a Porn Star: a story of sex love and rock-n-roll, music by Peter Salett. Plays include: Lead: This is Cooper’s Story (Waterworks Festival Finalist, O’Neill Finalist), Once Upon a Sisters Grimm, The Ringer, Fun for the Whole Neighborhood, and House of Cards. As an actor, she’s appeared on Broadway alongside Patrick Stewart in Arthur Miller’s The Ride Down Mt. Morgan. Off-Broadway: The Atlantic, Flea, New George, SPF, NYTW, WET, Soho Rep, Minetta Lane, WPA, and Playwrights. Member of EST. New Georges Affiliate.


Heather Christian is a Drama Desk and two-time Obie Award winning composer/performer. Recent composing/performing credits include her own work Terce: A Practical Breviary (Prototype Festival/HERE Arts Center), Oratorio for Living Things (Ars Nova), Prime: A Practical Breviary (Playwrights Horizons Soundstage), Animal Wisdom (The Bushwick Starr), in addition to being a lead artist on devised works Mission Drift (National Theater London), The World Is Round (BAM). Recent film and TV composition: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (BBC and Netflix), Teenage Euthanasia (Adult Swim), The Shivering Truth (Adult Swim), The Craft: Legacy (Blumhouse), Lemon (dir. Janicza Bravo). She was named one of TimeOut NY’s Downtown Innovators To Watch and has been awarded both the Richard Rogers and Stephen Schwartz Prizes. She’s released 13 records, taught at NYU and Princeton, operates her own recording studio in Beacon, NY, and can be seen regularly in concert as Heather Christian & the Arbornauts.

Written by Mikaal Sulaiman


Fork is a drama exploring themes of retribution, the complexity of truth, and our biased assumptions. Brian Knight, a Black former NFL star, faces profound grief and turmoil after his son’s death due to medical malpractice. Suspected of murdering his son’s White doctor, Brian’s struggle with CTE from his football career adds intensity to his plight. The erosion of his mind manifests in surreal, avant-garde mise-en-scène portraying his memories and deepening struggles. Riffing on the chess strategy called Fork, the play unravels in dual timelines of police interrogation and state-sanctioned therapy to evaluate his mental fitness for trial. Fork is not a play about race, although that plays a part; it is a profound examination of justice. Utilizing intricate sound design and Jacques Lecoq’s approach to physical theatre, this piece challenges stereotypes and invites society to reflect on deeply ingrained beliefs and values, making it a crucial and immediate story.


Mikaal Sulaiman is a Tony award nominated multi-disciplinary artist who works across film, TV, and theatre. Mikaal is a writer, director, sound designer, and composer. As a writer, he was recently in the writer’s room on a new episodic show for A24/Amazon created by Ramy Youssef called #1 Happy Family USA. Residencies include Mercury Store, Space on Ryder Farm in Upstate New York, UCross Foundation, as well as VoxFest. Select sound design projects: Enemy of the People (Broadway), Doubt (Broadway), Primary Trust (Roundabout, Pulitzer Prize for Drama), Fat Ham (Broadway, Pulitzer Prize for Drama), Macbeth (Broadway), Sanctuary City (New York Theatre Workshop), Fairview (Soho Rep, Pultizer Prize for Drama), and Underground Railroad Game (Ars Nova), among others. Nominations: Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award, and Bay Area Theatre Critics. Recipient: Obie Award, Theatre Bay Area Award, Creative Capital Award, Henry Hewes Design Award, Audelco Award, CTG Sherwood Award.

Written by Andrew Saito
Directed by Steven Sapp


Harlem Canary / Tokyo Crow is a comedic exploration of a little-known Japanese propaganda program during WWII, “Negro Propaganda Operations,” in which captured African American Prisoners of War recorded radio plays that contrasted the supposed joys they experienced living in Japan with the horrors of racism in the US. These recordings were intended for broadcast in Black communities in the US, to foment civil unrest.


