Alliance Theatre: English, August/September 2023

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16–SEP 17, 2023 | 3 ENGLISH FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTORS Between Us 5 FEATURE Magic, Catharsis, and Identity 6 Director Shadi Ghaheri on English and What She Hopes Audiences Take Away from It STORY BY ASHLEY ELLIOTT Program Highlight 10 Onstage & Off .................... 13 Program Notes 15 Your Story, Your Stage ............ 24 Synopsis 25 DEPARTMENTS About the Alliance Theatre ........ 27 Board of Directors 28 Sponsors ........................ 29 Annual Fund 31 Alliance Theatre Staff ............. 35 Page 6 Page 10 Page 24



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Welcome to our 2023/24 Season! A season that celebrates who we are individually and shines a light on what is possible when we build together as a community. Our mission this year was to invite you on journeys that entertain, provoke civic engagement, and inspire us all to experience the world in new and surprising ways.

English felt like the perfect play to begin our journey — an elegantly-crafted story about the desire to open oneself up to new worlds through new words.

“It’s a huge thing to learn a different language,” says playwright Sanaz Toossi. “A huge thing to give up that ability to fully express yourself.” We all can relate to the human desire to communicate, to connect, and be understood. Toossi’s exquisite ear for linguistic trial and error offers a funny, humanizing framework for the larger questions about aspiration and identity; how personality can dissolve in a foreign tongue; how a new language can both expand one’s horizons and diminish one’s sense of self; and how language is one of the places where cultural dominance asserts itself. Anyone who has struggled to learn a foreign language — or who has traveled the world as an English speaker — can relate.

Set in Iran, with geopolitics in the background and steering clear of trauma, Toossi embraces the playful more than the bleak and does a quietly radical thing: Present a corrective to the dominant narratives about the Middle East we typically receive.

The year is 2008, in the just-before moments when reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi pledged to support women’s and other civil rights, when a generation of Iranians were remaking their assumptions about their future and country. This singular classroom holds the hopes and anger rippling across hundreds like it:

What does it mean to live your life in translation?

Bringing this story to life is an exceptionally talented Iranian and Iranian-American cast, a first for the Alliance, and an incredible honor. For these actors and designers, led by the inspired vision of director Shadi Ghaheri, spending every day with a play about Iran at the present moment is a charged thing. We salute the fortitude and vulnerability it has taken to bring this story to the Alliance stage, expanding our hearts and minds in powerful new ways! Thank you for joining us!

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Director Shadi Ghaheri on English and What She Hopes Audiences Take Away from It

Shadi Ghaheri first encountered English as an audience member.

“It was the first time the show was being publicly produced,” she says of Atlantic Theater’s 2022 production. “I was just [an] audience member at that point … and I was with the story nonstop — there wasn’t a moment that they didn’t have me. And it was lovely to see this story that [understands] me. That’s the magic — the language feels like home.” She says watching it for the first time made her feel like her “heart and soul were being heard.”

Shadi was born and raised in Tehran, which is about forty minutes away from Karaj, where the play takes place. She spoke Farsi for the first twenty-three years of her life and got her bachelor’s degree in that language before diving into the English language and becoming intimately familiar with the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the test prominently featured in English

She says that her parents often tell a story of when they briefly lived in America while her father was on sabbatical and they sent her to a playground nearby to play. After a while, they saw her conversing with American children and were confused. She didn’t know any English; how was she speaking with the children? They soon realized that she was just speaking gibberish — making up a language that the kids responded to.

Although Shadi learned English easily during her family’s time in America, she points out that it was still hard to learn English and continues to work with others when she works on her own bilingual art. “I collaborate with a lot of writers and dramaturgs because it just really doesn’t come easily to me to write [in English], which is obvious because we think in our own original language. You translate it in your head to another language, and you have to come down to your fingers and spell it out, and this process just kills the creation in a really bad way.”

She also learned English through watching international films and TV shows where the characters spoke the language, such as Friends. Even then, it was difficult to get a solid grasp of the English language since there are sounds not present in Farsi. (She describes language as being “in your body. We don’t have [the sound] “th,” so the placement of the tongue is just alien to us. … Things like this [are] so scientific and it’s just, like, you have to develop a palate in your mouth for it, and for people to do that later in life is just kind of impossible.”)

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“So much is lost [in translation],” Shadi says. “All the time that we are talking in another language, we simultaneously are two different people, and some of our [meanings] will come with the language and so much will not. There’s a line in the play … Roya says to Elham, ‘You are very smart, Elham, but you’re very rude. In Farsi, you balance yourself out, but wherever you land, you’re going to have quite a hard time adjusting because in English you won’t have redeeming qualities.’”

Despite this, Shadi says that speaking English gives her a confidence and a freedom that she doesn’t find in Farsi. “When I came here, everyone found me funny and laughed at me. … That’s just what happens in translation. I don’t need to be the thing that is expected of me in Farsi, because [English] is new and nobody knows me in [English]. … I think the beauty and simplicity of this play, English, is that you find it funny that it’s so challenging for [the characters] to deal with learning a new language. And deeply, they’re frustrated, for different reasons. Elham is frustrated because she has always been the smart person — the person who is studying medicine in Iran. … And then you have Omid, who can easily access English but doesn’t feel comfortable or happy in it.”

Although this play has its funny moments, audiences may not define it as a comedy. There is a constant undercurrent of pain in this story of people striving to learn a new identity while simultaneously ridding themselves of the old one. It is raw and grips your heart in ways you don’t completely understand.

“I think that is the beauty of this play and, like, what a badass writer Sanaz [Toossi] is that her play does that, right?” Shadi says, glowing with pride for the playwright who has been her friend for years. “That someone who doesn’t know that world — you can read it and feel like you’re laughing but you can sense that there’s something underneath. And you wonder, ‘I don’t know where to put this feeling. I need to go home?’ I think there are moments [in this play] where your heart just gasps. And you’re like, ‘Why? Why am I feeling this way? It’s a simple story in a classroom!’ But it’s not. It’s about belonging. It’s about identity. And it’s about something deep in us that language is unable to name it.”

Although the story is about five specific Iranian people with a very specific need to learn English, it’s still relatable for audience members and actors alike. Shadi says that all the actors who auditioned for the play talked about how much it touched them, regardless of how long they had lived in America or whether they grew up speaking Farsi or not. “Every one of them who read the play connected somewhere deep in this struggle of ‘Who am I? Who am I with this language and who could I have been with the other language?’” | @alliancetheatre |
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Artistic Director Tinashe Kajese-Bolden with actors at the first rehearsal for English Photo by Aniska Tonge.

Shadi goes on to say that, while the story doesn’t unfold much about the politics of 2008 or the Green Movement that would happen a few months after the play takes place, it unintentionally foreshadows the revolutionary voice of women, men, and the LGBTQ community in the current Woman, Life, Freedom movement-revolution in Iran. She takes any opportunity to bring attention to the oppression, imprisoning, and killing of freedom fighters in Iran in the current time.

She says that she feels responsible to point out that Iran is still one of the top countries with the highest rate of immigration in young educated immigrants admissions, and that the number of Iranian students in the best Ivy League schools around the world is exemplary. “The high number of young immigrants from Iran is not accidental; there’s a reason for that which I ask all of us to pay attention to!”

“We are so privileged to have an amazing piece like English and the Alliance to invite us to come. And right now we have five Iranian-American actors; we have three Iranian designers; we have a dramaturg and a dialogue coach and a cultural consultant that are all Iranian women. … It’s like a vision came true, like an example of, if you share the space and tell stories — stories that are being hidden and buried, just choked down for generations — can be heard and, hopefully, through that, we can have a safer world for everyone, especially women and the queer community.”

Shadi wishes that anyone who experiences this play will see traces of why the Woman, Life, Freedom movement is a necessity today. Although the play isn’t about that, Shadi hopes that audiences will look at the story and realize that they are just looking at people just like them. “A group of humans,” she says, “with desires and dreams of something better.”

Just like how Shadi initially encountered the play as an audience member, she wants the Alliance’s audiences to take away a similar feeling that she felt – that sense of magic and catharsis.

“My biggest hope is that the audience member who comes,” she continues, “can get lost and forget for a second that they are in a theater space. And they could feel something somewhere in their body that they have not allowed themselves to feel for a long time. … For a moment, you laugh so hard or, for a moment, burst into tears unexpectedly, not knowing where it’s coming from. And you find an understanding and sympathy with another human being that you just didn’t have access to before. That’s really my hope.” | 9
Director Shadi Ghaheri at the first rehearsal for English Photo by Aniska Tonge.


A Conversation with Costume Designer

Afsaneh Aayani is an Iranian/American multidisciplinary artist. She graduated with her MFA in Scenic Design from University of Houston in 2020 and her BFA from Art University Of Tehran in 2010. She has created work around the United States, Iran, China, Poland, Sri Lanka, and Germany. She has received multiple national/international awards for design, puppeteering, puppetmaking, and directing. To learn more about her work you can visit

Tell us about yourself and your journey to becoming a costume designer!

