Castillo Theatre Presents The World Premiere Of DISHWASHER DREAMS
Comedian, performer and storyteller Aladdin Ullah brings the world premiere of Dishwasher Dreams to the Castillo Theatre (543 W. 42nd Street), October 26 through November 18. Directed by Gabriel Vega Weissman, the production features live music accompaniment by acclaimed Tabla player Avirodh Sharma.
In Dishwasher Dreams, when actor and comedian Aladdin Ullah prepares to audition for a role as a Muslim terrorist in a feature film, he reminisces on the story of his father, a Bangladeshi immigrant who settled in Harlem in the 1940's, worked for years as a dishwasher and line-cook in downtown restaurants, and ran one of the city's first Indian restaurants in Manhattan. In his performance, Ullah recalls his father's life and experiences, his parents' futile attempts to raise him Muslim in Spanish Harlem and his own determination to follow his own path - through Hip Hop and graffiti art to the comedy circuit.
"The show hits a lot of topics current today such as patriarchy, immigration, growing up Muslim right at the birth of Hip Hop during the late 70's and more," explains Ullah. "It is a distinctively New York story. It's a hilarious moving show with one of the world's greatest tabla players playing live, the first play ever with live Tabla accompaniment in American theater."
Leading the way for South Asians the past two decades, Aladdin Ullah has been performing all over the world as a stand-up comedian, appearing on US national television, including HBO, Comedy Central, BET, MTV and PBS. During the 90's, Ullah created a show featuring the hottest up and coming multi-ethnic comedians aptly titled Colorblind in response to the entrenched racism in the comedy clubs. The first alternative comedy show to gain critical acclaim in New York, it was hailed by the New York Times as "hilariously original and brave." An inaugural member of The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group, Ullah developed his solo play in the Public's New Work Now! Reading series at New York Theatre Workshop, Victory Gardens (Chicago) Cape Cod Theater Project, The Lark Play Development Center, and Shakespeare in Paradise in the Bahamas. As an actor, Aladdin was in the film American Desi, done several voices in the award winning animated film Sita Sings the blues, and was cast member of the TV series Uncle Morty's Dub Shack which won several Telly awards. He is finishing up his documentary film In Search of Bengali Harlem based on the critically acclaimed book about about his dad- Bengali Harlem by Vivek Bald published by Harvard Press. (Bengaliharlem.com)
Avirodh Sharma, one of the nation's leading tabla players, was born in Trinidad and trained in tabla playing by his parents Dr. Ravideen and Bharati Ramsamooj, founders of New York City's East Indian Music Academy. A multifaceted artist, Sharma is also a composer and producer of films, fashion shows, radio, documentaries, and television commercials. He has been featured on TV Asia, STARZ NETWORK, NPR Radio, and NY Daily News and has worked with such artists as Riverdance's Patrick Mangan, Parsons Dance, David Murry, Karsh Kale, and Sterling Campbell. Sharma's performances have captivated audiences in Italy, Switzerland, Nepal, India, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and the United States.
Gabriel Vega Weissman is a Brooklyn-based director and playwright. He has developed and directed pieces for companies including the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Hangar Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse, NYMF and the National Black Theatre. Last fall he directed the world premiere of Charles Cissel's Must produced by Golden Globe-winner Bruce Willis. Earlier this year, he directed Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj for the Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA which went on to win a 2018 Elliot Norton Award. His play, Loose Canon (co-written with Brian Reno), is published by Dramatists Play Services. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and an alum of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Drama League Directors Project and was a finalist for the inaugural O'Neill Theater Center's National Directors Fellowship.
The Castillo Theatre (castillo.org) produces cutting-edge political, historical and experimental theatre. Castillo has won two AUDELCO Awards for Outstanding Ensemble Production (2011) and Best Musical Production (2012). Castillo is a multi-cultural home of Black theatre and shares its stages with Woodie King Jr.'s New Federal Theatre.