Andrew Saito was Andrew W. Mellon Resident Playwright at the Cutting Ball Theater, has had multiple professional productions of his plays, and is currently commissioned by Asian Arts Initiative and Montalvo Arts Center. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Papua New Guinea. He has developed work with Crowded Fire, the Playwrights Center, East West Players, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and other theatres. He’s been a member of the Orchard Project’s Greenhouse Lab and The Civilians’ Research and Development Group, and a resident artist at Playwrights Foundation, AlterTheater, Just Theater, Djerassi, Blue Mountain Center, Montalvo, and Arquetopia Foundation (Puebla, Mexico). Internationally, he has worked with the legendary Peruvian theater Yuyachkani, Conjunto Cultural Korimakao (Cuba), and Asociación Xajooj Tun (Guatemala). He graduated from the Paramount Writers Mentoring Program, and most recently staffed on The Lost Symbol. He has developed pilots with CBS and Devonsheer Media. MFA: Iowa Playwrights Workshop.


Steven Sapp is a co-founder/core member of UNIVERSES Theater Company. Playwriting/Acting credits include: AmericUS; UniSon; Party People; Ameriville; The Denver Project; One Shot in Lotus Position; Blue Suite; Slanguage; Rhythmicity; The Ride. Acting-only credits include: The Comedy of Errors. Directing-only credits include: Serious Money; The Thanksgiving Play; Fireflies; Pass Over; Swopera; Metamorphoses; The Seven; Alfred Jarry’s UBU: Enchained. Awards/Affiliations: 2023–2024 Astere E. Caleyssens Artist in Residence, 2020 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency Program recipient; 2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (Theatre); Oregon Shakespeare Festival Acting Company Member (three seasons: 2012–2014); 2008 U.S. Cultural Ambassador with the U.S. State Department/Jazz at Lincoln Center — Rhythm Road Tour; 2008 TCG Peter Zeisler Award; 2002 TCG National Directors Award; 2002–2004 and 1999–2001 TCG National Theater Artist Residency Program Award; 1998 and 2002 BRIO Awards (Bronx Recognizes its Own — Performance); Van Lier Fellowship with New Dramatists; Co-Founder of The Point CDC.

Written by Nikki Massoud
Directed by Sivan Battat


A newly divorced, newly arrived billionaire is drawn into the tantalizing world of reverse-aging technology by a charismatic younger man. Will he invest in saving the world for the next generation or sacrifice everything in his pursuit of immortality? A science-based thriller inspired by the legend of Zahak e Mardoush, from Ferdowsi’s epic 11th century masterpiece Shahnameh (The Book of Kings).


Nikki Massoud is an Iranian-Canadian-American writer and performer. Her work has been developed through Bard at the Gate, The Lark, The Coop, CUNY, and a City Artist Corps Grant. She is also an incoming 2050 Artistic Fellow at New York Theater Workshop and she is currently under commission from Atlantic Theater, The Acting Company, and Noor Theater. Her acting credits include television roles on Succession (HBO) and Life and Beth (Hulu), and theatre performances at Berkeley Rep, Playwrights Horizons, The Old Globe, Huntington Theatre, NYTW, and the Goodman Theater. Nikki is also the Audie Award-winning narrator of over 60 audiobooks, available on Audible. Education: Brown University/Trinity Rep MFA, Georgetown University, and BADA. “Zan, Zendegi, Azadi.”


Sivan Battat (she/they) is a theatre director and cultural organizer. Recent credits include: Problems Between Sisters by Julia May Jonas (Studio Theatre, World Premiere), Wish You Were Here by Sanaz Toossi (Yale Repertory Theatre), Layalina by Martin Yousif Zebari (Goodman Theatre, World Premiere), Heroes of the Fourth Turning by Will Arbery (Studio Theatre), Backstroke Boys by Xavier Clark (Fault Line Theatre, Workshop Production), Brass Knuckles by Yussef El Guindi (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Coexistence My Ass by Noam Shuster (Edinburgh Fringe, World Premiere), Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress (AD, Broadway). Sivan is also the Director of New Work Development at Noor Theatre Company, a NYC based company dedicated to supporting the work of artists of Middle Eastern and North African descent. Fellowships include: Roundabout Directing Fellow, Drama League Directing Fellow, TCG Rising Leaders of Color.