From the time I was five or six, I was already surrounded by fabric and patterns. Both my mom and my aunt were tailors, and my aunt even used to tell me I would grow up to be a fashion designer. Although my bachelor’s was in puppetry and my masters was in scenic design, I have always had a special place in my heart for costume design. Even as a puppeteer, I need to make the puppet costumes, so it has been and continues to be an inseparable part of what I do as an artist.

How has it been to work on a story so close to your own lived experience?

How has that informed your design process?

I’ve honestly really been enjoying the process. I was in Iran in 2008, so it’s not just doing online research or finding photos of random people, but also going back through pictures of myself, my family, and my friends. It’s been a really nostalgic experience that has also resulted in an authentic design for the show. In fact, one of the characters is styled similarly to my mom — you can see a bit of her in the final production onstage. Generally, all of the costumes you will see are reminiscent of the people I was surrounded by at that time in my life. To me these aren’t just fictional characters, these are people I know and have lived with.

What has been your creative process to design the costumes for this show? How did the personalities of the characters inform your costume designs for them? One thing that I think will make this production special is the backstories we developed for each character. We had multiple meetings not just with the director but with the whole design team to come to a more profound understanding of who these people really are. This helped all of the designers to develop a common and deep understanding of each character. In the context of costume design, you’ll see this play out in all kinds of details — | @alliancetheatre
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things like the length of the manto that each character wears, the type of headscarf they have, or the colors they wear. Each detail is intimately tied to the backstory of the character and the world we are trying to create.

You are traveling to Iran to source materials for your design of the show — why is it important for you to make this journey?

It is quite fortunate that this show coincides with the first time I’ve been able to visit my home in a long time. This is an incredible opportunity to bring the actual headwear that we would wear at school or the outfits that women would really wear. It is difficult, or in some cases impossible, to source the authentic material here in the US or to find it online. Since we are telling a story that is so personal and so real, I feel it is important to do this story justice, and to picture these people as they would have been in Iran in 2008. Also, it is important for the audience to understand that a woman’s outfit in Iran is a political statement. I would guess that for most of the audience when they wake up in the morning and choose their outfit, the political implication is probably not one of the major factors that helps them decide. For Iranian women, the clothes are a major part of the culture as well as personal identity, so putting those clothes on stage as they were is special to me.

Is there one thing — a special detail or exciting nuance — that you are hoping audiences will notice in your design?

As the show progresses, the colors, patterns, and styles change with each of the characters as we unravel their story, their truth. I hope the audience notices or at least can feel this transformation for each of the characters and can enjoy the story within the story we are trying to tell. | 11
Renderings for Elham’s costume, created by and courtesy of Afsaneh Aayani.


A Step to the Future or a Gatekeeper of Opportunity?

The future is bright, but how do we get there? I usually begin each semester of my English Proficiency Test Prep course with some variation of this sentiment. For many international students, that future requires a score between 69 and 100+ (out of 120) on the TOEFL to even be considered for acceptance into a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. But what is the TOEFL test?

The TOEFL (or Test of English as a Foreign Language) is an English proficiency test designed by ETS (Educational Testing Service) to ascertain the skill level of non-native English users in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The test is over three hours long, and each opportunity can cost the test taker several hundred dollars. Ultimately, the student will receive an individual score for each section and a final score that could determine their educational future in their desired program.

So, what does this mean for our international students? To some, the TOEFL represents a foreboding gatekeeper that, in their minds, is the only thing preventing them from their dream career or educational goals. Still others would argue that the TOEFL is merely another obstacle on their educational and professional journey to the future. They believe the test doesn’t dictate who you are, and you are neither better nor worse at English after taking the test.

It is my constant aim to have students view the TOEFL as the latter students do. The test does not define a student’s ability or understanding of the English language. Proficiency tests are inherently contrived and administered under unrealistic time constraints. If I were to give my students a whole class period to create a speech about someone that inspires them, these students could create one of the most passionate, coherent, well-supported presentations you have ever heard. But they don’t get a class period on the TOEFL; they get 15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to speak.

This may sound like I harbor ill will towards the TOEFL, but I don’t. It’s just a test. Still, our students need to prepare for the rigors of that test. So, how do they focus their opinions and organize their thoughts quickly? We train daily with timed speaking practice and sample questions. How can they analyze and summarize content to identify the best answers to each section? We examine test prep materials and break down question types to develop our approach. And finally, how can our students strive to see that the TOEFL isn’t some foreboding gatekeeper or indecipherable code meant to confound international students? We work side by side, pick each other up when we stumble, and boost our confidence until we can see that the TOEFL isn’t some insurmountable obstacle but merely a step on a journey to a bright future.

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Jonathan Putnam

SEP 15–OCT 1 2023

Co-Production with the Atlanta Opera

The iconic Stephen King thriller, theatrically adapted as a riveting opera.

Composed by PAUL MORAVEC

OCT 14–DEC 23 2023

World Premiere, Musical Journey down the rabbit hole for a delightful musical adventure inspired by the classic Beatrix Potter tales.

Plus many more!

Tickets and memberships available at


The posting of photos taken before the show, during intermission, or in our lobbies is not only allowed but strongly encouraged! We do kindly ask that you refrain from taking pictures, recording audio, or capturing video during the performance to allow our audiences and performers to stay connected with each other during our brief time together.

Our stories are not simply told for you, but with you.

Coming Soon in the 2023/24 SEASON
Libretto by MARC CAMPBELL Stage Direction by BRIAN STAUFENBIEL Inspired by the stories of BEATRIX POTTER Presented by special arrangement with PENGUIN VENTURES and officially licensed on behalf of brand owner FREDERICK WARNE & CO. LTD.



Artistic Director

















World Premiere

Presented By Atlantic Theater Company and Roundabout Theatre Company New York City, 2022

In 2020, ENGLISH received the L. Arnold Weissberger Award for Playwriting, jointly administered by the Anna L. Weissberger Foundations and Williamstown Theatre Festival

“English” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

This production is supported in part by the BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle.














KAY NILEST Line Producer

RAIYON HUNTER Casting Assistant

PHIL BARANSKI Production Management Lead



GABRIELLE DRUM Programmer/Light Board Operator



Georgia State University English as a Second Language Program Refuge Coffee Divan Restaurant and Bar Pardis Magazine

Special thanks to a generous group of sponsors from the Iranian community of Atlanta, including lead support from Benny and Roxanne Varzi and Farideh and Al Azadi.

The full list of sponsors can be found at | @alliancetheatre | encore 16 | programnotes CAST AUVEEN DEZGARAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Goli
HEIDARI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jennifer (Voiceover)
KAHN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Omid
LEV MANN . . . . . . . . . . . . . Coach (Voiceover)/Nader (Voiceover)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stage Manager
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .Stage Management
Production Assistant
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wardrobe
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stagehand
“She Bangs” written by Walter N. Afanasieff, Desmond Child and Robert Edward Rosa. Used by permission of Sony/ATV Tunes LLC, A Phantom Vox Corp./Warner Chappell Music Publishing Co., Deston Songs LLC/ BMG Rights Management, and Hipgnosis SFH I Ltd/Kobalt Songs Music Publishing. All rights reserved.

*Denotes a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

The Alliance Theatre operates under an agreement between the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, an independent national labor union. The Alliance Theatre at the Woodruff is a member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and is a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young Audiences (ASSITEJ/USA), The Atlanta Coalition of Theatres, the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Midtown Alliance.

Photos may be taken in the theater before the performance, and following the performance. If you share your photos, please credit the designers.

Photos, videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited, is a violation of United States Copyright Law, and is an actionable Federal Offense.

This show runs approximately an hour and a half with no intermission.

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AUVEEN DEZGARAN (Goli) [she/her] Alliance Theatre debut. Auveen is an Iranian-American actor who splits her time between her home of Los Angeles and her current residence of New York City. Standout Projects: The Civilians: An American Feast (Joe’s Pub), Stagedream (Playwrights Downtown: Mainstage), and Horse Girls (Playwrights Horizons Theatre School). Auveen’s passion lies in bringing to life a variety of original work created by young female artists like herself. A loving thank you to Mama, Baba, Tate, and my friends; Mama, I share this with you. BFA: NYU Tisch (Playwrights Horizons Theatre School and Stonestreet Studios).

LILLY HEIDARI (Jennifer [Voiceover], u/s Elham) [she/they] Originally from Columbia, SC, Lilly is delighted to be working for the first time at the Alliance Theatre! Past favorite theatre credits include Kimmy in Montgomery by Alliance alum Stephen Brown (Trustus Theatre), Jess in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), #46 in The Wolves, Tilly in She Kills Monsters, Verges in Much Ado About Nothing, and Dorothea in Eleemosynary (UofSC Theatre). Lilly is endlessly grateful to her family and friends for their love and support, and she is honored to be a part of this important IranianAmerican production.

