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Playwrights Horizons Announces Live For Five Lottery For Heather Raffo's NOURA


Playwrights Horizons Announces Live For Five Lottery For Heather Raffo's NOURA Playwrights Horizons (Artistic Director Tim Sanford, Managing Director Leslie Marcus) will, from today, November 12, through Thursday, November 15, accept entries for the Live for Five online lottery, giving out $5 tickets to the New York premiere production of Noura, from 9 Parts of Desire playwright and actor Heather Raffo and director Joanna Settle. The Washington Post deemed this "epic-feeling, nearly searing portrait of a woman torn between cultures and family" the "best premiere of the Women's Voices Theater Festival" when it made its world premiere in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. Produced in association with Shakespeare Theatre Company, it will be performed at Playwrights Horizons from November 27 to December 30. Playwrights Horizons created Live for Five in 2007 as part of their Arts Access program to reach out to those who may not be able to afford the cost of a full-price theater ticket. Since its inception, over 3,000 theatergoers have been able to attend the theater thanks to the initiative.

Live for Five makes a limited number of $5 tickets available for the first preview performance of each Playwrights Horizons production through a lottery via the company's website ( The Live for Five lottery for Noura will be for tickets to the first preview on Tuesday evening, November 27 at 7pm in the Mainstage Theater at Playwrights Horizons (416 West 42nd Street). The production has an Opening Night set for Monday, December 10 and will play through Sunday, December 30. Details for the Live for Five lottery are as follows: beginning today, November 12 at 12 Noon, theatergoers can enter the lottery by filling out an entry form at Entries will be accepted until Thursday, November 15 at 12 Noon. Winners of the lottery will be notified via email no later than 3pm on Thursday, November 15 with instructions on how to book their $5 tickets; they will have until Friday, November 16 at 12 Noon to book tickets. Unclaimed tickets will be offered via email to a limited standby list starting Friday, November 16 at 3pm on a first-come, first-served basis. One or two tickets may be purchased by winners for $5 each.

Noura is set in the home of its titular character, a former architect from Mosul. She and her husband now have a successful life in New York, and, eight years after having fled their home in Iraq, they've finally gained citizen status-which Noura, as an Iraqi Christian, is celebrating by planning the perfect Christmas dinner. But when the arrival of a visitor stirs up long-buried memories, Noura and her husband are forced to confront the cost of their choices, and retrace the past they left behind. With compassion and startling clarity, Raffo's play considers a woman's options across two nations, and exposes the fragility of the structures-nationalities, marriages, mores-in which we consider ourselves at home.

Raffo was inspired to write Noura-whose title and certain themes nod to Ibsen's A Doll's House-after leading theater workshops with Middle Eastern women in New York and seeing the feminist drive in their responses to Ibsen's play as well as their many harrowing stories of leaving home. Raffo's new play is the story of a woman's restless mind pushing against the confines of her home life and her past.

Raffo was born in Michigan to an American mother and Iraqi Christian immigrant father from Mosul. At the start of the 2003 War, she had around 100 immediate family members living between Baghdad and Mosul. Over the last decade, particularly in the aftermath of ISIS overtaking Mosul in 2014, all but two have fled the country. In Noura, Raffo keenly explores the spiraling results of America's invasive presence in Iraq, and Iraq's presence in the American imagination-all from within the intimacy of a family home. Her characters are pulled as strongly by the American pursuit of rugged individualism as they are by their need to maintain a collective cultural identity.

The production of Noura exhibits the power of collaboration between two artists who have been in sync for 15 years. Raffo and Settle (Sky on Swings, The Total Bent, In Darfur) began their collaboration and friendship with 9 Parts of Desire, first produced in 2003. Conceived between the First Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and performed after the latter began, that play was an "impassioned theatrical documentary" (The New York Times) that offered a kaleidoscope of perspectives of contemporary Iraqi women characters-composites of women Raffo spent a decade interviewing throughout Iraq and its diaspora. (Incidentally, when Settle was a college student during the First Gulf War, she had moved to D.C. to interview people involved in the military-and their families-around that intervention, for her theatrical thesis project.) As 9 Parts of Desire made its way coast to coast across America over the course of two years, and as the war progressed, Raffo and Settle got to have pressing conversations with audiences-gauging the perceptions of the relationship between the U.S. and Iraq at every stop, reworking the play in each place.