Created by Milo Cramer and Morgan Green


Many people think of jury duty as a pain in the ass — or worse: as a dated, problematic institution that fails to administer justice. But from a different lens, the system is a democratic triumph, and one of the average citizens’ few opportunities for impactful civic participation at a time when faith in our government is collapsing. Which is it? In 2018, director Morgan Green was summoned for jury duty. While she didn’t ultimately serve on the jury, she did become fascinated by the intertwined politics and pageantry of this strange, old-fashioned, and beautiful American ritual. Working with frequent collaborator Milo Cramer, Jury Duty dramatizes the voir dire process: the cross-interrogation of prospective jurors by competing attorneys. The whole thing feels like theatre: justice administered via theatre.


Milo Cramer is a writer and performer. Their solo show School Pictures was recently featured on NPR’s This American Life, and has been produced at Playwrights Horizons, The Wilma, and is upcoming at Bard Summerscape and Theatre Latte Da (“Completely wonderful…best theater of 2023” – Sara Holdren, New York Magazine). Milo’s workplace satire Business Ideas won the 2023 Kendeda Award and is upcoming at The Alliance in Atlanta. Other works include Cute Activist at The Bushwick Starr (“a brilliant match of material and theater…a fable for our times” – Jesse Green, NYT), and Minor Character, created with New Saloon and seen at The Public Theater / Under The Radar and The Wilma (“it was grand to see the frothy meringue Minor Character again...even better since last year” – Helen Shaw, American Theatre). Milo is a MacDowell Fellow and under commission from Clubbed Thumb and Playwrights Horizons. MFA UCSD.


Morgan Green is a director of plays, films, radio, and dinnertime. She is currently a Co-Artistic Director at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia where she recently premiered the Pulitzer Prize winning Fat Ham by James Ijames, Eternal Life Part 1 by Nathan Alan Davis, and School Pictures by Milo Cramer which went on to Playwrights Horizons in New York and lauded as best production of 2023 in Vulture/NY Magazine. She was a co-founder of the award-winning theatre company, New Saloon, best known for Minor Character: Six Translations of Uncle Vanya at the Same Time (The Invisible Dog, The Public Theater, Sharon Playhouse). Other credits include: Staff Meal by Abe Koogler (Playwrights Horizons), The Music Man (The Sharon Playhouse), The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe (Marin Theatre Company), and Cute Activist by Milo Cramer (The Bushwick Starr). Her short film One More Time With Feeling premiered at the Raindance Film Festival in London October 2023. Morgan has developed new work at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Bric, Baryshnikov Art Center, Mabou Mines, and Mercury Store. She is a New Georges Affiliated Artist and proud member of SDC.

Created by Jen Anaya, Dean Linnard, Caterina Nonis, Andy Peterson


Chicago, 1989: it’s the peak of the AIDS crisis and Mateo is dying. His mother believes that only a miracle can save him. But her faith is put to the test when she meets Mateo’s boyfriend and their dramatically different worlds collide. Least of My Children is a hypnotic chamber piece, a musical-opera hybrid that grapples with questions of queerness, family, and the supernatural. The piece strives to make a case for the existence of hope in the face of irreparable loss. After lying dormant for over thirty years, the score of Least of My Children was miraculously rediscovered in a dusty old box by Dean Linnard, the son of the piece’s late composer, Loren Linnard. Now Dean and the creative team are on a mission to revitalize this forgotten queer classic for the present day. A story of love, illness, and prestidigitation.