ASH KAHN (Omid) is thrilled to join the cast of English at the Alliance Theatre! He recently portrayed Avner on the popular TV series The Chosen, and was also Viola in Twelfth Night at the Mammoth Lakes Shakespeare Festival. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and has continued to hone his craft under renowned teachers such as Ivana Chubbuck and Lesly Kahn. To stay updated with Ash’s artistic journey, you can find him on social media platforms as @ashkahnactor

ADIR LEV MANN (Coach [Voiceover]/ Nader [Voiceover], u/s Omid) is a Sephardic American Atlanta-based actor, writer, and director who recently produced two awardwinning short films with his production company Exodus Pro. In the spring, he made his regional debut in Actor’s Express’s production of Prayer for the French Republic as Daniel Benhamou. He is thrilled to be making his Alliance debut in English. Educational: The Addams Family, School of Rock, Pippin. Commercial: Cinnabon, Publix Film: Time, Your Story. Education: International Baccalaureate Certificate in Film and Theatre, Associate of Arts; Georgia State University, Alliance Theatre Education - Scene Study for the Working Actor. A very, very special thank you to the Alliance Theatre’s education department, which has cultivated him as an Actor since the age of 18 and has given him a home. To Clayton Landey for his mentorship and guidance and to Jody Feldman for her belief and support. Instagram: @adirwho



(Marjan) is a multi award-winning Iranian American actor, writer, filmmaker, and transgender activist. She recently appeared in the world premiere of The Sex Party (Menier Chocolate Factory) in London. Her other stage performances include her Obie win in the Pulitzer and Obie-winning play English (Atlantic Theater Company), Hamlet (Play On Shakespeare Festival), One Woman (United Solo), She,He,Me (National Queer Theater), Our Town (Pride Plays), Galatea (The WP Project), The Good Muslim (EST), White Snake (Baltimore Center Stage), and the Audible production of Chonburi Hotel & The Butterfly Club (Williamstown Theater Festival). Her film and television credits include Law & Order: SVU, Big Dogs, Falling Water, Madam Secretary, Terrifier, and See You Then, streaming on all digital platforms. She’s part of the advisory council for The Ackerman Institute’s Gender & Family Project. She’s represented by Headline Talent Agency and TGTalent. | @alliancetheatre | encore 18

SADE NAMEI (Elham) [she/her] is thrilled to join the cast of English at the Alliance Theatre and work with this team! Her favorite credits include Coco Fusco’s upcoming art installation

Antigone is Not Available Right Now, Hook and Eye Theatre Company’s Echo and Narcissus, Eve Ensler’s Emotional Creature (Signature Theatre, NYC and Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Against The Hillside (The O’Neill), In The Line (A.R.T. NY) Mika at (The U.N.), Leaves of Grass (The Cell), #Serials@theFlea, United Front (Primary Stages), and her one-woman show In Medias Res (the Brick Theater). Film/TV: New Amsterdam, Subways, Fatima, and The Elegant Clockwork of the Universe. She works as a TV/film Farsi translator/dialect coach on The Penguin, The Blacklist, Madam Secretary, Limitless, Mr. Robot, Chad, and Homeland, among others.


(u/s Goli) [she/her] is so excited to be joining the Alliance Theatre!

Atlanta: Next to Normal, The Secret Garden, The Wild Party (Jennie T. Anderson); Beehive, The Addams Family (Atlanta Lyric).

Educational: Henry V, Sophie and the Pirates (Gainesville Theatre Alliance). Film: Endgame (Carmen Marron 2015). Lots of love and thanks to Mommy, Bobby, and Parsa; I owe you everything. Visit Golbi on instagram @golbanoo.setayesh.

#ZanZendegiAzadi #WomanLifeFreedom


(u/s Roya, Marjan) [she/ her] is an IranianAmerican actor and is thrilled to make her Alliance Theatre debut in the cast of English!

Previous theatre credits include Dawn in Lobby Hero (The Robert Mello Studio) and the psychic in The Artificial Island (Push Push Theatre). She is a Meisner-based actor who has trained at Dad’s Garage, The Robert Mello Studio, and Drama, Inc. She also holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Georgia Tech, and in a previous life worked in industry as a published research scientist. Laurie would love to

thank her friends and family for always supporting her. She is represented by Evolution Talent Agency. Find her on social media: @laurieshireen.


(Roya) is the goodwill ambassador to the Global Citizen Foundation & the founder of, which focuses on strategic partnerships to provide global humanitarian aid to children and families in countries worldwide. She believes in educating the future generation on the importance of interconnectedness, global values, and protecting our environment and the planet’s natural resources. She also works with many international child welfare organizations in the United States and abroad, and is the CEO of Leo Entertainment. She is currently mentoring Ukrainian youth in Ukraine through ENGin program NGO. The award-winning actress studied producing and directing at UCLA and drama at the Meisner Center. She has appeared in over 40 films and numerous television programs. In 2014, she was nominated for Best LGBT Project for her film Sholeh at the Action on Film Awards Festival. That same year she was also nominated for Best Female Filmmaker for Sholeh. In 2013, Miss Sayé won Best Supporting Actress for Lu at the 168 Film Festival. And in 2011, she won Best Actress at the 11th Annual Beverly Hills Film Festival for 5th and Alameda, of which she was also the executive producer.


(Director) is a Theatre, Opera, and Film director, choreographer and writer from Iran based in NYC. She has directed Tosca (Heartbeat Opera), Selling Kabul (Signature Theatre), Conduct of Life (SUNY Purchase), Threshold of Brightness (BMP), Memorial (NYU Tisch), Banned, (Broadway Bound), Glimpse (Rattlestick Theatre), Fen (Columbia University), Untitled (Rattlestick Theatre), Lucretia (HERE), Death of Yazdgerd, Titus Andronicus (Yale School of Drama), The Slow Sound of Snow (Yale Cabaret). She co-curated Yale Summer Cabaret season as co-artistic director, plus

@SadeNamei | 19

directing Trojan Women and Lear. She co-founded/co-curated Emruz Festival, and Peydah Theatre Company. Shadi is a graduate of Yale School of Drama, and a 2016 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow, the 2018 directing fellow at Rattlestick Theatre and the winner of Robert L.B. Tobin Showcase 2019. Shadi is looking forward to directing the world premiere of Extinctionist at HeartBeat Opera in spring 2024.

SANAZ TOOSSI (Playwright) is an Iranian-American playwright from Orange County, California. Her plays include the critically acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning English (co-production Atlantic Theater Company/Roundabout Theatre Company) and Wish You Were Here (Playwrights Horizons; Williamstown/Audible, released 2020). She is currently under commission at Atlantic Theater Company (Launch commission; Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation grant), Roundabout Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Repertory, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival (American Revolutions Cycle). In television, Sanaz recently staffed on Invitation to a Bonfire (AMC); A League of Their Own (Amazon); Five Women (Marielle Heller/ Big Beach); and sold an original idea, The Persians, to FX with Joe Weisberg & Joel Fields attached as Executive Producers. Sanaz is a member of Youngblood and the Middle Eastern American Writers Lab at the Lark, and an alum of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group. She was the 2019 P73 Playwriting Fellow, a recipient of the 2020 Steinberg Playwright Award, the 2022 recipient of The Horton Foote Award and, most recently, the 2023 recipient of the Best New American Play Obie Award. MFA: NYU Tisch

SADRA TEHRANI (Scenic Design) is an Iranian-born Production Designer / Concept Artist based in New York City. His past set design and film work has been featured in the New York Times, Broadway World, TimeOut NY, and awarded in various national and international festivals. He’s intrigued by stories that explore concepts of belonging and alienation, and characters who are inconspicuous outliers. With a Masters in Architecture from Penn State University, he deeply appreciates a well thought-out construction detail. Space and Sound are the main drivers in his approach to design. Sadra is a member of United Scenic Artists Local

829 and a graduate of NYU Tisch’s MFA program in Production Design. Some of his recent credits include: Manifest on Netflix (as an assistant art director), The Walking Dead: Summit (upcoming) on AMC (as a concept artist), and Florence + The Machine’s Dance Fever tour (as an associate production designer).

