All-Iranian Cast of ENGLISH at Goodman Theatre to Begin Rehearsals

A co-production with Guthrie Theatre, English appears May 10 – June 9.

By: Apr. 10, 2024
All-Iranian Cast of ENGLISH at Goodman Theatre to Begin Rehearsals
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Sanaz Toossi’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play English arrives at Goodman Theatre, with rehearsals for Iranian director Hamid Dehghani’s production beginning on April 16. The cast of the Chicago-premiere production includes Sahar Bibiyan, Nikki Massoud, Roxanna Hope Radja, Pej Vahdat and Shadee Vossoughi. “English only” is the governing mantra in a classroom of four Iranian adults studying to take a language exam—one of the many barriers standing in the way of the next chapter of their lives. Chasing fluency through a maze of word games, listening exercises and show-and-tell sessions, the four students soon realize that learning a new language can lead to the unraveling of their sense of identity.

A co-production with Guthrie Theatre, English appears May 10 – June 9 (opening night is Monday, May 20 at 7pm). Tickets ($15 - $55; subject to change) are available at or by phone at 312.443.3800. 

“The excitement I feel as we approach rehearsals for English with such a brilliant cast of Iranian actors is more than just usual pre-rehearsal nerves,” said Director Hamid Dehghani. “It’s about rediscovering the world based on our shared culture and lived experiences. It feels like a reunion not just with fellow Iranian artists but with my very identity as a theater director. Together we will create a little bit of home, a slice of Iran and share our experiences about who we are in relation to the English and Persian languages, Iranian culture and our identities. I am excited to invite our audience into this world, to let them feel Iran, think about language and identity and consider what it’s like learning English through the lens of many immigrants in this country.”

Four adult students in Karaj, Iran are studying for the Test of English as a Foreign Language—the key to their green card, medical school admission or family reunification. As they gather and support one another in their quest for fluency, adamant that English will make them whole, they soon learn that it might be splitting them each in half.


Touch Tour* and Audio-Described Performance: Saturday, June 2, 12:30pm Touch Tour; 2pm performance – The action/text is audibly enhanced for patrons via headset.

ASL-Interpreted Performance: Friday, June 7 at 7:30pm – Professional ASL interpreter signs the action/text as played.

Spanish-Subtitled Performance: Saturday, June 8 at 7:30pm – An LED sign presents Spanish-translated dialogue in sync with the performance.

Open-Captioned Performance: Sunday, June 9 at 2pm – An LED sign presents dialogue in sync with the performance.

Visit Goodman for more information about Goodman Theatre’s accessibility efforts.


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