Jen Anaya is a queer Indigenous Mexican theatre/music/art/ritual space-maker, doula, teacher, energy healer, and baby whisperer raised on Yavapaiv Apache, Cocopah, and O’odham land. From La Mama to Harvard Art Lab and Trinity Rep, Radio City Music Hall to The Kitchen and La Jolla Playhouse, across LenapeHoking, Turtle Island, and the world, Jen has been weaving music, theatre, art, movement, and healing together everywhere they go. They’ve performed in everything from plays, web series, musicals, experimental music pieces, and operas to public healing rituals and fandangos. They’re a founding member of Constellation Core, are a You Are Here Creations collaborator, a 2021 FORGE Fellow, and a Reiki and 13th Octave La Ho Chi practitioner. When not on contract, they tend to their healing arts practice, De Luz Healing, play with their bands, and have a blast with the young folks at 52nd St. Project. Jen is an AEA and SAG-AFTRA member. @jenitadeluz


Dean Linnard first worked with Berkeley Rep on Dave Malloy’s Octet. Other Bay Area acting credits include Torch Song (Marin Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Good Person of Szechwan, The Winter’s Tale (Cal Shakes), Twelfth Night, The Three Musketeers, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Marin Shakespeare), Bad Jews, and Hand to God (Left Edge Theatre). Dean received San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for Born With Teeth at Aurora Theatre Company, as well as for Groundhog Day: The Musical and Indecent at San Francisco Playhouse. New York credits include performances at the Guggenheim and Met Museums, plus the world premiere of Dave Harris’ Tambo & Bones at Playwrights Horizons. Regional credits include shows with Asolo Rep, Portland Stage, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and Vermont Shakespeare Festival. Dean founded and facilitated the Anti-Isolation Arts Factory, a pandemic-era digital theatre collective. Training: BFA from NYU Tisch, Stella Adler Studio, RADA.


Caterina Nonis is a director, actor, educator, and translator living and working between Milan and New York. She believes in creating theatre that centers marginalized narratives, particularly female and queer voices. She has collaborated with companies including Page 73, Biennale di Venezia, The Habitat, NYMadness, Shotz! Amios, Theatre East, Modern Shakespeare Project, Campo Teatrale. She has toured across the US and Italy with Kairos Italy Theatre’s play The Worth of Women. She has served as director and community facilitator for the Inheritance Theatre Project on Preparation’s Aftermath, Tribalism (New York), Exodus: Resettlement (Omaha, NE), Exodus: Homecoming (Coastal Virginia). Her documentary Mario was presented at CinemAmbiente Festival in 2021 (Turin) and won Best Documentary at Moviemmece Festival in 2022 (Naples). Currently training with ATIR (Milan) as a facilitator of theatre for social change. SDCF 2018 Observership Class. BFA: NYU Tisch, Stella Adler, and RADA.


Andy Peterson is a Broadway pianist, musical director, orchestrator, and award-winning composer. Broadway: Suffs (Music Box Theatre), A Beautiful Noise (Broadhurst Theatre), Tootsie (Marquis Theatre), Dancin’ (Music Box Theatre), My One and Only (Roundabout), Off Broadway: The Grateful Dead’s musical Red Roses, Green Gold (MD/Arranger/Orchestrations), Atomic (MD/Arranger/Orchestrations). Composer: The World to Come (Audio series – Webby Honoree), Razorhurst (New Jersey, Sydney), An Entirely Ordinary Town (New York, Chicago, Sydney). Install Musical Director for new shows at Universal Studios Beijing, Celebrity Beyond, and Universal Studios Japan.

Written/Performed by KJ Sanchez


KJ is agnostic. Her brother is very spiritual. In fact, he is the Catholic Petitioner of the Cause for the canonization of Sister Blandina Segale (1850–1941). In this Spalding Gray-inspired monologue based on interviews, KJ seeks to truly know her brother, who she thinks is a saint. Her brother seeks to have KJ’s help to spread the word about Blandina, who he thinks is a saint. Brother and sister are united by their history — but with a chasm of faith between them. A one-person investigative play written and performed by KJ Sanchez about what it means to be good and what it takes to be a saint.