AFSANEH AAYANI (Costume Design) is an Iranian-American multidisciplinary artist. She graduated with her MFA in Scenic Design from University of Houston in 2020 and her BFA from Art University Of Tehran in 2010. She has created work around the United States, Iran, China, Poland, Sri Lanka, and Germany. She has received multiple national/international awards for design, puppeteering, puppet-making, and directing. To learn more about her work you can visit

BEN RAWSON (Lighting Design) is an Atlanta-based Lighting Designer for Theatre, Opera, and Dance, member USA 829. Theatrical/Opera design work can be seen at The Alliance Theatre (GA), Detroit Opera (MI), Florida Studio Theatre (FL), Glimmerglass Opera (NY), Utah Opera (UT), Atlanta Opera (GA), Theatrical Outfit (GA), Center Rep (CA), Aurora Theatre (GA), Actors Express (GA), and others. Dance design work includes choreographers Ana Maria Lucaciu, Troy Schumacher, Claudia Schreier, Remi Wörtmeyer, Bryn Cohn, Danielle Agami, and Omar Roman De Jesus, as well as with Atlanta Ballet (GA), BalletCollective (NY), Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre (GA), Fly On A Wall (GA), and others. Ben has also worked across the country as an Associate & Assistant Lighting Designer for San Diego Opera (CA), The Alliance Theatre (GA), Berkshire Theatre Festival (MA), Atlanta Opera (GA), Utah Opera (UT), Glimmerglass Festival (NY), Playmakers Repertory Company (NC), and Atlanta Ballet (GA).

BAHAR ROYAEE (Sound Design) The acoustic and electro-acoustic music of Iranian composer/sound designer Bahar Royaee has been acclaimed as “succeed(ing) as a poetic incantation, brimming with ideas and colors” (Classical Voice North America) and “haunting” (Boston Arts Review). Working in NYC and Boston, Bahar has received the Fromm Music Foundation Commission (2022), as well as honors such as the Pnea Prize, National Sawdust Hildegard Competition, the Roger | @alliancetheatre
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Session Memorial Composition and Korourian Electroacoustic Music Awards. Bahar writes music for various genres from opera, theater and film to chamber music. Her work has been performed by luminaries such as Claire Chase, Suzanne Farrin, International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Der Gelbe Klang, Jack Quartet, Loadbang, Contemporary Insights of Leipzig, Guerrilla Opera, Longleash. Kimia Hesabi, and Splice Ensemble. Significant chamber music performances include Ultraschall Berlin with Muriel Razavi (2023), ICE Festival Germany with ensemble Tempus Konnex (2022), Berlin Prize for Young Artists with Adam Woodward (2023), Tehran Electroacoustic Music Festival (2022) and Time:Spans Festival (2020) with International Contemporary Ensemble and Suzanne Farrin. Royaee is an adjunct lecturer at Baruch College and Artistin-Residence at Longy School of Music. Her composition mentors have included Marti Epstein, Andrew List, Felipe Lara, Suzanne Farrin and Jason Eckardt.

ANA BAYAT (Dialect Coach) is a multilingual, multidisciplinary storyteller with over three decades of experience in theatre, film, voice-over, creative writing, and language/dialect coaching worldwide. Ana is also the creator of the critically-acclaimed show Mimi’s Suitcase (winner of Heidelberg’s Iranian Theatre Audience Choice Award Festival, recipient of Neda Nobari Foundation Grant in Innovative Arts, and shortlisted for an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award at 70th Edinburgh Festival Fringe). Following in her father’s footsteps, Ana trained in the Stanislavski system with direct students of the master before completing further studies in speech and dramatic arts, stagecraft, language, linguistics, literature, translation, and film in England. Thanks to her multicultural upbringing, Ana is fluent in Spanish, UK and US English, French, Persian, and proficient in German, Italian and Catalan. Ana recently coached Glenn Close to speak a seamless Persian in the Apple TV+ series Tehran, and was the dialect coach for Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s production of English as well as that of Studio Theatre, where she was also the cultural and casting consultant. / @theanabayat

DIANA FATHI (Dramaturgy) [she/ her] is a multidisciplinary theater artist hailing from Iran, currently dividing her time between California and New

York. Her selected directing credits are Romeo and Juliet at Two River Theater, Thirteen at Odyssey Theater, Third Person Singular at Columbia University, and Foggy Season at Iliauni Theater. Her recent dramaturgical credits include Cabaret (Claire Trevor Theatre), Glimpse (Rattlestick Theater), Hedda Gabler (Columbia University), and Loneliness (Columbia University). Diana completed her BA and MA at Tehran Art University and holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University. She is continuing her studies towards a PhD in Theater and Drama at UCI/UCSD.

JODY FELDMAN (Casting) began her theater career as an actress in Atlanta before moving into administration as the Assistant General Manager at Frank Wittow’s Academy Theatre. It was at the Academy that Jody realized the importance of theatre to a city’s cultural values and identity. Feldman started her career at the Alliance as casting director in 1991 and added producer to her title and responsibilities in 2001. She has cast and produced more than 250 productions at the Alliance, encompassing a range of world premieres that include The Last Night of Ballyhoo by Alfred Uhry, Blues for An Alabama Sky by Pearl Cleage, The Geller Girls by Janece Shaffer, In the Red and Brown Water by Tarell Alvin McCraney, more than 20 years of Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition-winning plays, such world and regional premiere musicals as Aida; The Color Purple; Sister Act: The Musical; Bring It On: The Musical; Tuck Everlasting; Ghost Brothers of Darkland County; Harmony, A New Musical; The Prom; Trading Places, and finally exciting new plays developed specifically for children and families, which is integral to the expansion of audience and mission for the Alliance. Jody is most proud of the thriving Alliance community engagement and partnerships that recognize theatrical work as a catalyst for civic conversation and connection.

AMANDA J. PEREZ (Stage Manager) [she/her] Alliance Theatre credits include: Water For Elephants, The Many Wondrous Lives of Jasmine StarrKidd, A Christmas Carol (2022), The Incredible Book Eating Boy, Bina’s Six Apples, DREAM HOU$E, A Christmas Carol (2021), Beautiful Blackbird Live!, A Christmas Carol (2019). Other Atlanta credits include: Spring Awakening, Assassins, Next to Normal, Chess, | 21

Nine (Jennie T. Anderson Theatre); Matilda, Drowsy Chaperone, The Best of Broadway, Luminous, Oliver (Atlanta Lyric Theatre); Leading Ladies, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Driving Miss Daisy, Bullets Over Broadway (Georgia Ensemble Theatre). Regional credits include: DREAM HOU$E (Baltimore Center Stage & Long Wharf Theatre). She’d like to thank her husband and daughter for all their love and support.

KAYLEE “MESA” MESA (Stage Management Production Assistant) is a California State University Fullerton theater alum, where they received a B.A. in Theater Design/Technical Production with an emphasis in Stage Management. As a young professional, they boast an impressive list of stage management credits including After Juliet (South Coast Repertory), Appropriate (SCR), A Small Man (SCR), The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Chance Theater), The SpongeBob Musical (CSU Fullerton), The Book of Unknown Americans (CSUF), and Beauty and the Beast (CSUF), among others. Mesa was a ’23 fellow of Beyond the Stage Door, a rigorous stage management program in New York City designed to teach and uplift recent BIPOC college graduates. They are excited to be the National Vision BIPOC Stage Management fellow for the Alliance Theatre’s ’23/24 season. English is Mesa’s first show with the Alliance, and they are thrilled to be part of the team.

TINASHE KAJESE-BOLDEN (Artistic Director) stepped into the role of Artistic Director in 2023 after serving as the Alliance’s BOLD Associate Artistic Director. Tinashe is a 2019 Princess Grace Award Winner for Directing, and Map Fund Award recipient to develop her devised new work All Smiles, centering the experience of children on the Autism Spectrum. Most recently, she directed the World Premiere of The Many Wondrous Realities of Jasmine Starr-Kidd. Select directing productions include Toni Stone (co-production Milwaukee Repertory Theater and the Alliance Theatre), School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play (Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre), Ghost (Alliance Theatre), Native Gardens (Virginia Stage Company), Pipeline (Horizon Theater), Nick’s Flamingo Grill (World Premiere at the Alliance Theatre), Eclipsed (Synchronicity Theatre, Best Director Suzi Bass Award). As a director and actor, she has worked on and off Broadway, including The

Imperial Theatre, Primary Stages, 59E59 Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem; and regionally at Yale Rep, Woolly Mammoth Theater Co, Cincinnati Playhouse, The Geva Theatre, CTG’s Kirk Douglas Theatre, among others, as well as recurring roles on TV/Film (Strays, Suicide Squad 2, Marvel’s Hawkeye, CW’s Valor, Dynasty, HBO’s Henrietta Lacks, Ava Duverney’s Cherish the Day, among others.) She proudly serves on the ArtsATL Artist Advisory Council. “My mission is the pursuit of what connects our different communities and how we create art that serves that.”

