Award Winning Production of THE INVISIBLE HAND Opens At TheaterWorks, Today

Rob Ruggiero, Producing Artistic Director announced today that TheaterWorks will present the Westport Country Playhouse's acclaimed production of THE INVISIBLE HAND by Ayad Akhtar, May 24 through June 23, 2018. THE INVISIBLE HAND is the fourth show of TheaterWorks 32nd Season.

Last year's winner of the Connecticut Critics Circle award for Best Play, Best Actor and Best Director - TheaterWorks is excited to present this powerful political thriller by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and 2018 Tony nominee Ayad Akhtar. THE INVISIBLE HAND takes a chilling and complex look at how far we will go to save ourselves. When kidnapped investment banker Nick Bright is challenged to use his skills as a broker to raise his ransom, we gain insight into the devastating ramifications of individual actions on global power and politics.

When Nick's ransom is set at ten million dollars, he knows the only way he's going to get home is to do what he does best: play the market like his life depends on it. As the financial bond between Nick and his captors grows so does their understanding of each other in this riveting and shockingly relevant drama. While much of the play is a fascinating seminar on market trading and currency exchange, THE INVISIBLE HAND is also a heart pounding thriller that offers suspense, intelligent storytelling and gritty realism.

THE INVISBLE HAND was staged at New York Theatre Workshop in 2014 shortly after Ayad Akhtar's 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning Disgraced hit stages across America. Junk, his newest play is currently in performances at Lincoln Center and was just nominated for a 2018 Tony Award for Best Play.

Producing Artistic Director Rob Ruggiero said, "I'm excited to present this remarkable play with many of the artists that created the award-winning Westport Country Playhouse production. Their finesse and nuance help to spin a tale that is both challenging and transforming, enlivening Ayad Ahktar's brilliance as a writer."

Fajer Kaisi (Bashir), and Rajesh Bose (Imam Saleem), both members of the Westport production are making their TheaterWorks debuts. Anand Bhatt as Dar is new to the cast and is also making his TheaterWorks debut. Eric Bryant reprises his role as Nick Bright - CT Critics Circle 2016 Best Actor in the Westport production. Audiences will also remember Eric from the 2013 production of Almost, Maine (CT Critics Circle Award-Outstanding Ensemble) at TheaterWorks. Director David Kennedy (Best Director - CT Critic Circle 2016 The INVISIBLE HAND) is making his TheaterWorks debut but is known to CT audiences for his work at Westport Country Playhouse where he has been Associate Artistic Director since 2009. The creative team includes Kristen Robinson (Set Design), Harry Nadal (Costume Design), Matthew Richards (Lighting Design), and Fitz Patton (Sound Design).

Anand Bhatt (Dar) is making his TheaterWorks debut. Anand is a Chicago based actor. Select credits include Merchant on Venice, Multitudes (Vitalist/Rasaka), The Invisible Hand (Steep Theatre); The Great Expectations (Remy Bumppo/Silk Road), A Disappearing Number (TimeLine Theatre), Mosque Alert (Silk Road Rising), A Widow of No Importance, Washer/Dryer, A Nice Indian Boy (Rasaka). In addition to acting Anand is also well versed in Martial Arts, Dance, Acrobatics and Parkour stunts. Anand has worked on a number of indie films. He was awarded Best Actor in 2017 by Broadway World for his role as Pip in Great Expectations. Anand also holds the title of Mr.Desi IL 2012 and Mr. India IL 2013. While working on other projects, he also runs AB Entertainment Productions.