KJ Sanchez is the founder and CEO of American Records, dedicated to making theatre that chronicles our time, theatre that serves as a bridge between people. She is a playwright and director and has worked at (select list) The Alley, The Guthrie, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, The Alliance, Arizona Theatre Company, Berkeley Rep, Baltimore’s Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Playmakers Rep, Asolo Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Two River Theater Company, Frontera Rep, Round House, Studio Theatre in D.C., Cornerstone Theater Company, and Off-Broadway at Urban Stages, HERE Arts Center, and the Gene Frankel Theatre. KJ is a former member of Anne Bogart’s SITI Company, a current Associate Artist with The Civilians, the voice of many characters on the cartoons Dora the Explorer and Go Diego Go, a Fox Fellow, Douglass Wallop Fellow, and recipient of the Rella Lossy Playwright Award. She teaches at UT Austin.

Written by Linda Amayo-Hassan


The Missing Songs is an elegy, expressed through a tapestry of songs and scenes, each reflecting stories of missing Native women, children, and two-spirited peoples. Missing people, missing lives, and missing generations. The pain and anguish of these events are told through the stories of those who have been left behind to mourn and grieve the loss of family and shared history. The perspectives of Native mothers, sisters, and daughters drive the piece, as we experience their fears and desperation, as well as their love and hope. These Native women reach for each other to find connection, comfort, and acceptance as they yearn for connection with the loved ones and descendants who have been stolen from their lives.


Linda Amayo-Hassan is a Native, Chicana playwright, actor, director, and singer/songwriter. Linda is local to the San Francisco Bay Area and the Founder and Artistic Director of Theatre Cultura, a Latinx based theatre company. Her plays have been produced at PlayGround, The Pear Theatre, Same Boat Theater Collective, and Native Writers’. In 2018, Linda had the honor of attending The Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive. Recently as an actor, she worked at The Aurora Theatre, Shotgun Players, and Oakland Theater Project. Linda has an MFA in Acting and Directing from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She is a board member at PlayGround, a theatre professor at Chabot College, and an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Tribe-Mni Wakan Oyate.

By Ngozi Anyanwu


The Monsters is a sibling love story that
as they reconnect
Wrestle with their demons
Fight with their fists
All through their love of MMA


Ngozi Anyanwu is a playwright, storyteller, and most recently a 2020 Steinberg Playwright Award winner. Anyanwu will have a world premiere of her newest play Leroy and Lucy this coming fall of 2024 at The Steppenwolf Theatre. Previous productions include Last of the Love Letters (Atlantic Theater Company), Good Grief (Vineyard Theatre in NYC / Center Theatre Group in LA), and The Homecoming Queen (sold-out world premiere run at the Atlantic Theatre). Good Grief was on the Kilroys List 2016 and a semi finalist for the Princess Grace Award, and won the Humanitas Award. The Homecoming Queen was on the Kilroys List 2017 and was a Leah Ryan Finalist. Her play Nike… (Kilroys List 2017) was workshopped at The New Black Fest in conjunction with The Lark and The Strand Festival in conjunction with ACT and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Ngozi also has commissions with NYU, The Old Globe, Two Rivers Theatre, The Atlantic Theatre, and Steppenwolf. Anyanwu has also received residencies from LCT3, Space on Ryder Farm, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, The New Harmony Project, New York Stage and Film, and Page 73. She attended Point Park University (BA) and received her MFA in Acting from University of California, San Diego.