CHRISTOPHER MOSES (Artistic Director) has been working in professional theatre for twenty years and in 2022 was awarded the Governor’s Award for Arts in Humanities for his body of work. In January of 2011, Chris took on the position of Director of Education at the Alliance Theatre, overseeing the Alliance Theatre Institute (twice recognized as an Arts Model by the Federal Department of Education), Theatre for Youth & Families, and the Acting Program. Since taking over this position, Chris has expanded the reach and impact by making the Alliance Theatre Education department a vital resource for advancing the civic agenda of Atlanta. This work is accomplished through deep and sustained partnerships with social service organizations throughout the city. Under his leadership, the Alliance launched its Kathy & Ken Bernhardt Theatre for the Very Young program, which provides fully interactive professional theater experiences for children of all abilities from ages newborn through five years old; the Alliance Teen Ensemble, which performs world premiere plays commissioned for and about teens; the Palefsky Collision Project, where teens produce a new work after colliding with a classic text; expanded the Alliance’s summer camp program to include over 3,000 children in multiple locations across Atlanta; and Alliance@work, a professional development program designed for the business sector — the latest offering of which uses theatre practice to create a culture of civility in the workplace. In 2014, Chris added the title Associate Artistic Director, and has continued to expand the Alliance’s education offerings. During his tenure in this position, the Alliance has produced over a dozen world premiere plays for young audiences, including Pancakes, Pancakes by Ken Lin, The Dancing Granny by Jireh Breon Holder, Max | @alliancetheatre
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Makes a Million by Liz Diamond, and The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Madhuri Shekar. Currently, the Alliance serves over 100,000 students pre-k –12 each season, as well as over 4,000 adults through its extensive education offerings. In 2023, he was named Artistic Director of the Alliance Theatre.

MIKE SCHLEIFER (Managing Director) joined the Alliance Theatre in 2014 as the General Manager and in 2016, assumed the role of Managing Director. During his time at the Alliance, Mike has led the administrative and producing team on over 100 productions including bringing Tuck Everlasting and The Prom to Broadway. He was one of the architects of the “On the Road” season while a multi-million dollar renovation of the Coca-Cola Stage was underway. Mike is excited to have started the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee at the Alliance and to serve on the board of the League of Resident Theatres and True Colors Theatre Company. Prior to Atlanta, he spent 13 years at Baltimore’s Center Stage working in several

roles including Associate Producer, Production Manager and Resident Stage Manager. While in Baltimore, Mike was an adjunct faculty member at Towson University and has guest-lectured all over the country. Mike began as a Stage Manager and has dozens of stage management credits between his time in New York and working regionally. Mike is married to theater director and educator Laura Hackman and the proud father of two boys, Jack and Ben.

ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION (AEA) Founded in 1913, AEA is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional Actors and Stage Managers. Equity fosters the art of live theatre as an essential component of society and advances the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. Actors’ Equity is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. | 23 A S TA G E FOR EVERY AG E Now enrolling for fall classes.

While I am writing these words in English, I can’t quiet my inner voice that speaks in Farsi; the presence of my mother tongue lingers, tightly embraces, and remains, reminding me of its weight.

I am trying to recall who I was in 2008 Tehran — what I liked, what I wore, where I went, and who I hung out with as a young woman in my 20s. Everything that I remember is blurred. However, I’m well aware that the person I was back then in Tehran is vastly different from the person I have become today in California.

As an Iranian woman, I can confidently assert that no Iranian woman remains unchanged after the tragic death of Mahsa Amini. Ever since the day that this collective chant has started echoing: “Zan, Zendegi, Azadi!” Please excuse me, but I feel compelled to express these three words in Farsi, even though the rule says, “English only!”

Language plays a crucial role in shaping our ethnic and national identities. It serves as the embodiment and expression of who we are, reflecting the core of our being. Similar to ethnicity, language stands as a fundamental pillar of our existence. In English, for instance, we use the phrase “fall” in love, whereas in Farsi, we “become” in love. The distinction between the two is quite profound for me. “Falling” suggests a sense of unpredictability, danger, or even the incidental, while “becoming” signifies a purposeful and transformative journey, something that you choose. The challenges encountered when immigrate to a new country, including the difficult decision to let go of one’s mother tongue, can deeply affect individuals. Honestly, it is really hard to fall instead of to become

English, in this context, aims to capture the immense pain that accompanies this sacrifice. It acknowledges the internal conflict and the sense of loss associated with leaving behind a language deeply intertwined with one’s personal history and identity.

The play serves as a platform to shed light on these challenges and promote a deeper understanding and appreciation for the experiences of individuals who have had to leave their homelands in pursuit of a better life. It aims to cultivate empathy, awareness, and recognition of the profound impact of language and cultural displacement on one’s sense of self and belonging. | @alliancetheatre | yourstoryyourstage 24
Photo by Artin Bakhan (

Zan, Zendegi, Azadi: Woman, Life, Freedom

On Tuesday, 13 September 2022, Mahsa Jina Amini, a 22-year-old woman from Saqqaz — a city in Western Iran — was arrested outside a subway station in Tehran by the so-called morality police. She was accused of improperly wearing her hijab in a country that strictly enforces the compulsory covering of women’s hair and bodies in public and their social practices. According to witnesses, she was beaten inside the police van. An hour later, she was taken to Kasra Hospital where she died after spending three days in a coma. Her death set off antigovernment protests across the country, initially starting outside the hospital where she died and spreading to other provinces. Since her death, her name, Mahsa Jina Amini, has been associated with the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement and protests in Iran and around the world. Niloufar Hamedi, the journalist who initially covered Mahsa’s death, has been charged with “conspiring with foreign intelligence agencies to undermine national security.”

Since September 16th, 2022, to this moment that you are reading these words, tens of thousands of Iranians have been unjustly subjected to arrests, torture, sexual assaults, and imprisonment in their motherland. The regime was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of children. More than thousands of protestors across universities have faced academic suspension and have been banned from entering their campuses and dormitories. Numerous executions have taken place, and there remain thousands of detainees who are still at significant risk of execution. As the situation continues to develop, it is imperative that urgent international attention be given to address these grave human rights concerns.


In a small classroom in Karaj, Iran, a group of students are learning English in preparation for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). As the exam nears, teacher Marjan sets a strict rule: no Farsi in the classroom. Instead, the classroom is full of Shakira songs, romantic blockbusters, intense office hours, and overly competitive games. With the dream of leaving their country of origin for a better future, they all struggle with their hold on identity as Farsi and English conflict in their heads and their hearts.


Connect with us and other audience members on your Alliance experience. Share your comments and photos on Facebook , Instagram , Twitter, and TikTok with hashtags #EnglishPlay and #AllianceTheatre . Plus, search your social media platforms with those hashtags for fun, behind-the-scenes content from our cast, crew, and creative team. | 25
alliancetheatre alliancetheatre alliancetheatre alliancetheatre


Founded in 1968, the Alliance Theatre is the leading producing theatre in the Southeast, reaching more than 165,000 patrons annually. The Alliance is led by Artistic Directors Tinashe Kajese-Bolden and Christopher Moses and is a recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award® for sustained excellence in programming, education, and community engagement. In January 2019, the Alliance opened its new, state-of-the-art performance space, The Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre. Known for its high artistic standards and national role in creating significant theatrical works, the Alliance has premiered more than 116 productions including nine that have transferred to Broadway. The Alliance education department reaches 90,000 students annually through performances, classes, camps, and in-school initiatives designed to support teachers and enhance student learning. The Alliance Theatre values community, curiosity, collaboration, and excellence, and is dedicated to representing Atlanta’s diverse community with the stories we tell, the artists, staff, and leadership we employ, and audiences we serve.


To expand hearts and minds onstage and off.


Making Atlanta more connected, curious, and compassionate through theatre and arts education.


In the sincerest efforts to gain further understanding of the history that has brought us to reside on this land and to accept the knowledge that colonialism is a current and ongoing process under which we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation, we hereby acknowledge this native land of the Muscogee Creek Nation. | @alliancetheatre
aboutthealliance | 27