Heather Raffo (Playwrights Horizons: The Profane; other Off-Broadway: 9 Parts of Desire, In Darfur) gives an "impassioned" (The Washington Post), "brilliant" (Theatermania) performance as Noura, in a cast that includes Dahlia Azama (Veil'd, I Call My Brothers) as Maryam, an Iraqi Christian refugee who fled ISIS, and is being sponsored by Noura and her husband in the United States; Liam Campora ("The Blacklist," "Blue Bloods," The Dictator) as Yazen/Alex, Noura's son; Matthew David (Glamping; A Streetcar Named Desire; Boeing, Boeing) as Rafa'a, Noura's childhood best friend from Mosul, an Iraqi Muslim OB-GYN living in New York; and Nabil Elouahabi (Oslo, A Tale of Two Cities, "The Night Of") as Tareq/Tim, Noura's physician husband, who longs to have a second child. (Nabil Elouahabi is appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association. The Producers gratefully acknowledge Actors' Equity Association for its assistance of this production.)

The creative team includes Andrew Lieberman (scenic design), Tilly Grimes (costume design), Masha Tsimring (lighting design), Obadiah Eaves (sound design), and Laura Smith (Production Stage Manager).

Playwrights Horizons 2018-2019 season of "topicality and risk" (The New York Times) continues after Noura with If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka, the world premiere of a new play by Tori Sampson, directed by Obie Award winner Leah C. Gardiner, and choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly (February 15-March 31, 2019; opening March 11); The Pain of My Belligerence, the world premiere of a Playwrights Horizons commissioned new play written by and featuring Halley Feiffer, directed by Obie Award winner Trip Cullman (March 29, 2019-May 12, 2019; opening April 22); and A Strange Loop, the world premiere of a new musical with book, music, and lyrics by Michael R. Jackson, directed by Stephen Brackett, and choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly, produced in association with Page 73 (May 24-July 27, 2019; opening June 17).

Performance Schedule and Ticketing

Performances of Noura take place November 27 - December 30: Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2:30pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2:30pm and 7:30pm.

Critics are welcome December 5 at 7pm, December 6 and 7 at 8pm, December 8 at 8pm, December 9 at 2:30pm and 7:30pm.

Single tickets are now on sale.

A Five-Show Subscription package to Playwrights Horizons' 2018-19 season is now available ($260, three Mainstage and two Peter Jay Sharp Theater productions). In addition to discounts on all season productions, subscribers receive priority booking and seating, ticket exchange privileges, parking and dining discounts, and exclusive mailings of Playwrights Horizons Bulletins. Flex Passes (customizable bundle, $220+) and Memberships ($45 to join, $25 preview tickets) are also now on sale. Patron packages start at $1,750. Packages are available at

Funding Credits

Playwrights Horizons' season productions are generously supported in part by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Playwrights Horizons is supported in part by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. In addition, Playwrights Horizons receives major support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation and the Time Warner Foundation.

About Heather Raffo (Playwright; Noura/Nora)

Heather Raffo (Playwright; Noura/Nora). Raffo is an award-winning playwright and actress whose work has been seen Off Broadway, in London, in regional theater, and in film. Writing credits: Noura (Weissberger Award), 9 Parts of Desire (Lortel Award, Blackburn, Drama League, OCC, Helen Hayes nominations), Fallujah (librettist: NYC Opera, Long Beach Opera). Performing credits: The Profane (Playwrights). Other Off-Broadway: 9 Parts of Desire (Manhattan Ensemble Theater), Palace of the End (Epic Theater Ensemble), Food and Fadwa (NYTW), In Darfur (The Public), Macbeth (The Acting Co.), Over the River and Through the Woods (Houseman). Regional: 9 Parts of Desire (Arena, Geffen, Kennedy Center, Traverse, Bush). Film: Vino Veritas.