Written by Christopher Sears


Long ago
There was a girl
She was the child
Of the world
And when she sang
We believed
We could do
Oh we could fly
Oh we could fly
But then one night
There was a sound
The girl was gone
And we came down
But two of us
Still hear her song
A river flowing through us all
The Fool built a box
to make us see
The Theatre he swears is the place we can be
And Grace belongs in the street
“Stay open”
she cries
let the river weep
Let them try
The stage is set
To make you remember before you forget
Remember the time
The time you said
Oh we could fly
Oh we could fly


Christopher Sears is an actor, singer, composer, piano player, and painter in New York City. He comes from a family of theatre makers and is a proud member of Edie’s Fairytale Theatre. His latest role is Johnny in Leslye Headland’s Cult of Love at Berkeley Rep. Christopher is currently working on his first opera, Moonchildren with his sister Sienna Sears and longtime collaborators Adrian Enscoe and Sydney Shepherd of Bandits on the Run. He is also currently developing a musical adaptation of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape with writer Peter Hedges and Bandits on the Run. For more info go to his Instagram @christophersearsart.

Written by Jaclyn Backhaus


In May 1971, Yuba City’s flourishing Punjabi farming community is rocked by the discovery of a body buried in the peach orchards. And then another. And then another. Harprit, a senior in high school, wants to get the story right; her family just wants to survive. A story of the struggle to feel safe in your small hometown.


Jaclyn Backhaus (she/her) is a playwright hailing from Phoenix, Arizona. Off-Broadway: Out of Time (NAATCO/The Public Theater, dir. Les Waters), Wives (Playwrights Horizons, dir. Margot Bordelon), India Pale Ale (Winner, 2018 Horton Foote Prize, MTC, dir. Will Davis), Men on Boats (Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Horizons, dir. Will Davis), and You on the Moors Now (TRE, dir. John Kurzynowski). Other plays include Dana During Tech Week, Folk Wandering, Oracle, and End-of-Life. Her work for TV/film includes Doulas, a half-hour comedy pilot, and Preeti Popped It (written with Mahira Kakkar and Purva Bedi), a Punjabi-American road trip comedy (1497 Features Lab). She is a member of The Kilroys, part of the NYU Tisch playwriting faculty, and a co-creative director of Fresh Ground Pepper, an artistic process lab in NYC. She was the 2016 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Clubbed Thumb and is currently a New Dramatists resident playwright.

Written by Lucy Thurber
Directed by Caitríona McLaughlin


Port Isabel, Texas, a brand-new play by Lucy Thurber, is a sweet, sad, and sometimes funny exploration of what it means to say goodbye. During Lucy’s time at The Ground Floor, she and her longtime collaborator Caitríona McLaughlin will workshop the play culminating in a new draft.


Lucy Thurber is the author of twelve plays: Transfers, Where We’re Born, Ashville, Scarcity, Killers and Other Family, Stay, Bottom of The World, Monstrosity, Dillingham City, The Locus, Perry Street, and The Insurgents. Her Obie-winning five play cycle The Hill Town Plays was produced Off Broadway by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in-conjunction with The Cherry Lane Theater, The Axis Theater, and The New Ohio Theatre. Her plays have also been produced at The Atlantic Theater Company, Labyrinth Theater Company, and Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF). Lucy wrote the text for Quixote, conceived and directed by Lear deBessonet, a site-specific performance with the Psalters made for and with The Broad Street Community. Thurber is an alumni of New Dramatists, as well as a member of 13P, Labyrinth Theater Company, and Rising Phoenix Rep. She has been commissioned by Williamstown Theater Festival, Playwrights Horizons, CATF, House on The Moon, WET, and Yale Rep. She is the recipient of Manhattan Theatre Club Playwriting Fellowship, the 1st Gary Bonasorte Memorial Prize for Playwriting, a proud recipient of a Lilly Award, a 2014 Obie Award for The Hill Town Plays, and the Helen Merrill Award. Thurber’s short film Beloved was directed by Will Frears and starred Chloe Sevigny. She’s also written films for Lionsgate, Maven Films, and Steve Shainberg and Deborah Granick. She is currently a staff writer on AMC’s new show NOS4A2.