Jocelyn J. Hunter

Immediate Past Chair

Lila Hertz


E. Kendrick Smith


Glenn Weiss


Hala Moddelmog


Rita Anderson

Ken Bernhardt

Frank Chew

Ann Cramer

Linda Davidson

Laura Hardman

Hays Mershon

Richard S. Myrick

Helen Smith Price

Helen Regenstein

Bob Reiser

Jane Shivers

Ben White


Kristin Adams

Kimberly Ajy

James Anderson

Farideh Azadi

Marc Balizer

Deisha Barnett

Alba Baylin

Maggie Blake Bailey

Kenny Blank

Terri Bonoff

Jennifer Boutte

Jeff Cashdan

Steve Chaddick

Madeline Chadwick

Miles Cook

LeighAnn Costley

Joe Crowley

Reade Fahs

Howard Feinsand

Richard Goerss

Claire Gotham

Lila Hertz

Jocelyn Hunter

Malvika Jhangiani

Alexander Johnson

Jane Jordan Casavant

Anne Kaiser

John Keller

Matthew Kent

Andjela Kessler

Jim Kilberg

Jesse Killings

Carrie Kurlander

Allegra Lawrence-Hardy

Robert Masucci

Jean Ann McCarthy

Alan McKeon

Dori Miller

Hala Moddelmog

Phil Moïse

Allison O’Kelly

Victoria Palefsky

Paul Pendergrass

Jamal Powell

Ali Rahimi

Stephanie Ray

Patty Reid

Margaret Reiser

Matthew Richburg

Robyn Roberts

Maurice Rosenbaum

Kerri Sauer

Steve Selig

Kim Sewell

Mital Shah

Bill Sleeper

H. Bronson Smith

E. Kendrick Smith

Chandra Stephens-Albright

Charlita Stephens

Mark Swinton

Julie Teer

Benny Varzi

Roxanne Varzi

Rebekah Wasserman

Dana Weeks Ugwonali

Glenn Weiss

Todd Zeldin


Advisory Board Co-Chair

Laura Hardman

Advisory Board Co-Chair

Phil H. Moïse

Joe Alterman

Luis Andino

Jonathan Arogeti

Kelli Bennett

Johanna Brookner

Merry Hunter Caudle

Elizabeth Wiggs Cooper

Candice Dixon

Malaika Dowdell

Anjali Enjeti

Everett Flanigan

Mary Beth Flournoy

Les Flynn

Jennifer Foster

Natalia Garzón Martínez

Lula Gilliam

Lydia Glaize

Meghan Gordon

Tevin Goss

Dr. Eve Graves, Ph.D.

Shauna Grovell

Della Guidry

Elizabeth Hollister

Zenith Houston

Mallika Kallingal

Debby Kelly

Joyce Lewis

Indira Londono

Theo Lowe

Carlton Mackey

Nelly Mauta

Monica McLary

Jamie McQuilkin

Nishant Mehta

Juan Meija

Caroline Moore

Laura Murvartian

Victoria Necessary

Zach Nikonovich Kahn

Amy Norton King

Kathy Palumbo

Aixa Pascual

Kisan Patel

Marion Phillips

Shirley Powell

Nancy Prager

Alexis Rainey

Kristin Ray

Daniel Regenstein

Kirk Rich

Ryan Roemerman

Fred Roselli

Wendy Schmitt

Dr. Shenara Sexton

Beverly Brown Shaw

Dan Silverboard

Brian Stoltz

Maria Storts

Ronald Tomajko

Kathy Tomajko

Robin Triplett

Emily Washburn

Angie Weiss

Stuart Wilkinson


President, STARS

Andjela Kessler

Chairman, Theater Advocates

Patricia Walsh

Chairman, Theater Ushers

Edwina Sellan

Chairman, Hospitality

Susan Stiefel | @alliancetheatre |


Alliance Sponsors are businesses, corporations, and institutions that have supported the work of the Alliance Theatre. We thank them for their generosity and support.


Delta Air Lines, Inc.

Lettie Pate Evans Foundation

Robert W. Woodruff Foundation



AT&T Foundation

Chick-fil-A Foundation | Rhonda & Dan Cathy

The Coca-Cola Company

Georgia Power

Helen Gurley Brown Foundation




The Home Depot Foundation

Invesco QQQ

John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Charitable Fund

King & Spalding

Norfolk Southern PNC

Rich Foundation

Shubert Foundation

Warner Bros. Discovery Zeist Foundation

$50,000+ Bank of America ACTivate Awards

City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs

Georgia Council for the Arts

Google Kaiser Permanente

Kendeda Fund

Liz Blake Giving Fund

Molly Blank Fund of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

National Endowment for the Arts

National Vision Theatre Forward

Wellstar Foundation


Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition, powered by AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Cadence Bank


Fulton County Board of Commissioners

Georgia Natural Gas

Graphic Packaging

The Imlay Foundation, Inc.

Johnny Mercer Foundation

Newell Brands

Peach State Health Plan



AEC Trust

Alexander Babbage

Alston & Bird

Do a Good Day Foundation

George M. Brown Trust of Atlanta


John & Mary Franklin Foundation

Northern Trust

SCANA Energy

South Arts



Camp Younts Foundation

Frances Wood Wilson Foundation

Osiason Educational Foundation

Publix Super Market Charities

By attending our theater, you have made a powerful statement about how important the arts are to you. Make another statement of support louder than any standing ovation. Visit and click on Donate.

sponsors | 29

Hertz Series Sponsor

Official Hotel Official Research Partner


Major funding for this organization is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners

This program is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. GCA also receives support from its partner agencythe National Endowment for the Arts.

Major support is provided by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. | @alliancetheatre | encore 30

Individual, foundation, and corporate donors contribute more than $10 million to the Alliance Theatre so that we are able to present exceptional theater and educational programming to our community. We are deeply grateful for your support. To find out more about the benefits of giving or to make your gift, visit us at or call 404-733-5157.

Listed below are pledges and gifts to the Alliance Theatre Annual Fund from June 1, 2022 — July 21, 2023.