Eric Bryant (Nick Bright) returns to TheaterWorks having last appeared in the 2013 production of Almost, Maine (CT Critics Circle Award-Outstanding Ensemble). New York credits include the Off Broadway revival of Angels in America (Signature), Cut Throat (Abingdon), The Pillow Book (59E59), Even Maybe Tammy (Flea), and Billy Witch (APAC). Regional: The Invisible Hand (CT Critics Circle Award-Outstanding Actor), Room Service (Westport Country Playhouse), Bachelorette (Studio Theatre, DC), The Mousetrap (Walnut St), and Lewis Black's One Slight Hitch (NY Stage and Film). Film and TV: Mr. Robot, The Blacklist, The Following, Blue Bloods, and Deception. Education: MFA, Yale School of Drama. BA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Fajer Kaisi (Bashir) is making his TheaterWorks debut. He is thrilled to be reprising his role as Bashir. Select credits include Richard in The Humans at St. Louis Repertory Theatre; Amir in Disgraced (Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, international China tour); Oberon in Midsummer Nights Dream (Tantrum Theatre, Ohio); Aeneas in Troilus and Cressida and Tybalt in Romero and Juliet (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and Shahid in Aftermath (NYTW). Film credits include appearances as the interpreter in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ang Lee and as Kareem in I'll Come Running by Spencer Parsons. TV credits include Law and Order, Nurse Jackie, 30 Rock, Person of Interest, Madam Secretary, Unforgettable, Deadbeat, Search Party, Netflix's Daredevil, The Good Wife, and Blacklist. Fajer is also an accomplished audiobook narrator and has over 100 titles on @dearfajer

Rajesh Bose (Imam Saleem) is making his TheaterWorks debut. Rajesh recently played Alfred Doolittle in Bedlam Theatre's Off Broadway production of Pygmalion. Other Off-Broadway credits include Indian Ink (Roundabout Theatre Company) and Against The Hillside (Ensemble Studio Theatre). Regional favorites: Mary Stuart (Folger Theatre), Guards at the Taj (Capital Stage), Disgraced (Playmakers Rep, Huntington Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre - Connecticut Critics Circle Award, IRNE Nomination), The Who & The What (Gulfshore Playhouse), The Cripple of Inishmaan (Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre), and The Invisible Hand (Westport Country Playhouse). Film & Television: Quantico, Blue Bloods, Elementary, Damages, Nurse Jackie, Madame Secretary, The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, the series finale of The Sopranos, and the Acadamy Award nominated film Frozen River.

Ayad Ahktar (Playwright) was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is the author of American Dervish, published in 25 languages worldwide and a 2012 Best Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, Toronto's Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine. He is also a playwright and screenwriter. His play Disgraced played at New York's Lincoln Center Theater in 2012 and premiered at the Bush Theater in London in May 2013. Disgraced won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His play The Invisible Hand was nominated for the ATCA/Steinberg Award, and won Best New Work 2013 from the St. Louis Theater Critics Circle. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He has received commissions from Lincoln Center and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a graduate of Brown and Columbia Universities with degrees in Theater and Film Directing.

David Kennedy (Director) has served as Associate Artistic Director of Connecticut's Westport Country Playhouse since 2009, where he has directed Appropriate, The Invisible Hand (Connecticut Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Director), And a Nightingale Sang, Nora, Loot, Tartuffe, Suddenly Last Summer, Beyond Therapy, and Dinner With Friends. He previously served as Associate Director at Dallas Theater Center from 2004-2007 and as Acting Artistic Director for their 2007-08 season. He has also staged productions at the Wilma Theater, Clarence Brown Theatre Company, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, 78th Street Theatre Lab, Prospect Theatre Company, and Kitchen Dog Theater, among others. He was a founding Artistic Director of The Lunar Society in Toronto and Milkman Theatre Group in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kennedy teaches in the graduate directing program at the University of Alberta and is a former Phil Killian Fellow at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a Drama League Directing Fellow, and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

Rob Ruggiero (Producing Artistic Director) has been part of TheaterWorks artistic leadership for 25 years. He has directed over 50 shows, including The Legend of Georgia McBride, Constellations, Next to Normal, Relativity, Sex with Strangers, Christmas on the Rocks, The Other Place and Time Stands Still. His Broadway credits include Looped (starring Valerie Harper in a Tony-nominated performance) and High (starring Kathleen Turner). Off-Broadway, he conceived and directed the musical revue Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn (Nominated for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards). Rob conceived and directed Ella, a musical portrait of Ella Fitzgerald, which has been seen at 24 regional theaters and on National Tour. His work has received multiple awards in Connecticut and around the United States. In his tenth collaboration with Goodspeed Musicals, Rob directed Rags. He also directed highly successful productions of La Cage aux Folles, Fiddler on the Roof (Connecticut Critic's Circle Award for Best Direction), The Most Happy Fella (Connecticut Critic's Circle Award for Best Direction), Carousel (Broadway World Award), Annie Get Your Gun, Camelot, Big River and 1776. His adaptation of Show Boat is now being licensed by the Rogers & Hammerstein Organization.

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