About Joanna Settle (Director)

Joanna Settle (Director). Playwrights debut. Off-Broadway: Heather Raffo's Nine Parts of Desire (Manhattan Ensemble Theater, Geffen Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, and more); Stew/Rodewald's The Total Bent, Winter Miller's In Darfur, Suzan-Lori Parks' 365 Days/365 Plays finale (The Public); Martha Graham Cracker's Lashed But Not Leashed, Jaime Leonhart's Estuary (Joe's Pub). Regional: Noura (Shakespeare Theater Company, Abu Dhabi); Lembit Beecher's Sky on Swings (Opera Philadelphia); Stew/Rodewald's Family Album (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Gina Gionfredo's Rapture, Blister, Burn, Brandon Jacob-Jenkins' An Octoroon (Wilma Theater). Settle is currently appointed to NYU Abu Dhabi as an Associate Arts Professor of Theater.

About the Cast

Dahlia Azama (Maryam). Playwrights debut. Off-Broadway: Veil'd (WP), I Call My Brothers (PlayCo). Regional: Noura (Shakespeare Theater Company). International: The School for Wives, Three Sisters, Taming of the Shrew (AUC, Egypt). Film/TV: "#WarGames." Graduate Studies: The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (London). Undergraduate Studies: The American University in Cairo (Egypt). Awards (Egypt): Winner of the Ahmed Zewail Prize for Excellence in the Sciences and Humanities.

Liam Campora (Yazen/Alex). Playwrights debut. Broadway: Marvin's Room (Roundabout). Film: The Dictator, The Black List. Portraying Yazen in Noura is a dream role and the pinnacle of Campora's young theatrical career. He is also an accomplished dancer with a scholarship at Alvin Ailey.

Matthew David (Rafa'a). Playwrights debut. Off-Broadway: Glamping (East 13th Street Theatre). Regional: Noura (Shakespeare Theatre Company); A Streetcar Named Desire, Boeing, Boeing, A Stone Carver, Escanaba In Da' Moonlight, Best Of Friends, Apartment 3A, Corktown, Bleeding Red, Consider The Oyster, Growing Pretty, White Buffalo (Purple Rose Theatre Company); American Buffalo, Disgraced (Jewish Ensemble Theatre); Nuts (Vertigo Productions); Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Much Ado About Nothing (Flint City Theatre). University of Michigan: BFA in Theater.

Nabil Elouahabi (Tareq/Tim). Playwrights debut. Regional: Noura (Shakespeare Theatre Company); U.K.: Another World: Losing Our Children to Islamic State (National Theatre); Fireworks (Royal Court); Crossing Jerusalem, The Great Game - Afghanistan (Tricycle); Oslo (Harold Pinter Theatre); Oil (Almeida); A Tale of Two Cities (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), and more. Film: Zero Dark Thirty, Charlie Wilson's War, In This World, Ali G Indahouse, The Sum of all Fears. Television: "Dark State," "The Night Of," and more.

About the Creative Team

Andrew Lieberman (Scenic Designer). Playwrights Debut. Broadway: The Glass Menagerie, Picnic. Off Broadway: The Public, Signature, Lincoln Center, MTC, Roundabout, Second Stage. With Joanna Settle: Sky on Swings, The Total Bent, Family Album, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, In Darfur, Future Me, The Trojan Women, Penthesilea, Macbett, Cascando. Other: RSC, International Theater Amsterdam, New York City Opera, English National Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Festival d'Aix en Provence, San Francisco Opera, and more.

Tilly Grimes (Costume Designer). Playwrights: The Thanksgiving Play. Other Off-Broadway: Underground Railroad Game (Lortel nomination, NYC, tour), Small Mouth Sounds (NYC, tour), What We're Up Against (WP), The Government Inspector (Lortel nomination, Red Bull), The Great Leap (Atlantic), and work with Ars Nova, WP, Red Bull, Roundabout, Clubbed Thumb, Here Arts Centre, and more. Regional: Williamstown, OSF, ART, The Alley, The Wilma, Shakespeare Theatre DC, Goodspeed Opera, Two River, and more.