Spotlight $100,000+

The SKK Foundation

Spotlight $50,000+

Ms. Stephanie Blank

Chairman’s Circle


The Antinori Foundation

Around the Table Foundation

Brian & Jennifer Boutté

Jane Jordan Casavant

Roxanne & Jeffrey Cashdan

Ann & Jeff Cramer

Katie & Reade Fahs

David & Carolyn Gould

Jocelyn J. Hunter

Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Ivester

Jesse Killings

Jane & J. Hicks Lanier

Starr Moore & the James Starr Moore Memorial Foundation

Daniel Marks & Keri Powell

Bob & Margaret Reiser

Tim & Maria Tassopoulos

Rosemarie & David Thurston

Benny & Roxanne Varzi

Amy & Todd Zeldin

Leadership Circle


Farideh & Al Azadi Foundation

Barbara & Steve Chaddick

Ellen & Howard Feinsand

Doris & Matthew Geller

Heidi & David Geller

Doug & Lila Hertz

David & Mary Jane Kirkpatrick

Kristie L. Madara

Mr. & Mrs. Barry McCarthy

Phil & Caroline Moïse

Allison & Shane O’Kelly

Victoria & Howard Palefsky

Wade Rakes & Nicholas Miller

Patty & Doug Reid

Linda & Steve Selig

Mr. and Mrs. David B. Sewell

William & Margarita Sleeper

Dean DuBose & Bronson Smith

Mr. & Mrs. E. Kendrick Smith

Mark Swinton

Director’s Circle $10,000+

Ms. Kristin Adams

James Anderson

The Balloun Family

Deborah L. Bannworth & Joy Lynn Fields

Alba C. Baylin

Terri Bonoff and Matthew Knopf

Judge JoAnn Bowens

Martha & Toby Brooks

Madeline Chadwick

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas C. Chubb III

Ezra Cohen Charitable Fund

Miles and Nicole Cook

LeighAnn & Chad Costley

Joe Crowley & Phil Mack

Mr. Fredric M. Ehlers & Mr. David Lile

Marsha & Richard Goerss

Mr. Wayne S. Hyatt

Malvika Jhangiani

Anne & Mark Kaiser

John C. Keller

Mr. James Kieffer

James & Lori Kilberg

Allegra J. Lawrence-Hardy & Valerie Haughton

Dr. & Mrs. John Lee

Ms. Evelyn Ashley & Mr. Alan B. McKeon

Dori & Jack Miller

Paul Pendergrass & Margaret Baldwin

Jamal & Tiffany Powell

Mr. & Mrs. Asif Ramji

Matt Richburg

Robyn Roberts & Kevin Greiner

Patricia & Maurice Rosenbaum

Ms. Mital Shah

Dr. & Mrs. Dennis Lee Spangler

Lynne & Steve Steindel

Carol & Ramon Tomé Family Fund

Dana & Obi Ugwonali

Waffle House

Ms. Kathy Waller & Mr. Kenny Goggins

Mark & Rebekah Wasserman

Suzy Wilner




Liz Armstrong

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas* J. Asher

Lisa & Joe Bankoff

Mr. & Mrs. Roland L. Bates

Ken Bernhardt and Cynthia Currence

Natalie & Matthew Bernstein

Mr. & Mrs. W. Kent Canipe

Franklin & Dorothy Chandler

Ann & Jim Curry

Linda & Gene Davidson

Diane Durgin

Eve Joy Eckardt

Kathy & Jason Evans

Dr. Cynthia J. Fordyce & Sharon Hulette

Dr. & Mrs. Marvin Goldstein

Tad & Janin Hutcheson

In honor of Carol Jones**

Mr. Charles R. Kowal

Burrelle Meeks

Sam & Barbara Pettway

Mr. & Mrs. Norman J. Radow

annualfund | 31

Ms. Kristin L. Ray

Paula Rosput Reynolds & Stephen Reynolds

Mr. & Mrs. Mark Rosenberg

Mr. George Russell, Jr. & Mrs. Faye Sampson-Russell

Brian Shively & Jim Jinhong

Charlita Stephens & Delores Stephens

Susan & Alan* Stiefel

Maria-Ruth Storts

Chuck Taylor & Lisa CannonTaylor

Julie Teer

Kathy & Ron Tomajko


Dr. & Mrs. Raymond Allen


Ellen Arnovitz

Ron & Lisa Brill Charitable Trust

Candace Carson

Rita & Ralph Connell

Marcia & John Donnell

Tim & Tina Eyerly

Mrs. Anuja Gagoomal and Dr. John Stites

The Robert S. Elster Foundation

Karen & Andrew Ghertner

Mr. David F. Golden

Dr. & Mrs. John B. Hardman

Ariana L. Hargrave

David Heinsch

Henry & Etta Raye Hirsch

Heritage Foundation

Mr. & Mrs. J. Michael Hostinsky

Linda & Richard Hubert

Jason & Laurie Jeffay

Tom & Edwina Johnson

Leonard Lee

Joan Netzel & John Gronwall

Mr. and Mrs. Travis Newberry

John & Helen Parker

Peg Petersen

Don & Rosalinda Ratajczak

Dana Rice

Jane & Rein Saral

Sharon & David Schachter

Alan & Cyndy* Schreihofer

Ms. Donna Schwartz

Sam Schwartz & Lynn Goldowski

Mr. & Mrs.* Charles B. Shelton III

Mr. & Mrs. S. Albert Sherrod

Henry N. & Margaret P. Staats

Judith & Mark Taylor

Ms. Cathy Weil

William & Nancy Yang

The Zaban Foundation


Trent Anderson & Leandro Zaneti

Dr. Aubrey Bush & Dr. Carol Bush

Melodie H. Clayton

Susan & Ed Croft

Mr. & Mrs. Paul A. Flexner

Sandeep Goyal and Taylor England

Della & Theo Guidry

Mrs. Elaine L. Hentschel

Ashley & Elton James

Boland & Andrea Lea Jones

Randy & Connie Jones

Mark Keiser

Andjela and Michael Kessler

Greg & Gillian Matteson

Clair & Thomas Muller

Mr. & Mrs. Armond Perkins

Dr. Denise Raynor

Dr. & Mrs. Fredric Rosenberg

Kashi Sehgal

Chandra Stephens-Albright & Warren Albright

Dr. & Mrs. Harry Strothers

Stan & Velma Tilley

Ms. Avril Vignos

Mr. & Mrs. Glenn Weiss

Penn & Sally Wells

Kim Boldthen & Carolyn Wheeler



Reza Abree

Dawn & Michael Adamson

Mr. E. Scott Arnold

Mr. George T. Baker

Jay Bernath

Jill Blair and Fay Twersky

Robert Blondeau & Kristen Nantz, in memory of Betty Blondeau Russell

Michelle Burdick

Karen and Harold Carney

David Cofrin & Christine Tryba-Cofrin

Richard & Grecia Cox

Gail Crowder

Celeste Davis-Lane

Dr. Marla Franks & Rev. Susan Zoller

Richard Goodjoin & Kelvin Davis

Louise S. Gunn

Ms. Jo Ann Hayden-Miller

Drs. Cathie & Hugh Hudson

Floria Izad

Veronica Kessenich

Ms. Lauren Linder & Mr. Jonathan Grunberg

Judith Lyon & Ron Bloom

Ms. Jaime McQuilkin

Roya and Asghar Memarzadeh

Anna & Hays Mershon

Stacia Minton

Kasra Naderi and Arezoo Akhavan

Debbie & Lon Neese

Susan C. Puett

Lois & Don Reitzes

Ryan Roemerman

Deborah W. Royer

Ms. Kerri Sauer

Starane Shepherd

Jane E. Shivers

Amy Speas

Ann Starr & Kent Nelson

Andrea Strickland & N. Jerold Cohen

Nossi Taheri & Hope Vazir

Adrienne Whitehead

Lynne Winship | @alliancetheatre | encore 32


We would like to thank our donors who have committed to giving us a recurring monthly donation to the Alliance Theatre Annual Fund. Join today:

Stephanie Abes

Mr. Faraz Ahmed

E. Scott Arnold

Dr. Evelyn Babey

John & Gina Bauer

Aparna Bhattacharyya

Deloris Bryant-Booker

Lee Burson & Dean Jordan

Brandon Bush

Becca Hogue

Harold & Karen Carney

David Cashman

Jacquel Kelly Chambers

Mishelle Cirillo

Elizabeth Corrie

Lawrence R. Cowart

Christopher Cox

Marge & Gray Crouse

Nash Ditmetaroj

Derrick Doose

David & Jessica Felfoldi

Martha Fineman

Stanely Fineman

Eric & Christina Fisher

Brenda Fleming

Ken Foskett & Catherine S. Williams

Christine & Andrew Fry

Katie Goodman

Bryant Gresham & Alexander Bossert

Shauna Grovell

Jo Ann Haden-Miller & Mr. William Miller

Joy Hambrick

Wynette Hammons

Penn Hansa

Lindsey E. Hardegree

Lisa Hare and Mr. Gerald Barth

David & Christy Hill

Jim Johnson

Karen Jones

Stephen & Pamela Kalista

Amy King

Dr. Andrea Lawrence

Darryl Lesure & Candace


Karen Lightfoot

Lauren Linder & Jonathan Grunberg

Christian & JoJasmin Lopez

Alison Main

Jaime McQuilkin

Heather & James Michael

Jonathan & Lori Peterson

Kendrick Phillips

Jean & Marc Pickard


Your contribution allows everybody to experience world-class theatre at the Alliance, while giving you exclusive benefits! From seeing your name in this playbill, Opening Night event invitations, to our keepsake season mug — there’s a perk for you. Become a donor today! It’s easy to scan and give.

Jacqueline Powe

Shannon Price

Brenda Pruitt

Alexis Rainey

Corwin Robison & Daisy Pareja

Peggy Rogers

Peter & Margo Savitz

Barbara Schreiber

Tom Slovak & Jeffery Jones

Laura Stordy

Jill Strickland

Charles Thomspon

Stephanie Van Parys

Ben Warshaw

Caitlin Way

David & Amy Whitley

Napoleon & Karen Williams

Janice Wolf & Barry Etra | 33


Many companies offer a matching gifts program for employees and retirees. You can double, or even triple, your gift at no additional cost to you simply by asking your employer! Think of how much further your donation can go.

We would like to thank the following companies who have matched contributions to the Alliance Theatre Annual Fund. To find out more about matching gifts, contact Toni Friday at

AIG Corporation

American Express

Aon Risk Solutions

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

AT&T Bank of America/Merrill


Bryan Cave-Powell

Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

Chubb Charitable Foundation

The Coca-Cola Company


Equifax Inc. Foundation

John and Mary Franklin Foundation


GE Energy

Georgia Power

Goldman Sachs Matching Gift


Hearst Foundations

Home Depot Foundation

Honda Motor Co.


JPMorgan Chase



Macy’s Foundation

McDonald’s Corporation

McMaster-Carr Supply

Microsoft Corporation

Norfolk Southern Corporation

Prudential Financial

Publix Super Markets, Inc.


SunTrust Foundation

Thrivent Financial for Lutherns

Veritiv Corporation

Verizon Corporation

The Walt Disney Company

Wells Fargo


Celebrating our supporters who have made a legacy gift to the Alliance Theatre.

The Legacy Society celebrates individuals who have made a planned gift to the Alliance Theatre. Making a planned gift is a wonderful way to show your support and appreciation for the Alliance Theatre and its mission, while accommodating your financial, estate planning and philanthropic goals. With smart planning, you may increase the size of your estate and/or reduce the tax burden on your heirs. Just as important, you will know that you have made a meaningful and lasting contribution to the Alliance Theatre.