Caitríona McLaughlin is Artistic Director of the Abbey Theatre, (Ireland’s National Theatre) since 2021 and was associate director for four years prior to that. She is an award winning director with 20 years experience in both theatre and opera, directing in Ireland, the UK, and New York. She is currently working on Graina by Lady Gregory for The Abbey Theatre and her most recent Abbey productions include iGirl and Audrey or Sorrow by Marina Carr, Tartuffe by Frank McGuinness, Translations by Brian Friel, and The Weir by Conor McPherson. Caitríona has a particular passion for new writing.

Written by Marvin González De León


More than just one night of televised competition. This is a way of life. Real. American. Cowboy. follows five hopefuls on the stage and behind the scenes as they go head-to-head in a Ms. America-style pageant to win the top prize, the “Golden Sheriff’s Badge.” As we witness the blood, sweat, and tears involved in the fight for the top spot as the roughest, toughest cowboy in this land of purple mountain majesty, we also witness the unraveling of the oldest American myth and find out what it truly means to be a real American cowboy.


Marvin González De León is a first-generation Mexican-American who writes plays that incorporate a myriad of genres — from sci fi to horror — anchored in the traditions of Latin American literature. He was the recipient of the 2022 Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship. He is also a Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center, where he was previously awarded the Jerome Fellowship, the McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting, and the Many Voices Fellowship. He was a member of the Interstate 73 Writers Group at Page 73 Productions and was a Virtual Realm Mentee with The Playwrights Realm. His plays include Too Close to Earth, which has been developed by the Playwrights’ Center and Page 73, and Madre de Dios, which was developed at Round House’s 2022 National Capital New Play Festival and the 2024 O’Neill Center’s National Playwrights Conference. González De León received his MFA in Dramatic Writing in 2017 at Arizona State University.

Written by Margot Bordelon


Scrub is the story of a mother’s life told through the objects in her overrun home. Woven between these tales are a daughter’s memories of growing up working class in the Pacific Northwest. Part memory play, part interview project, this new work of autofiction explores the intersection of feminism, class, and mental illness.


Margot Bordelon is a New York based director and writer who specializes in new work. Off-Broadway credits include: …what the end will be, Something Clean and Too Heavy For Your Pocket (Roundabout), Let’s Call Her Patty and Plot Points in Our Sexual Development (LCT3), peerless (Primary Stages and Cherry Lane), Wives (Playwrights Horizons), Do You Feel Anger? (Vineyard), Eddie and Dave (Atlantic), The Pen (Premieres NYC), A Delicate Ship (Playwrights Realm), Wilder Gone (Clubbed Thumb), The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play (DODO). Margot has directed productions regionally at ACT Seattle, Actors Theatre Louisville, Alliance, American Theater Company, Arena Stage, Denver Center, Geffen, Marin Theater Company, Miami New Drama, TheaterWorks Hartford, Steppenwolf, the Wilma, and Yale Rep. She has developed work at Ars Nova, Berkeley Rep, Ma-Yi, MTC, New Dramatists, NYTW, P73, PCS, The Public, PWC, Rattlestick, Seattle Rep, and Woolly Mammoth. MFA, Yale School of Drama.

Written/Performed by Phil Wong


What is the first meal you remember cooking for a loved one? Where does your mind go when you smell frying garlic? Why does ketchup taste like colonialism? Sic, Heung, Mei 色香味, Phil Wong’s very first full-length playwriting effort, is part cooking show, part food history, and part culinary seance. The play takes its name from the Cantonese cooking philosophy “Color, Aroma, & Taste”; the three cornerstones of a perfect dish as well as the three dimensions through which we perceive, receive, and enjoy our food. From the lost recipes and language of his Teochew Grandmother to the origins of his father’s San Franciscan Cioppino, to a dim sum fueled sexual awakening, Phil dives deep into the heart of our collective sense memory around food and the sublime act of cooking. Set a big table and come eat. There’s plenty for everybody.