Masha Tsimring (Lighting Designer). Playwrights debut. Off-Broadway: Intractable Woman (PlayCo); Electric Lucifer (The Kitchen); Sarabande (LA Dance Project); Frontieres Sans Frontieres (Bushwick Starr); Ultimate Beauty Bible (Page73). Regional: Noura (Shakespeare Theater Company); The Marriage of Figaro (Charlottesville Opera); The Wolves (Marin Theatre Co.); The_Oper& (Duke Performances); Into the Breeches! (Chautauqua Theatre Co.); The Music Man, Minor Character (New Saloon); As You Like It (CalShakes); My Fair Lady (Playmakers Rep); MFA - Yale School of Drama.

Obadiah Eaves (Sound Designer). Playwrights: Chinese Friends, A Feminine Ending, Pen. Broadway: Saint Joan, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Shining City, Harvey, The Country House, The Assembled Parties, A Life In The Theatre, Collected Stories, Accent On Youth, Come Back, Little Sheba. Other Off-Broadway: The Portuguese Kid (MTC), The Total Bent (The Public). Regional: Later Life (Keen); Hannah and the Dread Gazebo (OSF); Constellations (Seattle Rep). Television: HBO, Nickelodeon, Discovery, History Channel, Bravo, A&E, TLC, Fisher-Price Toys.

Stage Management

Laura Smith (Production Stage Manager). Playwrights debut. Off-Broadway: The Low Road (The Public); The Antipodes (Signature); The Great Leap, Tell Hector I Miss Him (Atlantic); Intractable Woman (Play Co); Appropriate (Juilliard). Regional: Detroit '67, As You Like It, 4000 Miles, Amadeus, Wild with Happy, dance of the holy ghosts, Clybourne Park, An Enemy of the People, The Whipping Man, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, (Baltimore Center Stage); Salome (Shakespeare Theater Company); Gruesome Playground Injuries, The Unmentionables (Woolly Mammoth).

Shane Schnetzler (Assistant Stage Manager). Playwrights: This Flat Earth, The Profane, Rancho Viejo, Familiar. Other Off-Broadway: The Emperor, Heart/Box, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Fiasco); Tamburlaine, Cymbeline (Fiasco) (TFANA); Napoli, Brooklyn, Look Back in Anger (Roundabout); The Taming of the Shrew, King Lear, The Comedy of Errors (NYSF); Detroit '67 (The Public); Night is a Room, The Liquid Plain, The Old Friends (Signature); Red Dog Howls (NYTW); Uncle Vanya (Soho Rep.); The Scottsboro Boys (Vineyard).

About Shakespeare Theatre Company

Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) is the nation's leading premier classical theatre company. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible to audiences in and around the nation's capital.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Executive Director Chris Jennings, STC's innovative productions inspire dialogue that connects classic works to the modern human experience. The Company focuses on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced in order to preserve and promote classic theatre-ambitious, enduring plays with universal themes-for all audiences.

A leader in arts education, STC has a stable of initiatives that teach and excite learners of all ages, from school programs and adult acting classes to accessible community programming like play-relevant discussion series and the Free for All. For the past 25 years the Free For All program has offered an annual remount of a popular production completely free of charge to all audience members.

Located in downtown Washington, D.C., STC performs in two theatres, the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre and the 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall. In addition to STC productions appearing year-round, these spaces also accommodate presentations from outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. The Company has been a fixture in the vibrant Penn Quarter neighborhood since 1992.

About Playwrights Horizons

Playwrights Horizons is dedicated to cultivating the most important American Playwrights, composers, and lyricists, as well as developing and producing their bold new plays and musicals. Tim Sanford became Artistic Director in 1996 and Leslie Marcus has been Managing Director since 1993. Under their decades of leadership, Playwrights builds upon its diverse and renowned body of work, counting 400 writers among its artistic roster. In addition to its onstage work each season, Playwrights' singular commitment to nurturing American theater artists guides all of the institution's multifaceted initiatives: our acclaimed New Works Lab, a robust commissioning program, an innovative curriculum at its Theater School, and more. Robert Moss founded Playwrights in 1971 and cemented the mission that continues to guide the institution today. André Bishop served as Artistic Director from 1981-1992. Don Scardino succeeded him and served until 1996. Over its 47-year history, Playwrights has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including six Pulitzer Prizes, 13 Tony Awards, and 39 Obie Awards.

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