To learn more about the Legacy Society, please contact Lindsay Ridgeway-Baierl at


Rita M. Anderson

Roland & Linda Bates

Kathy* & Ken Bernhardt

Anne & Jim Breedlove

Ezra Cohen

Ann & Jeff Cramer

Susan & Edward Croft

Sallie Adams Daniel

Linda & Gene Davidson

Terry & Stacy Dietzler

Diane Durgin

Elizabeth Etoll

Ellen & Howard Feinsand

James Edward Gay*

Laura & John Hardman

Nancy & Glen Hesler

P.J. Younglove Hovey

David A. Howell*

Lauren & David Kiefer

David Kuniansky

Virginia Vann* & Ken Large

Edith Love*

Lauren & John McColskey

Anna & Hays Mershon

Caroline & Phil Moïse

Winifred & Richard Myrick

Victoria & Howard Palefsky

Armond & Sharon Perkins

Jam Pomerantz

Helen Regenstein*

Margaret & Robert Reiser

Betty Blondeau-Russell*

Tricia & Neal Schachtel

Debbie* & Charles Shelton III

Jane E. Shivers

Roger Smith & Christopher Jones*

Ron & Kathy Tomajko

Lee Harper & Wayne Vason

Terri & Rick Western

Ramona & Ben White

* deceased | @alliancetheatre |
gifts&legacysociety 34


Artistic Directors Tinashe Kajese-Bolden, Christopher Moses

Producer & Casting Director Jody Feldman

Distinguished Artist in Residence Pearl Cleage

Associate Producer Amanda Watkins

BOLD Producing Associate Kay Nilest

Spelman Leadership Fellows Assata Amankeechi, Jayla Dias

Emory Summer Artistic Intern Amanda Przygonska

Director of Community Partnerships & Engagement Rita Kompelmakher

Engagement Associate Brant Adams

Reiser Lab Artists

Round 9 Justen Ross aka Domino Juicy Balenciaga. N’yomi Stewart aka Omi Juicy Balenciaga, Jade Maia Lambert, Ipek Eginli, Sara Ghazi Asadollahi, Juana Farfán, Anterior Leverett, Damian Lockhart, Jasmine Waters

Production Management

Director of Production Lawrence Bennett

Associate Directors of Production Phil Baranski, Courtney O’Neill

Education Department Production Manager Haylee Scott


Costume and Wardrobe Director Laury Conley

Associate Costume Shop & Wardrobe Director Melanie Green

Design Assistant Kayli Warner

Drapers Tonja Petersen, Cindy Lou Who

Crafts Master Diana L. Thomas

1st Hands/Stitchers Lyudmila Fesenko, Brett Parker, Mary Cruz Torres

Wardrobe Supervisor Hauzia Conyers

Wardrobe Monica Speaker

Wig Master Lindsey Ewing


Alliance@work Sales Associate Sarah Prewitt

Head of Elementary School Programs

Out of School Program Manager

Artist in Residence & Teen Program Manager

Rebecca Pogue

Robyn A. Rogers

Sam Provenzano

Resident Artist & Allyship Program Director Maya Lawrence

Head of Education Advancement Kristen Silton

BIPOC TVY Stage Management Fellow Autumn Stephens

Teaching Artists

Jae Ahn, Jimez Alexander, Will Amato, Chase Anderson, Jasmine Anthony, Ricardo Aponte, Imani Banks, Kim Bowers-Rheay Baran, Olivia Aston Bosworth, Jared Brodie, Chelsea Brown, Lon Bumgarner, Sara Burris, Dan Caffrey, April Andrew Carswell, Katie Causey, Lina Chambers, Hannah Lake Chatham, Hannah Church, Megan Cramer, Kelly Criss, Nakeisha Daniel, Peyton McDaniel Davis, Theresa Davis, Shelli Delgado, Sarah Donnell, John Doyle, Laurin Dunleavy, Suehyla El-Attar, Amitria Fanae, Shelby Folks, Sharon Foote, Spencer Ford, Daryl Funn, Allison Gardner, Neeley Gossett, Ilasiea Gray, Meg Grey, Amber Hamilton, Meg Harkins, Robert Hindsman, Julissa Sabino Hobbs, Deja Holmes, Renita James, Meg Johns, Kendra Johnson, Carole Kaboya, Ashe Kazanjian, Chris Lane, Maya Lawrence, Antonia LeChe, Anja Lee, Kathleen Link, Amy Lucas, Ansley Lynn, Christian Magby, Barry Stewart Mann, Cara Mantella, Gloria Martin, Mari Martinez, Dalyla McGee, Candy McLellan, Karin Mervis, Erika Miranda, Mary Moccia, Courtney Moors-Hornick, Amanda Wansa Morgan, Jenna Jackson Morris, Kevin Moxley, Audrey Myers, JD Myers, Patrick Myers, Amor Owens, Mary Michael Patterson, Tafee Patterson, Sydney Patton, Zuri Petteway, Rebecca Pogue, Michelle Pokopac, Samantha Provenzano, V Reibel, Morgan Rysdon, Daniela Santiago, Riley Schatz, Erin Schaut, Avery Sharpe, Caitlin Slotnick, Alexandria Joy Smith, Lucy Smith, Taryn Spires, Destiny Stancil, Autumn Stephens, LeeAnna Lambert Sweatt, Megan Tabaque, Jasmine Thomas, Callie Timme, Sariel Toribio, Ebony Tucker, Julia VanderVeen, Jeremy Varner, José Miguel Vasquez, Rachel Wansker, Megan Wartell, Andrea Washington, Davia Weatherill, Ayana Williams, Jay Williams, Vallea Woodbury, Melissa Word

Teen Ensemble Members

Director of Lighting & Projections

Rachael N. Blackwell

Associate Director of Lighting & Projection Joy Diaz

Head Electrician Steve Jordan

Staff Electricians Neil Anderson, Gabrielle Drum


Props Department Director Suzanne Cooper Morris

Props Artisans Kathryn Andries, Bruce Butkovich

Props Artisan/Buyer Kimberly Townsend

Technical Director


Kyle Longwell

Associate Technical Directors Rigel Powell, Luke Robinson

Shop Supervisor Patrick Conley

Lead Welder

Chris Seifert

Carpenters Kevin Dyson, Parker Ossmann, Marlon Wilson

Charge Scenic Artist Kat Conley

Additional Scenic Artists Amy Jackson, Amanda Nerby


Lily Erera, Jordyn Nelson, Malachi S Chaney, Ella Grace Pavlovsky, Simon Link, Helena Skylark Denton, Haley Smith, Sam Yates, Cordelia O’Bradovich, Minnah Dunlap, Abigail May Watson, Ella Dameron, August Marks, Caleb Vaughn, Kennedy O’Neil, Anna Schwartz, Julianna Grace Pillsbury, Caroline Chu, Tomi Fawehinmi, Sophia Sánchez, Adler Horstemeyer, Ronnie McCoy, Morgan Stamper, Bailey Rodgers, Aria Armstead


Sound Director

Assistant Sound Departmnet Director

Clay Benning

Aaron Vockley

Sound Engineers Tamir Eplan-Frankel, Emma Mouledoux, Graham Schwartz

Stage Management

Managing Director

Company Manager

Assistant Company Manager

Director of Finance

Administration & Finance

Mike Schleifer

Laura Thruston

Thomas D. Powell

Valerie Thomas

IDEA Director TeKeyia Amaru Rice

Controller & Head of Administration

Accounting Coordinator

Accounts Payable Lead

Senior Data Analyst

Management Assistant

Elecia Crowley

Julie Hall

Sharette Driver

Christina Dresser

Joseph Quintana


Director of Development Trent Anderson

Stage Managers

Liz Campbell, Rodney Williams, Amanda J. Perez, Barbara O’Haley

National Vision Stage Management Fellow Kaylee Mesa

Stage Management Production Assistants

Stage Operations

Samantha Honeycutt, LaMarr White, Jr

Stage Operations Manager

Assistant Stage Operations Manager


Automation Stagehand

Scott Bowne

Kate Lucibella

Willie Palmer Parks

John Victor Mouledoux Jr.

Crew Chief Bryan Perez

Properties Stagehand

Skylar Burks


Dan Reardon Director of Education

Naserian Foundation Head of Early Childhood Programs

Head of Youth & Family Programs

Head of Secondary Curriculum & Partnerships

Education Administration & Finance Assistant

Education Accounting Assistant

Administrative & Adult Program Manager

Camp Administrative Manager

Head of Strategic Initiatives

Alliance@Work Creative Director

Christopher Moses

Hallie Angelella

Olivia Aston Bosworth

Liz Davis

Dacey Geary

Isabella Aguilar Irias

Robert Hindsman

Jayson T. Waddell

Aierelle Jacob

J. Noble

Associate Director, Strategic Institutional Advancement

Director of Individual Giving

Manager, Individual Giving

Development Coordinator for Board Relations & Special Events

Coordinator, Development Operations & Institutional Giving

Manager of Annual Fund & Donor Relations

Marketing & Patron Services

Director of Marketing & Communications

Manager of Web & Digital Communications

Marketing & Promotions Coordinator

Collins Desselle

Edward McCreary

Lindsay Ridgeway-Baierl

Kailan Daugherty

Tanesha Ferguson

Emma Seif

Kathleen Covington

Anna Birtles

Ashley Elliott

Graphic Designer Felicity Massa

Marketing & Public Relations Manager

Social Media Manager & Content Producer

Associate Director of Data & Ticketing

Patron Services Manager

Mashaun D. Simon

Aniska Tonge

Danielle Hicks

Genesis Gates

Patron Services Associates James McCune, Sydney Michelle, Zuri Petteway

Box Office Associate David Posada

Season Ticket Concierge

Ken McNeil

Education Sales Coordinator Quintara Johnson

Group Sales & Student Matinee Manager Jocelyn Rick

House Managers

Marketing Intern

Barbara O’Haley, Brittany Mangham, Robyn E. Sutton-Fernandez

Julia Green

staff | 35
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