Phil Wong (he/him/his) is an award-winning theatre artist and apparently also a playwright from Oakland, CA. Phil has been a part of the San Francisco Bay Area theater community since he was very young and his work as an actor includes credits with American Conservatory Theater, Cal Shakes, TheatreWorks, SF Shakes, ZSpace & Word for Word, and Shotgun Players. Other regional credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the National Tours of Cambodian Rock Band (A Contemporary Theater) and Freestyle Love Supreme (ACT & Portland Center Stage). He and hip hop theatre artist Dan Wolf co-founded Bay Area Theatre Cypher, a collective of hip-hop theatre artists who channel the cypher for empathetic and revolutionary storytelling. Sic, Heung, Mei 色香味 is Phil’s very first full-length playwriting effort, and he is honored to be bringing the tastes and smells of his childhood to The Ground Floor this year. @phillywongsteak @phillywongsnacks @bayareatheatrecypher

Book by Rehana Lew Mirza
Composed/Lyrics by Ari Afsar


That Girl is an intimate musical that explores the meaning of love and family across cultures and time, through the story of Maria and Samiya who find themselves in competition with one another as they vie for the love of charismatic musician Vijay. Thirty years later, their respective daughters (double-cast) must overcome the competitive mentality of their mothers in order to find the true meaning of sisterhood. With an epic pop rock singer-songwriter score, this musical explores what immigrants build, what women inherit, and what we’re ready to choose for ourselves.


Rehana Lew Mirza’s plays include: Hatefuck (First Floor, Chicago; Colt Coeur/WP, NYC); A People’s Guide to History in the Time of Here and Now (Primary Stages Toulmin Commission; AADA workshop); Soldier X (Ma-Yi; Brooklyn College; NYSCA/Lark commission); Tomorrow, Inshallah (Living Room Theater, KC; Storyworks/HuffPost commission); Neighborhood Watch (NNPN/InterAct commission); and Barriers (Desipina, Asian American Theater Company). With her husband Mike Lew, she held a National Playwrights Mellon residency at Ma-Yi Theatre from 2016–2022, after being playwrights in residence at La Jolla Playhouse, where their musical Bhangra Nation (with composer Sam Willmott, 2019 Rodgers Award) premiered under the title of Bhangin’ It. The musical recently had its UK premiere at Birmingham Rep. Honors include: Kleban Award, NYFA Fellow, HBO Access Fellow, Cape Cod Residency, Lilly Award, E.S.T. Sloan commission, Primary Stages Dorothy Strelsin Writers Group Member (2014–2017), Colt Coeur Member, and a TCG/New Georges Fellowship. MFA: Columbia University; BFA: NYU Tisch.


Ari Afsar (she/her) believes in the power of art changing culture, and culture changing policy. A graduate of Ethnomusicology from UCLA, Afsar released her album, We Won’t Sleep, distributed by Sony Masterworks. She is currently commissioned as an Artivist Fellow for the Tony-award winning Broadway Advocacy Coalition collaborating on a song cycle to support the Justice Beyond Punishment Coalition. Her work has been commissioned/featured at the La Jolla Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, UTK, and NMTC at the O’Neill. Afsar has opened for Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris, Gloria Steinem, and Hillary Clinton. She starred in the top 10 Netflix movie Wedding Season, composed with Pasek & Paul for Shawn Mendez in Sony’s Lyle Lyle Crocodile, originated Eliza in Chicago’s Hamilton, starred in the world premiere of Bhangra Nation at La Jolla Playhouse, awarded top 10 at Miss America as Miss California, and placed top 36 on American Idol. She is currently an MPA candidate at NYU Wagner.

Special thanks

The Ground Floor is supported by Frances Hellman & Warren Breslau, with additional funding provided by Bank of America, The Maurer Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


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