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A.R.T. Announces Full Cast and Creative for WE LIVE IN CAIRO

A.R.T. Announces Full Cast and Creative for WE LIVE IN CAIRO

American Repertory Theater (A.R.T) at Harvard University, under the leadership of Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director Diane Paulus and Executive Producer Diane Borger, announces the cast and creative team for the world premiere of We Live in Cairo written by brothers Daniel Lazour and Patrick Lazour. Now in rehearsal under the direction of Obie Award winner Taibi Magar, We Live in Cairo begins previews Tuesday, May 14; opens Wednesday, May 22; and closes Sunday, June 16, 2019 at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, MA.

Inspired by the young Egyptians who took to the streets in 2011 to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak, this new musical follows six revolutionary students armed with laptops and cameras, guitars and spray cans as they come of age in contemporary Cairo. Winner of the Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater, We Live in Cairo moves from the hope of Tahrir Square through the tumultuous years that followed. As escalating division and violence lead to a military crackdown, the young revolutionaries must confront the question of how-or even whether-to keep their dreams of change alive.

The We Live in Cairo cast features:

  • Sharif Afifi as street artist Karim Farouk (Hadestown in London's West End and the film Mamma Mia!...Here We Go Again!)
  • Abubakr Ali as songwriter Hany Salib (The Rock of Abandon at Lillian Theatre and God Help Us at Fierce Backbone)
  • Jakeim Hart as songwriter Amir Salib ("Bluebloods" on CBS and "The Affair" on Showtime)
  • Dana Omar as activist Fadwa Bassiouny (Pirates of Penzance at the A.R.T. and elsewhere and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane at People's Light)
  • Gil Perez-Abraham as street artist Hassan Ahmed (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity with barebones productions and "Pose" on FX)
  • Parisa Shahmir as photographer Layla Hakim (UK tours of The Last Ship and Mamma Mia!)
  • Waseem Alzer (Eh Dah? at NYTW Next Door and Up and Away at Pittsburgh CLO) and Layan Elwazani (The Band's Visit on Broadway and Romeo and Juliet at Vixens En Garde) are in the ensemble.
  • Sharif Afifi and Parisa Shahmir are appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association. The A.R.T. gratefully acknowledges Actors' Equity Association for its assistance of this production.

The We Live in Cairo creative team includes:

  • Daniel Lazour, Book, Music, and Lyrics; Orchestrations with Michael Starobin; Vocal Arrangements with Madeline Smith (joint bio below)
  • Patrick Lazour, Book, Music, and Lyrics (joint bio below)
  • Taibi Magar, Director (2018 Obie Award for Is God Is at Soho Rep, Blue Ridge and The Great Leap at Atlantic Theatre, Underground Railroad Game at ArsNova, and Song of Summer at Trinity Rep)
  • Samar Haddad King, Choreography (Artistic/Founding Director of New York/Palestine-based Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre; commissions for the Ailey School, Configuration Dance, and Hubbard Street 2 in the US; Zakharef in Amman, Jordan, and Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival in Ramallah, Palestine)
  • Michael Starobin, Music Supervision; Orchestrations with Daniel Lazour (Tony Awards for Orchestrations of Next to Normal and Assassins-2004 revival, Drama Desk Awards for Orchestrations for Assassins-2004 revival, and the original production of Sunday in the Park with George on Broadway)
  • Madeline Smith, Music Direction; Vocal Arrangements with Daniel Lazour (The Light Princess at the A.R.T. and New Victory Theater andRags Parkland Sings The Songs Of The Future at ArsNova)
  • Tilly Grimes, Scenic and Costume Design (Thanksgiving Play at Playwrights Horizons, Sky on Swings at Opera Philadelphia, and Seared at Williamstown Theater Festival)
  • Bradley King, Lighting Design (Endlings; Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812; and others at the A.R.T., and Hadestown, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and others on Broadway)
  • Kai Harada, Sound Design (The Black Clown at the A.R.T., and Hadestown and The Band's Visit-Tony Award on Broadway)
  • David Bengali, Projections Design (Maestro for Ensemble for the Romantic Century at The Duke on 42nd Street and The Great Leap at Atlantic Theater Company)
  • Stephen Kopel, C.S.A., Casting Direction (Jagged Little Pill, The White Card, The Glass Menagerie, and eight others at the A.R.T., andMoulin Rouge, The Play that Goes Wrong, The Glass Menagerie, and others on Broadway)

"It is fitting that the Egyptian revolution and its aftermath should be made into a work of art, because it was itself a work of art," says Tarek Masoud, Professor of Public Policy at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and an advisor on the project. "The eighteen days in Tahrir were a collective act of stunning creativity by a people few thought capable of such a feat."

"The impetus for our show was a photo I saw in an International Relations course at Boston College," explains Worcester area native Patrick Lazour. "It shows a group of Egyptian activists in Cairo during the uprising, uploading photos and videos onto a Mac seven floors above a packed Tahrir Square. Daniel and I were inspired by the sight of kids younger than ourselves doing their part to overthrow a president who had held power for thirty years, and were prompted to consider the question, 'How far are you willing to go for the love of your country?'"

"Far and away the most exciting theater we would see growing up would be at the A.R.T., so we're thrilled that We Live in Cairo will make its premiere here," says Daniel Lazour. "We're all bringing our own cultural experiences to the rehearsal room, sharing what we've learned from our families, our research, and our travels, and we've been excited to explore the deep tradition of protest music, both in the Egyptian revolution and also in our country."

The A.R.T. will be collaborating with the Middle East Initiative and the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government on a post-performance speaker series. Speakers and dates will be announced shortly.

Tickets start at $25 and are available now online at, by phone at 617.547.8300, and in person at the Loeb Drama Center Ticket Services Offices (64 Brattle Street, Cambridge). Discounts are available to Subscribers, Members, groups, students, seniors, Blue Star families, EBT card holders, and others.

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